Re: Form input and output (was: <pre>)

Brian Gaines (
Sat, 8 Oct 1994 18:37:09 +0100

In message <> writes:
> (Daniel LaLiberte) writes:
> > Another related issue is how large VALUE strings and
> > input fields can be. Servers have to know how large of a
> > VALUE string they can send, and clients have to know how
> > large of an input string they can send. Similarly, how
> > large can URLs be?
> The HTML 2.0 definition unfortunately currently limits both URLs and
> VALUE attributes to 1024 characters (the SGML LITLEN parameter).
> I would like to know is whether there is there any specific reason,
> based on current practice, for this rather small value. I would
> advocate increasing LITLEN to the maximum possible value consistent
> with the limitations of current practice. (The only browser I know
> that does any truncatation of FORM fields sans MAXLENGTH is
> MacMosaic, and it appears to truncate them to an unacceptable 256
> characters.)

The TEXTAREA tag was introduced to overcome this limitation on form fields.
GET was depreciated in favor of POST to overcome the problem for URLs.
The HTML 2.0 DTD specifies that TEXTAREA tags enclose PCDATA which is not
subject to the LITLEN limitation of 1024 characters. Clients should not
truncate TEXTAREA form fields but rather give an error message if memory or
text widget limitations make it impossible for them to accept further text.

Of course, none of this addresses your question as to whether it is
necessary for LITLEN to be so small, or whether existing clients truncate


Brian Gaines Knowledge Science Institute, University of Calgary Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 1N4