Friday, April 25

Please, don't put your email address on a web page

Despite evil bots hovering out there waiting to scrape up every email address that is published on the interweb and add it to a spam database, people still put their email address on web pages everywhere. I guess the need to be contactable outweighs the pain of more spam.

wufoo rocks

There are a number of ways to hide or encrypt your email address when it is published on a web page, but many of these methods can be decrypted to allow a spambot to snag it. I figure: why put the email address on the page at all? Why not use a form and a database?

I'll tell you why not: forms and databases are dry, unleavened developerness - I fall asleep every time somewhere between "records" and "fields." Life's too short. has many superpowers, not the least being some of the zushiest dynamic interface you'll find on the interweb, making it a snap (dare I say... "fun"?) to design a web form and the database that sits behind it. You can build something as simple as an email feedback form (so that your email address remains unpublished) or something as schmancy as a 15 minute online survey form. Good CSS support means you can customise a form so that it looks like part of your website, but if that's all a bit too hard, it's really easy to use a pre-designed template and copy-and-paste the resulting form code into your web page.

Here's one I built earlier for my work blog at Doing Words. Any time someone fills in the form, the details are taken down in a database I can access at the Wufoo site, and then the database emails me the contact request.

Believe me: absolutely no programming required. Sure, I still get spam, but mostly from my family!

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