View Full Version : mailto without launching mail client?

11-10-2012, 07:13 PM
I am designing a contact form for a band website with simple information about an enquiry. I can use all the javascript to get to a "mailto" function which launches the clients e-mail software with the form data in a message ready to send - is there a way to simply send the form information directly from the form, so that the e-mail software is never launched? This seems to be commonly done on commercial web sites.

Philip M
11-10-2012, 07:18 PM
The trouble with using this long-obsolete method (mailto) to send form results is its unpredictability. The method it is highly dependent on the browser in use
and the email client in use (some people have only Yahoo, Gmail or Hotmail). In particular, your visitor must have Outlook or Outlook Express or Windows Live Mail as the default client for this to work correctly. Even if your visitor is using Internet Explorer, but the default mail client is different (e.g. Eudora or Thunderbird), your mailto form will not work. With all of the browser troubles, you're likely to lose about half of your users' messages. Most of the email clients that can successfully send a mail will prompt the user with a somewhat threatening security dialog prior to sending - this can scare many users from continuing. Other users will not wish to reveal their email address. Also, what about people with Javascript disabled?

In addition, if you place an unobfuscated email address in your webpage, the bots will quickly find it and inundate you in spam.

Modern browsers no longer accept mailto: as a form action - they simply open the email program (if any) and ignore the form. If you are going to use a form then use a server-side CGI formmail script as the action - there are several good free ones out there.

For a simple PHP form feedback script see:- http://www.thesitewizard.com/archive/feedbackphp.shtml
or http://www.felgall.com/php2.htm

“Always acknowledge a fault. This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you an opportunity to commit more.” - Mark Twain

11-11-2012, 07:49 PM
Many thanks Philip - I am looking into preparing php files and it's all looking promising, thank you!