Pick Lists

A 'Pick List' and a 'Select Box' are almost the same thing. Recall from the last lesson that you can get input from the viewer using a form. One of the form elements discussed was a select box. The coding looks like so:

<form action="#" method="post">Choose a state: <br /> <select name="State"> <option value="AL">Alabama</option> <option value="AK">Alaska</option> <option value="AZ">Arizona</option> <option value="AR">Arkansas</option> </select> </form>

which produces:

Choose a state:

This is a hard-coded solution to generating a select box. A pick list is identical, except the box is dynamically generated. Consider the following:

<form action="#" method="post">Choose a state:
<select name="State"> <?php $states_arr = array( "Alabama"=>"AL", "Alaska"=>"AK", "Arizona"=>"AZ", "Arkansas"=>"AR", "California"=>"CA", "Colorado"=>"CO", "Connecticut"=>"CT", "Delaware"=>"DE", "Washington DC"=>"DC", "Florida"=>"FL", "Georgia"=>"GA", "Guam"=>"GU", "Hawaii"=>"HI", "Idaho"=>"ID", "Illinois"=>"IL", "Indiana"=>"IN", "Iowa"=>"IA", "Kansas"=>"KS", "Kentucky"=>"KY", "Louisiana"=>"LA", "Maine"=>"ME", "Maryland"=>"MD", "Massachusetts"=>"MA", "Michigan"=>"MI", "Minnesota"=>"MN", "Mississippi"=>"MS", "Missouri"=>"MO", "Montana"=>"MT", "Nebraska"=>"NE", "Nevada"=>"NV", "New Hampshire"=>"NH", "New Jersey"=>"NJ", "New Mexico"=>"NM", "New York"=>"NY", "North Carolina"=>"NC", "North Dakota"=>"ND", "Ohio"=>"OH", "Oklahoma"=>"OK", "Oregon"=>"OR", "Pennsylvania"=>"PA", "Puerto Rico"=>"PR", "Rhode Island"=>"RI", "South Carolina"=>"SC", "South Dakota"=>"SD", "Tennessee"=>"TN", "Texas"=>"TX", "Utah"=>"UT", "Vermont"=>"VT", "Virgin Islands"=>"VI", "Virginia"=>"VA", "Washington"=>"WA", "West Virginia"=>"WV", "Wisconsin"=>"WI", "Wyoming"=>"WY" ); foreach ($states_arr As $key => $value) { echo "<option value='" .$value. "'>" .$key. "</option><br />\n"; } ?> </select> </form>

Everything appears as above, only the <option></option> tags were dynamically generated. The result appears below:

Choose a state:

Voila, a dynamically generated pick list.

You can also use data from a database to populate your <option></option> tags. I have a table that tracks information on each new visit to this site over the last 30 days. The table stores the date/time and language designation from the calling machine. I count the number of new visits on this table to produce the statistics shown in the footer below. Suppose I wanted to make a pick list of all the language designations that visited the site. The code would look like so:

<form action="#" method="post">Choose a language: <br /> <select name="lang"> <?php $query = "SELECT DISTINCT lang FROM stats ORDER BY lang"; $link = mysql_connect($host,$user,$pwd) or die("Could not connect to Host."); mysql_select_db($db) or die("Could not select database."); $result = mysql_query($query) or die("Could not run query."); while ($answer = mysql_fetch_array($result)) { extract($answer); echo "<option>" .$lang. "</option><br />\n"; } ?> </select> </form>

which produces (can you find your own?):

Choose a language:

Note again that the <option></option> tags are dynamically generated.

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