Get Help

Making Your Forms Work with PonyExpress

Step 1: Add special PonyExpress tags

Once you have your HTML survey form designed, you need to add some special PonyExpress tags so that it will export the data correctly.

Here are some generic tags. For detailed explanations of these tags, please see the PonyExpress pages.

<form method="post" action="/htbin/ponyexpress2">
<input type="hidden" name="mail_to_admin" value="yes">
<input type="hidden" name="to" value="someone@bu.edu">
<input type="hidden" name="return" value="thankyou.html">

Here are the special PonyExpress tags you use when you want to save the form data in a tab-delimited file:

<input type="hidden" name="form_location" value="/yoursite/comments/">
<input type="hidden" name="database" value="yes">
<input type="hidden" name="datafile" value="results.txt">
<input type="hidden" name="order" value="field1, field2, field3">
<input type="hidden" name="header_row" value="yes">
<input type="hidden" name="use_ordered_only" value="yes">

When these tags are added, your form will export the data to a tab-delimited file called results.txt. This file is located in the directory called /yoursite/comments. The function and usage of these tags are explained in detail on the PonyExpress pages.

Step 2: Activate your form_location directory

You must now activate your form_location directory so that your form has write privileges to the tab-delimited file. By default, the server does not have authorization to make changes to your directories. This is done in order to preserve security on the servers, and to reduce the possibility of accidental file overwrites.

For sites on www.bu.edu:

Use our form to request that your directory be activated. Please include the URL to your form in the request. You will get a response confirming the activation of your directory in less than one business day, usually.

For sites on people.bu.edu:

Publishers on people.bu.edu can activate their own directories without the assistance of the webmasters. Please see Activating Your Form’s Directory for instructions.

When these steps are complete, you should test out your form to make sure it is functioning properly, and examine your tab-delimited file to be sure data is exporting as it should be.