Lesson 7 - Bootstrap - Forms

HTML and CSS Bootstrap Bootstrap - Forms

In the previous lesson, Bootstrap - Buttons, we started a showcase of Bootstrap CSS framework components and learned to use buttons. In today's tutorial, we're going to start the most extensive part of Bootstrap, the forms.

Forms

The form styles are together with the grid probably the most attractive thing about the Bootstrap CSS framework. They are responsive, pretty, and the controls have the same size in every browser. They can even look the same if we use custom styling. We assign the .form-control class to individual form controls. Then we wrap them together with the <label> element into the <div> element. We assign the .form-group class to the <div>.

We can create a basic form, for example, like this:

<form>
        <div class="form-group">
                <label for="login-email">Email</label>
                <input type="email" class="form-control" id="login-email" aria-describedby="emailDescription" placeholder="[email protected]">
                <small class="form-text text-muted">You can type in your phone number instead of an email address.</small>
        </div>
        <div class="form-group">
                <label for="login-password">Password</label>
                <input type="password" class="form-control" id="login-password">
        </div>
        <button type="submit" class="btn btn-primary">Sign in</button>
</form>

We assign a unique ID to each form control to pair the <label> and the <input> elements. To prevent naming collisions in case of multiple forms on a single page, we usually prefix these IDs with the form name. In the example above, it's the signin- prefix. If we click on the <label>, the related input will be selected.

The result:

Forms in Bootstrap
forms.html

You can try reduce the size of your browser window and see that the form will really wrap. Notice the usage of the .form-text class for a little hint text. In older versions of Bootstrap, you can find this class as .help-block.

Checkboxes and radio buttons

If we need to add a checkbox to the form, we insert it inside a <label> so that both the input and the <label> are clickable. For checkboxes, we use the .form-check, .form-check-label, and .form-check-input classes instead of .form-group. It may be a bit confusing that we also use these classes for radio buttons.

Let's showcase another controls:

<form>
        <div class="form-check">
                <label class="form-check-label">
                        <input class="form-check-input" type="checkbox" value="">
                        I agree to the Terms & Conditions
                </label>
        </div>
        <div class="form-check">
                <label class="form-check-label">
                        <input class="form-check-input" type="radio" name="pay-method" id="pay-method1" value="card" checked>
                        Pay by credit card
                </label>
        </div>
        <div class="form-check">
                <label class="form-check-label">
                        <input class="form-check-input" type="radio" name="pay-method" id="pay-method2" value="transfer" checked>
                        Wiretransfer payment
                </label>
        </div>
</form>

The result:

Forms in Bootstrap
form_more_conĀ­trols.html

Other classes for checkboxes and radio buttons

If we ad several checkboxes, one after another, they will render one under another. This behavior can be changed by assigning the .form-check-inline class together with the .form-check class. Even if we decided not to fill in the label text, we won't remove the <label> element and assign the .position-static class to the <input> in this case.

Selects, textareas and file inputs

We insert the <select> and <textarea> elements as we are used to. But to the inputs of the file type, we don't assign the .form-control class, we use the .form-control-file class instead.

<form>
        <div class="form-group">
                <label for="example-size">Size</label>
                <select class="form-control" id="example-size">
                        <option>S</option>
                        <option>M</option>
                        <option>L</option>
                        <option>XL</option>
                </select>
        </div>
        <div class="form-group">
                <label for="example-note">Note</label>
                <textarea class="form-control" id="example-note" rows="3"></textarea>
        </div>
        <div class="form-group">
                <label for="example-file">Resume (CV)</label>
                <input type="file" class="form-control-file" id="example-file">
        </div>
</form>

The result:

Forms in Bootstrap
form_more_conĀ­trols.html

Sizes

We can change the size of form controls similarly as we did it with buttons, using one of the following classes:

  • .form-control-lg - Large size
  • For the standard size, we just assign the .form-control class
  • .form-control-sm - Small size

The .form-control class must always be assigned.

Inactive inputs

If we add the readonly="readonly" attribute to the <input> element, Bootstrap styles it as gray and of course its value can't be changed. If you are not an orthodox XML lover, it's okay to assign the attribute just as readonly and omit the value. This works for any HTML attributes in this course. It's also possible to render inactive <input>s as plain text without the control element. We can achieve that by assigning the .form-control-plaintext class, the readonly attribute must be provided as well, of course. We can similarly disable an element by adding the disabled="disabled" attribute.

The difference between readonly and disabled is that the disabled elements will not be sent to the server and cannot be selected by the tab key. Using the disabled attribute we can also disable all the controls in the <fieldset> element if we assign it to this element. If the buttons are defined by the <a> element in a disabled <fieldset>, we should also ensure they won't be activated by keyboard using the tabindex="-1" attribute as we discussed in the lesson about buttons.

Grid

Form controls are styled as blocks, meaning that they stretch to fill the whole width of the page. If we have some more complex form, it may be useful to place multiple controls in a single row, e.g. inputs for the first and last name. If the inputs of a long form were all one under another, the form would look even longer than necessary and would scare the user from filling the form. For these purposes, we're going to use a grid which we'll discuss in detail further in the course. Let's just mention that it allows us to define a grid similarly to as the <table> element. However, by reducing the size of the browser window, the form controls will wrap underneath each other. I.e. the grid is responsive.

<form>
        <div class="form-row">
                <div class="form-group col-2">
                        <label for="signup-first-name">First name</label>
                        <input type="text" class="form-control" placeholder="First name" id="signup-first-name">
                </div>
                <div class="form-group col">
                        <label for="signup-last-name">Last name</label>
                        <input type="text" class="form-control" placeholder="Last name" id="signup-last-name">
                </div>
        </div>
</form>

In the code above, the first name occupies 2 times more space than the last name. We've achieved this using the .col-2 class. Of course, we can also use other numbers or set the same size just by using the .col class. We can also force the component to occupy only as less space as necessary using the .col-auto class. The example code above looks like this in the browser:

Grid forms in Bootstrap
form_grid.html

Instead of .form-row we could also use the standard .row class, but the gap between controls would be larger which don't look good in forms. If your form is even more complex, you can make use of other classes of the Bootstrap grid system and specify how much space should columns take etc. We can use this for smart placement of labels next to the controls if we don't want them above. We'd assigning the .col-form-label class to the <label> elements in this case. Similarly, by assigning the .col-form-legend class, we can style the <legend> elements. We can specify different label sizes for controls of different sizes as well by assigning the .col-form-label-sm and .col-form-label-lg classes. The labels in the example below wrap when the form is reduced in size.

Grid forms in Bootstrap
form_grid.html

We'll discuss all this in depth in the lesson about the grid system :)

Inline forms

It's sometimes useful to place smaller forms in a single row. For example, this is a common solution for filtering products in e-shops. We can render a form in a single row by assigning the .form-inline class to the <form> element. On smaller viewports, the elements will wrap one under another again. If we needed to add some own elements into such a form, we should know that the inline rendering is implemented by display: flex. We use the margin and flex utility classes to position something in such a form, see further in the course. In inline forms, we often hide the <label> elements using the .sr-only class, however, we still place them inside.

Inline forms in Bootstrap
inline_form.html

If we needed a small hint text in the inline form, a similar one we used in the block form, we could use the .text-muted class. We usually assign this class to the <small> element. The .form-text class is only for block forms.

In the next lesson, Bootstrap - Advanced forms, we'll continue with the client-side validations, custom styles for checkboxes, and other form controls and input groups.


 

 

Article has been written for you by David Capka
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The author is a programmer, who likes web technologies and being the lead/chief article writer at ICT.social. He shares his knowledge with the community and is always looking to improve. He believes that anyone can do what they set their mind to.
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