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Next Oct 6 Previous

Blank checks

Take this elementary HTML form:

<form method="POST">
    <input type="checkbox" name="coffee">
    <button type="submit">Save</button>

What will be the value of $_POST["coffee"] when the form is submitted and the check box is not set.

A: false
C: the entry "coffee" will not be set in the $_POST array
D: the form is not submitted because no action is given.


First of all the form will be submitted without any problems: the form's action will default to the sending URL. So answer D is false.

To answer this question it is best to look at the data send by this form. The request data send will something look like:

POST /zend_questions/test.html HTTP/1.1
Host: heiligehostie
Connection: keep-alive
Content-Length: 0
Cache-Control: max-age=0
Accept: text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8
Origin: http://heiligehostie
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux i686) AppleWebKit (KHTML) Ubuntu 98765
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded
Referer: http://heiligehostie/zend_questions/test.html
Accept-Encoding: gzip,deflate,sdch
Accept-Language: en-US,en;q=0.8
Cookie: atuvc=0%5C22%2C0%7C23; PHPSESSID=asdfaaaiv1234rdf


When your look at the data posted you'll see that there's no checkbox data set. The consequence is that this value is also not set in the $_POST array. Although it's very annoying that you'll need isset() to test it, PHP can't be blamed for that: it has no way of knowing it.