Separate Form Submit Buttons That Go To Different URLs

Avatar of Chris Coyier
Chris Coyier on

Apps and tools to do more with Mailchimp Mailchimp tracking pixel

This came up the other day. I forget where, but I jotted it down in my little notepad for blog post ideas. I wrote it down because what I was overhearing was way over-complicating things.

Say you have a form like this:

<form action="/submit">
  
  <!-- inputs and stuff -->

  <input type="submit" value="Submit">

</form>

When you submit that form, it’s going to go to the URL `/submit`. Say you need another submit button that submits to a different URL. It doesn’t matter why. There is always a reason for things. The web is a big place and all that.

I web searched around for other ways people have tried handling this.

One way was to give up on submitting to different URL’s, but give each submit button a shared name but different value, then check for that value when processing in order to do different things.

<input type="submit" name="action" value="Value-1">
<input type="submit" name="action" value="Value-2">

You could read that value during your processing and redirect if you desired. But that’s a workaround for the stated problem.

Another way was to use JavaScript to change the action of the <form> when the button was clicked. There are any number of ways to do that, but it boils down to:

<form name="form">

  <!-- inputs and stuff -->

  <input type="submit" onclick="javascript: form.action='/submit';">
  <input type="submit" onclick="javascript: form.action='/submit-2';"> 

</form>

Which of course relies on JavaScript to work, which isn’t a huge deal, but isn’t quite as progressive enhancement friendly as it could be.

The correct answer (if I may be so bold) is that HTML has this covered for you already. Perhaps it’s not as well-known as it should be. Hence the blog post here, I suppose.

It’s all about the formaction attribute, which you can put directly on submit buttons, which overrides the action on the form itself.

<form action="/submit">
  
  <input type="submit" value="Submit">
  
  <input type="submit" value="Go Elsewhere" formaction="/elsewhere">
  
</form>

That’s all. Carry on.