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Last Update: 5 January 1998


This element tells the browser that the document is an index document. This causes the browser to create a user-input field into which the user can type words to be used in the index search. In a sense, this means that, in addition to being viewed and read, the "document" can in some way be examined or queried.

It is important to realize that this does not mean a simple text search through the document being viewed. When the user types in words and presses ENTER (or whatever key or button is appropriate) the search information is sent back to a server -- thus the server machine actually does the searching. In a sense, you can think of an ISINDEX document as being a front-end to a some kind of indexing or querying program residing on the HTTP server.

3.2.1 Construction of ISINDEX Query

Keywords from ISINDEX queries are passed to the server by suffixing, to the URL from which the document originated, a question mark followed by a list of keywords, separated by plus signs. Thus if the URL for a document containing an ISINDEX element was

then typing the word "instructional" into the ISINDEX query window and submitting the query would access the URL 

3.2.2 Appropriate Use of ISINDEX

The ISINDEX element is usually generated automatically by a server-side script, or gateway program. You should not add this element by hand into a regular HTML document.

The use of ISINDEX to generate a server-side search is described in Section 6.1. To some degree the use of ISINDEX has been supplanted by the more sophisticated FORMS interface.

3.2.3 Netscape Enhancements to ISINDEX

Netscape introduced two new attributes to the ISINDEX element, which are commonly supported and with are included in the HTML 4.0 specification.

3.2.4 Example of ISINDEX

    ... body of document  (text to be presented)

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