country select list

Discussion in 'HTML' started by Leszek, Dec 23, 2005.

  1. Leszek

    Leszek Guest

    Hi.
    Is it possible to make a select lst of all countries in the world?
    Is there a list of countries i could download and place it in my form?

    thanx
    Leszek
    Leszek, Dec 23, 2005
    #1
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  2. Marian Heddesheimer, Dec 23, 2005
    #2
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  3. Leszek

    Guest

    Hello Leszek,

    Well, I'll tell you what. I just so happen to have such a list on my
    webpage. The URL is http://linkfrog.net, and the country list is in a
    form on the "Survey du jour" page.

    In exchange, I only ask that you fill in the survey--I don't think
    anyone from Poland has yet :).

    Merry Christmas,
    Walter Gildersleeve
    Freiburg, Germany

    ______________________________________________________
    http://linkfrog.net
    URL Shortening
    Free and easy, small and green.
    , Dec 23, 2005
    #3
  4. Leszek wrote:

    > Hi.
    > Is it possible to make a select lst of all countries in the world?
    > Is there a list of countries i could download and place it in my form?


    There is one on this page. You could probably copy the source.

    http://www.mailcoach.com/asp/selectcountry.asp

    --
    -bts
    -Warning: I brake for lawn deer
    Beauregard T. Shagnasty, Dec 23, 2005
    #4
  5. Leszek

    Rob McAninch Guest

    Marian Heddesheimer>:
    > On Fri, 23 Dec 2005 14:36:14 +0100, Leszek wrote:


    >>Is it possible to make a select lst of all countries in the world?

    >
    > google could help here:
    > http://www.thefixor.com/help/countryDRP.html


    I question the usefulness of such drop down lists. Most people know
    what country they live in and can type it much faster than scrolling
    a list (or typing to get the list closer to the choice you need).

    It's similar to asking for a birth date, we are so accustomed to
    responding that having to scroll lists is less efficient.

    http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20001112.html

    --
    Rob McAninch
    http://rock13.com
    Rob McAninch, Dec 23, 2005
    #5
  6. "Leszek" <> wrote:

    > Is it possible to make a select lst of all countries in the world?


    Yes, of course, though different people would create different lists, since
    there are different definitions of "country".

    The right question is: What is the best way to ask the user to a select a
    country? A select list is not the right answer, unless you intentionally and
    for a good reason limit the choices to a dozen or so countries.

    --
    Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
    Pages about Web authoring: http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/www.html
    Jukka K. Korpela, Dec 23, 2005
    #6
  7. Leszek

    Ed Guest

    Rob McAninch wrote:
    > Marian Heddesheimer>:
    >
    >> On Fri, 23 Dec 2005 14:36:14 +0100, Leszek wrote:

    >
    >
    >>> Is it possible to make a select lst of all countries in the world?

    >>
    >>
    >> google could help here:
    >> http://www.thefixor.com/help/countryDRP.html

    >
    >
    > I question the usefulness of such drop down lists. Most people know what
    > country they live in and can type it much faster than scrolling a list
    > (or typing to get the list closer to the choice you need).
    >
    > It's similar to asking for a birth date, we are so accustomed to
    > responding that having to scroll lists is less efficient.
    >
    > http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20001112.html
    >


    A drop down down list does force a certain level of consistency in the
    answers and makes counting the replies relatively straightforward if
    that is the intention.

    Once you start asking people what country they live in, or come from,
    you can end up with all sorts of problems. For example, try asking
    someone born anywhere in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
    Northern Ireland (that is the official name). You could then get replies
    ranging through:

    England
    Northern Ireland
    Scotland
    Wales
    Isle of Man
    UK
    Great Britain
    Britain

    Not all of these are legally defined as countries! The list includes
    provinces and principalities. But different people will argue
    passionately that their own particular area is indeed a country in its
    own right.

    Far simpler to use a drop down list if you want to tabulate and count
    the results.

    Yours truly,
    Ed
    Republic of Ireland
    (Or is it Eire, or Ireland, but without the North!!)
    Ed, Dec 23, 2005
    #7
  8. Leszek

    Greg N. Guest

    Ed wrote:

    > ...different people will argue
    > passionately that their own particular area is indeed a country in its
    > own right.
    >
    > Far simpler to use a drop down list if you want to tabulate and count
    > the results.


    It may be difficult for you, the web designer, but let them state their
    country. They know better than you. Or make your job easy and piss them
    off as a side effect.

    Whenever I'm faced with a selection list that does not offer a fitting
    choice for me, the site must offer some real good value to motivate me
    finish the form.

    --
    Gregor's Motorradreisen:
    http://hothaus.de/greg-tour/
    Greg N., Dec 23, 2005
    #8
  9. Ed <ex@directory> wrote:

    > A drop down down list does force a certain level of consistency in the
    > answers


    Only if users are nice. They should not be expected to be.

    > and makes counting the replies relatively straightforward if
    > that is the intention.


    This is actually a _risk_ in a drop down list: it makes you think you can
    avoid checking the incoming data in the form handler. It then becomes
    vulnerable to even the most trivial attacks.

    > Once you start asking people what country they live in, or come from,
    > you can end up with all sorts of problems. For example, try asking
    > someone born anywhere in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
    > Northern Ireland (that is the official name). You could then get replies
    > ranging through:
    >
    > England
    > Northern Ireland
    > Scotland
    > Wales
    > Isle of Man
    > UK
    > Great Britain
    > Britain


    Right. So accept them all, or accept just one and link to a document that
    lists the countries as you see it.

    If you use a drop down list, how is the British user expected to guess
    whether whether he should look for his country under "E", "B", "G", or "U"
    (or something else) in a list of two hundred countries?

    > Republic of Ireland
    > (Or is it Eire, or Ireland, but without the North!!)


    Well, according to official EU policy, even the _full_ name (long name,
    diplomatic protocol name) of the country is "Ireland". I guess that's because
    the Irish government wants it that way.

    --
    Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
    Pages about Web authoring: http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/www.html
    Jukka K. Korpela, Dec 23, 2005
    #9
  10. Leszek

    Jose Guest

    > Only if users are nice. They should not be expected to be.

    What could a not-nice user do to a drop-down list? (I am not very
    webmaster-savvy, the question is at face value)

    A drop down list is also one way of enforcing spelling. How would you
    otherwise deal with creative spelers?

    Jose
    --
    You can choose whom to befriend, but you cannot choose whom to love.
    for Email, make the obvious change in the address.
    Jose, Dec 23, 2005
    #10
  11. Leszek

    dorayme Guest

    In article <doguge$quq$>,
    "Leszek" <> wrote:

    > Is it possible to make a select lst of all countries in the world?


    You mean there may be an irreducible indeterminacy to it? No
    possible list could be the truer or more complete than all other
    possible lists (not counting itself)?

    Interesting idea...
    dorayme, Dec 24, 2005
    #11
  12. Jose <> wrote:

    > What could a not-nice user do to a drop-down list?


    Download a copy of your HTML document, edit the select element, and use the
    modified document to submit data that crashes your form handler, if it is not
    prepared to literally anything. The user could be a cracker, or even just a
    naive user who tries to create a "customized" form.

    > A drop down list is also one way of enforcing spelling.


    It moves the problem to variation in country names to the user.

    > How would you
    > otherwise deal with creative spelers?


    Your form handler can accept whatever you wish to make it accept. This could
    be just country names in a fixed list, if you like. Actually most people
    probably know how to spell the name of their country.

    --
    Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
    Pages about Web authoring: http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/www.html
    Jukka K. Korpela, Dec 24, 2005
    #12
  13. Leszek

    dorayme Guest

    In article <>,
    Rob McAninch <> wrote:

    > I question the usefulness of such drop down lists. Most people know
    > what country they live in and can type it much faster than scrolling
    > a list (or typing to get the list closer to the choice you need).


    Good point. it is helpful mostly to those who want to lie about
    their country and can't spell...
    dorayme, Dec 24, 2005
    #13
  14. Leszek

    Ed Guest

    Jukka K. Korpela wrote:
    > Ed <ex@directory> wrote:
    >
    >
    >>A drop down down list does force a certain level of consistency in the
    >>answers

    >
    >
    > Only if users are nice. They should not be expected to be.
    >
    >
    >>and makes counting the replies relatively straightforward if
    >>that is the intention.

    >
    >
    > This is actually a _risk_ in a drop down list: it makes you think you can
    > avoid checking the incoming data in the form handler. It then becomes
    > vulnerable to even the most trivial attacks.
    >
    >
    >>Once you start asking people what country they live in, or come from,
    >>you can end up with all sorts of problems. For example, try asking
    >>someone born anywhere in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
    >>Northern Ireland (that is the official name). You could then get replies
    >>ranging through:
    >>
    >>England
    >>Northern Ireland
    >>Scotland
    >>Wales
    >>Isle of Man
    >>UK
    >>Great Britain
    >>Britain

    >
    >
    > Right. So accept them all, or accept just one and link to a document that
    > lists the countries as you see it.
    >
    > If you use a drop down list, how is the British user expected to guess
    > whether whether he should look for his country under "E", "B", "G", or "U"
    > (or something else) in a list of two hundred countries?
    >
    >
    >>Republic of Ireland
    >>(Or is it Eire, or Ireland, but without the North!!)

    >
    >
    > Well, according to official EU policy, even the _full_ name (long name,
    > diplomatic protocol name) of the country is "Ireland". I guess that's because
    > the Irish government wants it that way.
    >


    I dispute most of the comments/replies that you have made here. But it
    would be way off-topic to discuss further in this forum.

    But the earlier advice was excellent i.e. the webmaster must ask the
    RIGHT question.

    So, in the case that the OP presented, the question might be 'From the
    drop down list, please select the option that *** best *** describes
    your place of birth'. Or something along those lines. I don't want to
    argue further on the exact phraseology. What is important, is that the
    webmaster strives to get the information that (s)he REALLY wants.

    And possibly the list should also include the option 'Other' or some
    such equivalent for people who cannot make a choice from the list that
    is offered.

    Yours truly,
    Ed
    Republic Of Ireland
    Ed, Dec 24, 2005
    #14
  15. Leszek

    Jose Guest

    > Download a copy of your HTML document, edit the select element, and use the
    > modified document to submit data that crashes your form handler


    This user could not do the same with a non-drop-down input method? Or
    is it the assumption that a drop-down entry method would not be checked
    as rigourously that you are on about?

    >>A drop down list is also one way of enforcing spelling.

    >
    > It moves the problem to variation in country names to the user.


    .... who can handle it more easily than the computer? Or maybe not.

    > [to handle creative spelling] Your form handler can accept
    > whatever you wish to make it accept. This could
    > be just country names in a fixed list, if you like.


    But when a variant is rejected, the user should clearly be told why, or
    they will get frustrated. A drop-down list makes that implicit.

    My frustration (as a user) with such lists is when they are used for
    something like time and date (which is much easier to type than to
    select six items from six drop down lists), and when the lists are
    "almost big enough" (such as a "time" list that shows ten elements when
    there are twelve hours and makes you scroll for the rest.)

    I'm not defending drop-downs because I like them, I'm being a bit of a
    devil's advocate so I can learn a bit more.

    Jose
    --
    You can choose whom to befriend, but you cannot choose whom to love.
    for Email, make the obvious change in the address.
    Jose, Dec 24, 2005
    #15
  16. Jose <> wrote:

    >> Download a copy of your HTML document, edit the select element, and use
    >> the modified document to submit data that crashes your form handler

    >
    > This user could not do the same with a non-drop-down input method?


    Of course. The drop-down method just creates a common illusion among authors
    that it guarantees something, so that no check of input data is needed.

    > But when a variant is rejected, the user should clearly be told why, or
    > they will get frustrated.


    You can make it as clear as you like. I would say that saying "Your input
    '...' was not recognized as a country name. Please select a country name or
    two-letter country code from the list at ..." would be enough.

    > My frustration (as a user) with such lists is when they are used for
    > something like time and date (which is much easier to type than to
    > select six items from six drop down lists), and when the lists are
    > "almost big enough" (such as a "time" list that shows ten elements when
    > there are twelve hours and makes you scroll for the rest.)


    They are indeed common examples of poor use of drop-down lists. But a very
    long list of countries belongs to that set, not the relatively small set of
    good uses of drop-down lists in HTML documents.

    --
    Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
    Pages about Web authoring: http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/www.html
    Jukka K. Korpela, Dec 24, 2005
    #16
  17. Ed <ex@directory> wrote:

    > I dispute most of the comments/replies that you have made here.


    The Usenet way of saying that your opponent is right is to quote him
    comprehensively and present no argument against any item.

    > But it
    > would be way off-topic to discuss further in this forum.


    This is about which constructs should be used in HTML, so if _that_ is off-
    topic to you, maybe you should find yourself another forum.

    > But the earlier advice was excellent i.e. the webmaster must ask the
    > RIGHT question.


    Excuse me while I yawn.

    > So, in the case that the OP presented, the question might be 'From the
    > drop down list, please select the option that *** best *** describes
    > your place of birth'.


    You are making the issue just more difficult that way. To begin with, how
    does a list drop down in a speech browser, and exactly where do HTML
    specifications say that a particular kind of <select> element _must_ be
    implemented as a drop down list?

    Asking about place of birth is pointless if you are interested - hopefully
    for some legitimate reason - about the country of birth, which is an
    _official_ matter (and may actually deviate from the country of the physical
    birth). There's no reason to make the text any more complicated than
    "Country of birth". (If that's what you are asking. In the EU, you would need
    very special reasons for asking such things. Check the data protection
    directive and the national law that implements it.)

    --
    Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
    Pages about Web authoring: http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/www.html
    Jukka K. Korpela, Dec 24, 2005
    #17
  18. Leszek

    Jose Guest

    >>> But when a variant is rejected, the user should clearly be told why, or
    >>> they will get frustrated.

    >
    > You can make it as clear as you like. I would say that saying "Your input
    > '...' was not recognized as a country name. Please select a country name or
    > two-letter country code from the list at ..." would be enough.


    Well, then you are giving a list, but AFTER a failed attempt. Further,
    you are making the user go elsewhere for that list, wondering if when he
    comes back his partly filled-in form will be erased or not (browser and
    settings dependent, no?). As a user, I'd rather have a drop-down which
    allows typing (and fills in as I go) in circumstances where an exact
    match is required. I am given the list from which I must match up
    front, and my job as a user is easy.

    I would like the most common three or four countries to be at the top
    though, as well as in their proper place alphabetcally.

    As for what should be recognized as a country - if you "recognize
    everything" then the problem in data analysis comes later, but it is the
    same problem, and the one person best able to sort the ambiguity is long
    gone.

    Jose
    --
    You can choose whom to befriend, but you cannot choose whom to love.
    for Email, make the obvious change in the address.
    Jose, Dec 24, 2005
    #18
  19. Leszek

    dorayme Guest

    In article <Xns97369E9D865A5jkorpelacstutfi@193.229.4.246>,
    "Jukka K. Korpela" <> wrote:

    > > I dispute most of the comments/replies that you have made here.

    >
    > The Usenet way of saying that your opponent is right is to quote him
    > comprehensively and present no argument against any item.


    There is no argument for this and it is not prima facie true.
    Much more plausible is that the person who claims to dispute you
    is either incapable of giving the arguments or can't be bothered.
    I want that you should think about everything you say in 2006 and
    be totally accurate. I don't want to see any more debating
    points. Irrelevencies, yes. Lowly debating points, no.
    dorayme, Dec 26, 2005
    #19
  20. Leszek

    Rob McAninch Guest

    Jose>:
    >>>> But when a variant is rejected, the user should clearly be told why,
    >>>> or they will get frustrated.

    >>
    >>
    >> You can make it as clear as you like. I would say that saying "Your input
    >> '...' was not recognized as a country name. Please select a country
    >> name or two-letter country code from the list at ..." would be enough.

    >
    >
    > Well, then you are giving a list, but AFTER a failed attempt.


    Why a failed attempt? If you have you done your work a list like:

    England
    Northern Ireland
    Scotland
    Wales
    Isle of Man
    UK
    Great Britain
    Britain

    Will get distilled to usable information, if you are shipping then
    be sure you get something your shipper accepts as deliverable. If
    you are just wanting someone's generally geographic location then
    lump it all into UK, Europe, Eurasia, or whatever you want to deal with.

    > Further,
    > you are making the user go elsewhere for that list, wondering if when he
    > comes back his partly filled-in form will be erased or not (browser and
    > settings dependent, no?).


    If the person didn't type something I could transform into a
    deliverable address (which would be displayed for confirmation) then
    I might consider a drop down list to provide the 'near' matches.
    Mapquest.com does a similar thing, if I type in only a city I get a
    list of links to choose from.

    > As a user, I'd rather have a drop-down which
    > allows typing (and fills in as I go) in circumstances where an exact
    > match is required. I am given the list from which I must match up
    > front, and my job as a user is easy.


    Generally an exact match shouldn't be _required_, or at any rate it
    can't be *expected* since you have to validate everything on the
    server anyhow. I might expect you to choose a country name from a
    drop down list but if I only verify that it is a string of letters
    and spaces I might get 'foo bar' submitted. How useful is that?


    > I would like the most common three or four countries to be at the top
    > though, as well as in their proper place alphabetcally.


    Actually, that annoys me. And how do you decide what's common,
    perhaps demographics if you're selling a product, but if you sell
    international those four at the top just annoy other potential
    customers.

    > As for what should be recognized as a country - if you "recognize
    > everything" then the problem in data analysis comes later, but it is the
    > same problem, and the one person best able to sort the ambiguity is long
    > gone.


    You have to validate the data whether it comes from a drop down list
    or is typed in. And this validation should be the same for either
    method since your HTML form may not be what is actually submitting
    the data to your server.

    The question is what is easier for the majority of users. I've
    watched a number of less experienced web users and most scroll the
    list. They don't know the shortcuts of tapping the first letter (and
    even if they do, that list from earlier should point out why a drop
    down list may not be the best choice.)

    --
    Rob McAninch
    http://rock13.com
    Rob McAninch, Dec 27, 2005
    #20
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