Limiting Textarea Text
1. Introduction and Sample
Here's a textarea for you to try this out with.
As you can see, once you have typed 40 characters in the above field the field content stops changing. If you paste something into the field that is longer than 40 characters it is not only truncated to 40 characters but a message is also displayed to advise that the field has been truncated (setting a maxlength on an input field isn't that kind to the visitor).
So why is the above field limited to 40 characters? It's not the message on the line below that does it, that's just being friendly to your visitor by letting them know in advance how big the field is. It's also got nothing to do with the fact that the field is twenty characters wide and two rows high even though 20x2=40 and so the field can display 40 characters. Under normal circumstances the field content would start scrolling once the display area had been filled (as in fact will happen if shift-enter is used to start new lines of text rather than just filling the entire field with characters).