Chapter 9. Page Layout with Frames That Aren’t

Many of us don’t realize how much site layout decisions affect end users. These kinds of decisions are a little outside the scope of this book (they are truly design issues). However, there are some important questions regarding how the site is laid out from a coding standpoint, not from the designer’s point of view. By coding, I mean the design of elements that are used to define the application’s structure. These elements are the controls and widgets that go into an application built with XHTML, CSS, and JavaScript (and that you can enhance with Ajax).

Sites used to be structured with frames in the old days of web building, especially when the sites were doing more than just showing one page at a time. That changed out of necessity, as DHTML took hold and the limitations of frames became more evident.

Using Frames

Frames allow a developer to divide an application page into named sections that can still interact, but never overflow into one another. This has its advantages and disadvantages, as you can well imagine. On the one hand, it allows for easy layout from a development point of view. On the other hand, it is hard to create dynamic content that can interact anywhere on the page, because anything dynamic is constrained to its own frame.

If you decide to use frames, the XHTML 1.0 Frameset document type definition (DTD) is available, as is the HTML 4.01 Frameset DTD. Use whichever you like, but remember, the Web deals with XML a great ...

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