Chapter 7. Managing Multiple Frames

Introduction

As with multiple windows, multiple frames are controversial among experienced web designers. Some love them, others refuse to use them. Dislike for framesets has a couple of origins. One dates back many years, when not all browsers supported them. Many veteran designers refused to accept framesets then and the prejudice continues. More recently, however, the pure and strict XHTML implementations omit frames from the document markup vocabulary. Forms and hyperlinks in validating documents cannot even include a target attribute that loads the result of a form submission or a linked document into another frame.

But the frames concept is not disappearing into oblivion. The XHTML specification includes a frame-specific version, and future work at the W3C will likely provide a fresh, XML-based frame markup vocabulary (currently called XFrames). At the same time, virtually every graphical user interface browser in use today supports HTML frames, and will do so for a long time to come. By setting the frameset element’s border attribute to zero to create a seamless space, users may not even be aware of your frame structure.

Frames are especially useful in a few specific instances. The most common application is dividing a page into a large content frame and a smaller frame that acts as an index, table of contents, or site navigation menu. Such small frames might be along the left or right edge of the window, or sometimes as a horizontal ...

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