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Menus, navigation, and simplicity (Perhaps slightly off-topic)

From: Kevin A Sesock <sesock@okstate.edu>
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2003 10:04:51 -0500
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <OFED72F8B3.8960BBEF-ON86256D63.00510BFB-86256D63.0052D791@okstate.edu>
All:

This may sound like a stupid question, as well as an off-topic one, but 
it's a necessary one, and one that I can't find asked too often, so here 
goes...

One of the original concepts behind designing in frames, at least the way 
I understand it, was to simplify web developer's needs in regards to 
providing menus (or navigation sections), headers, etc. The content was 
created as individual pages, but the menus, the top-level banners, etc. 
etc. etc., was supposed to be in seperate frames to simplify sites that 
were being constantly changed. Add a new section to your site? Change one 
page (the one that includes your menus), and validate your links. Poof, 
you're done.

Unfortunately, frames were in many cases more trouble than they are worth. 
They're inaccessible, they often times make a site look horrible in 
different size browsers, they're hard to control properly, bookmarking, 
page linking, and on down the line. 

The problem, however, still exists for those people without any type of 
content management solution. It's tedious and ineffective to update the 
<div class="menu"> section of every top-level page of their site. If you 
don't have PHP, a content management solution, or something, anything, 
you're in trouble.

For those of us with little to no control over the server itself, and can 
basically only put up .html pages that are just straight html (no 
server-side anything), we are in trouble. I've been unable to find a way 
to have the User Agent to "pull in" or import an additional html file, or 
content, or whatever, in much the same way as the User Agent requests an 
external css file with the appropriate code placed neatly in the headers. 

Now, for those of you who have an easy, fast, simple solution for those of 
us who are having to do things in the old-fashioned way, I apologize for 
spamming the list, especially with something that seems relatively 
off-topic. Feel free to chastise me off-list, or better yet, flame e-mails 
should be immediately directed to /dev/null. Ultimately, if I can't find a 
good way to do this, I'll go back to frames, as it makes my life so much 
easier (althought I hesitate to do this). The underlying problem is that 
I'm not a web developer by trade, as much as I am an Assistive 
Technologist. Therefore, I am limited in the time I can spend on our 
website (which is in desperate need of rebuilding).

Thank you in advance for your help, and I hope I didn't disturb all of 
your Monday's too badly. :)

Kevin A. Sesock, A+, NET+, CNA, MCSA
Deskside Computer Support Specialist
Student Disability Services
SLA Program
Information Technology Division
Oklahoma State University

"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in 
practice there is." --Unknown
Received on Monday, 14 July 2003 11:04:53 GMT

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