Re: Frames - does anyone like them?

David Perrell (davidp@earthlink.net)
Sat, 24 Aug 1996 10:22:09 -0700


Message-Id: <199608221732.KAA28355@spain.it.earthlink.net>
From: "David Perrell" <davidp@earthlink.net>
To: <www-html@w3.org>
Subject: Re: Frames - does anyone like them?
Date: Sat, 24 Aug 1996 10:22:09 -0700

Brent Eades wrote:
> I often visit a particular site where the purpose is to compare
> various technical drawings, and there I find frames are very
useful.

This is why I like them--conceptually--more than not. As implemented,
no. As used, rarely.

Personally, I think a page intersected with a bunch of gray bars is
ugly. But I'm now working on an interactive training cost analysis
form using JavaScript, and the best solution I found was to use a
contents frame for the variables, results, and help screens plus a
small fixed-size frame to hold the controls. The controls are all
bitmaps that change relative to the state of the content frame. All
HREFs are JavaScript functions so control is maintained until the
page is exited.

With the current state of frames, I don't think you can safely put a
textual index/TOC into a fixed size frame. Base font can be changed
in the browser and (at least in Win95) pixels/inch can be changed in
the GUI. Different fonts have different character widths. There is no
guarantee that text that fits on one client will fit on another. This
would not be a problem if frame size could be spec'd in ems and
points and/or style sheets were the norm, but that's not now the
case.

There are exceptions. The JavaScript reference page on NetScape's
site is more accessible with frames than it would be without. But I
would hardly call this an attractive page.

An aside regarding NetScape: They invented frames, right? Have you
ever spec'd a height in pixels and then measured the actual height?
They're not the same, by a long shot! Microsoft implements NetScape's
inventions better than NetScape.

David Perrell