Re: help with frames

Mike Meyer (mwm@contessa.phone.net)
Mon, 12 Feb 1996 18:17:59 PST


Subject:  Re: help with frames
In-Reply-To: <v01510104ad4595fc3560@[136.159.220.107]>
From: mwm@contessa.phone.net (Mike Meyer)
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 1996 18:17:59 PST
Message-Id: <19960212.75CEE88.10CC2@contessa.phone.net>
To: www-html@w3.org

> I am consistently astonished by the emotions that simple technical facilities
> generate. I use frames routinely on a daily basis for presentations and find
> them an excellent facility. I attended a presentation this morning where a
> colleague independently used frames to great effect and with great facility.

I'd be interested in seeing it. I've as yet to find a page on the web
that used frames that wasn't more difficult to deal with than the
obvious translation into HTML 2.0.

> The ability to split a window into parts each of which has its own URL and
> which communicate in a reasonable way greatly increases the capabilities of
> the HTML user interface.

This is quite true, and good hypertext systems have had this kind of
ability for years. Apparently, nobody at NetScape looked at them, or
they could have avoided the problems that exist with their frames
implementation.

Problem 1: there's only one UI for all the frames. This makes life
somewhat painful. Other hypertext systems have a windowing system
window per frame, which solves this problem. It also means that the
user controls the percentage of display space on each frame, so they
can allocate it to what they're trying to read, rather than being
forced to allocate display space as the author wished. More than once,
I've wound up cutting a URL from a frame and then opening that URL in
a second window in order to actually READ the silly thing.

Problem 2: A Frame document is NOT a text/html document; it's a window
layout document with a text/html rider attached for browsers who don't
understand it. NetScape once again ignored an existing, deployed
technology that would have provided a superior solution to what they
did.

> In the early years of the web such innovation was hailed as an achievement.

Correct. Now that we have some experience LIVING with such poorly
designed tools and the headaches they've caused, we'd rather see some
thought going into them so this process doesn't become iterative.

	<mike