Re: HTML4.0 draft: comments re: inclusion of frames

David Marsh (drmarsh@bigfoot.com)
03 Sep 97 02:32:40 +0000


Date: 03 Sep 97 02:32:40 +0000
From: David Marsh <drmarsh@bigfoot.com>
To: www-html@w3.org
In-Reply-To: <199708220045.UAA28357@unix.asb.com>
Message-ID: <5536.7185T152T2028@bigfoot.com>
Subject: Re: HTML4.0 draft: comments re: inclusion of frames

On 22-Aug-97 01:37:32, wlkngowl@unix.asb.com (Rob) said:
[Source: email, Subject was: Re: HTML4.0 draft: comments re: inclusion of frames]

>On 21 Aug 97 14:53:51 David Marsh <drmarsh@bigfoot.com>

>> I am very disappointed and alarmed at the inclusion of Netscape's 'frame'
>> construct within the draft HTML4.0 specification.
>> 
>> I wish to express, in the strongest terms, my concern that frames should
>> not be allowed to enter the rulebook of standard HTML.

>I see no problem with it, as long as the standard strongly encourages 
>authors to support non-frame environments.


But that's the same story as the standard strongly encouraging the use of
ALT attributes for images; and you just have to look around to see how many
people ignore that most intelligent piece of advice <sigh> :-(

The problem is, that if it should become necessary to support both framed
and standard pages, then that increases the workload on the webweaver.

Perhaps the easiest 'solution' would be to encourage non-frame browser
coders to upgrade their products to at least be able to parse framesets, and
then simply 'display' (in whatever sense) a menu of all the linked pages for
the user to select from.

Ideally this would also require the equivalent of an ALT attribute for
framed links so that rather than being presented with:

[a.html]
[b.html]
[c.html]

(as could be likely)

the non-frame browser would render

[Gratuituous banner ad]
[Site navigation menu]
[Front page]

for the user to select the appropriate page.

Or something like that :-)



>I dislike frames. But I dislike pages that are full of glitz, inlines
>sounds and images and loads of brouhahah that have no content and
>take forever to load.  

I agree with this entirely!

>But this is a matter of proper authorship: the
>standard even without frames and limited to vanilla HTML 2.0 is open
>to a lot of abuse and misuse.

I'm not sure what there is in HTML2.0 that gives any browser problems?
Admittedly with HTML3.2, there's tables, colors, etc for less-abled browsers
to mess up with.


>As for authors who refuse to make their pages accessible to a wider
>audience, it's their loss. Whether the realize that is something
>else. How to pressure them to make pages accessible to non-frame
>browsers is another issue.  You might try E-mailing the author of the
>page.

This usually results in: "Yeh, but get Netscape"

Yes, but <thud>, it's not <thud> available on my platform <thud>.


>You may also want to contact browser manufacturers and convince them
>there is a market for their product on your platform.

Apparently the Amiga was at one point top of Netscape's list of "things we
_might_ port to next..", but I'd be the first to admit that I wouldn't
really deem that a properly viable proposition until the next generation of
high-power Amigas appears, if it ever does, but this is digressing.
The problem for the Amiga now is not frames, but the increasing number of
sites using JavaScript and other proprietary plug-ins.

The point is, there are appreciable, if not particularly large, numbers of
people browsing the web who aren't using Macs, PCs or Netscape-supported
flavours of Unix, and although browser developers are doing their best to 
keep up, it goes against the spirit of the web to restrict access to 
informational (as opposed to whizzbang gimmicky) pages. After all, the point
of having the information on the web, is to make it readable.


>I find most pages aren't frames-only, so how much of a problem is
>this?

It's an increasing problem. Most sites that I visit stick to HTML3.2 or the
more harmless extensions, but one example of note is that of the UK national
railways site (www.rail.co.uk/) [ie, a site of national importance] which 
until recently I was unable to get much useful information from, due to
their (largely unnecessary) use of frames.


>> *   The very nature of frames is such that frames do not fit well into the
>> concept of HTML as a device and presentation independent standard.

>Neither do the <B>, <I>, or <U> elements. Never mind <FONT> and

I would agree. I tend to avoid using these elements, particularly FONT.

>arguably <IMG>, image maps, etc.

"A little picture can be worth a thousand words" as my maths teacher used to
love saying. 
But only if it enhances, rather than replaces, the text, of course!


>> deprecating "Get Netscape" comment (Netscape is not available for my
>> platform/OS, and is of no use to blind web-readers, etc).

>I know somebody who is blind and uses Netscape. His reader software
>handles it reasonably well.

I didn't realise that this was possible.
How does this set-up handle frames, though?



>The 'two-or-more-documents' issue means little: a simple page with a
>lot of inline images and maybe stylesheets can take longer than some
>frame pages.

Stylesheets are something I'm not yet able to experience, so I can't
comment. However, if authors include size attributes with images then it
should be possible to read the page text while the images load.


Dave.


--
David Marsh,    drmarsh@bigfoot.com  |    http://squelch.home.ml.org/    |
Glasgow/Glaschu, Scotland.      *If urgent, phone: +44  141 636-6084.*    //
>CYCLEWAY: cycle activism UK/IE: http://squelch.home.ml.org/cycleway/<  \X/
   [Actively seeking work: see  http://squelch.home.ml.org/tgfx/cv.html]