W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > December 2001

frames for styling

From: Benjamin Rossen <rossen@iae.nl>
Date: Mon, 17 Dec 2001 23:29:05 +0100
Message-ID: <001501c1874a$3e8926f0$02fefe97@RESEARCH>
To: <www-html@w3.org>
Frames are depricated in current definitions of XHTML, with good reason.
They cause all kinds of navigation, book-making, linking and search engine
problems. Yet framed layouts are very attractive and useful for keeping
menus and logos in view. We need a new way to make frames.

I would like to suggest a broad outline for a way do solve the current
problems with framesets by using an alternative frameset architecture.

I propose that the frameset information be stored in a CSS like external
file (not just another HTML file) and possibly even be incorporated into
CSS. Use of frames is, after all, a presentation issue first and content
second. If not incorporated into CSS perhaps these could be called efd files
for "external frameset definition." (for example, myframeset.efd) The efd
file should fulfil the same functions that the current HTML frameset
document does with two differences (1) it cannot be directly displayed on a
browser (2) it uses aliases or frame id or names for the frames but no URL's
(no src="filename.htm" syntax).

Each document with content intended to appear in a frame should contain a
reference to the edf file, perhaps in a meta tag together with references to
the frame id where it should display itself. When a document is found, say
by a visitor entering the site without knowledge of the frameset, the
document itself calls the efd file and then loads itself in the appropriate
frame. The document should also contain pointers to other HTML files that
should be seen in the other adjacent frames. Syntax would need to be made to
provide opportunities for the document to detect if a frame is already up
and running or not. If the frameset is not already running, then files
specified in the document would be used in the adjacent frames. If the
frameset is already up and running then the document should not
automatically displace other documents which are already present in the
other frames. One can think of all kinds of options to use here for forcing
or preventing documents from changing contents in adjacent frames.

Finally, there should be agreed standards for book-marking and linking to
documents implemented in browsers. When the mouse is placed over a frame and
right clicked, the bookmark should be made to the URL of the document in
that frame. "View source" should then become a right mouse click menu option
so that the document in that specific frame can be examined. These
suggestions, incidentally, are already implemented in some recent browsers.

Benjamin Rossen
Heikampen 40
The Netherlands
voice: +31-(0)40-2913797
fax:     +31-(0)40-2913796
gsm:    06 53 97 44 96
Received on Monday, 17 December 2001 17:25:31 UTC

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