Re: Frames - does anyone like them?

Mary Morris wrote:
> One of the biggest problems that I have heard from the usability
> people is that frames don't allow you to bookmark places very
> well because each frame is an individual document, thus you can
> get various combinations of documents. How are we going to deal
> with the addressing issues?

This should be a fairly minor technical problem; the theoretical
problem can be solved by analogy with a standard procedure for
specifying a location in a multi-dimensional space, by using
Cartesian coordinates.  Instead of saving one address as the
bookmark, save them all, and possibly the frame structure as well
(in case there's some trouble getting the base document back, you
can still do a partial recovery).  A return to the state at the
time (s)he bookmarked it is what the user wants; it could get
tricky in principle, as you might need to include any number of
addresses in your bookmarks, but in practice the number shouldn't
get very big most of the time.  Browser vendors would just need
to allow more space for saving each bookmark, and browsers would
retrieve complicated positions more slowly than simple ones (but
then, they would get to them more slowly in the first place, so
that shouldn't surprise users).

> I see the layout of the frames themselves as being a presentation issue
> even though they are also a container. Even if you could bookmark the
> URLs for all frames displayed in the window,

Why can't you?  It must be a countable number, so there's no problem 
with this in principle.

> you still need to retain
> the positioning and sizing of the frames themselves somewhere.

Just store that information in the bookmark as well.  You can store in
the form of HTML, as it was originally written.

> It would be easy if you had all frames as fixed URLs except one.
> Then you could define a frame style (the position and style and
> fixed URLs) in the head of the main changing page and just tell
> the browser which frame is the variable frame so that the browser
> can bookmark it. However, if you have multiple variable frames,
> it is going to be fun figuring out how to bookmark the unique
> instance of frame x being URL y and frame z being URL w ad nauseum...

If you store a bookmark as HTML, the mapping of URLs to frames is no
harder than composing the HTML for the original framed document.