To Frame or Not to Frame

Frames are display boxes within a page. Their big advantage is that you can change one box at a time instead of the whole page. So, for example, if you are offering people monthly gardening advice that talks about what's currently right for planting, you only have to change a single frame. Frames have clear benefits. And frames make it easier for laymen to construct well-organized Web pages.

Header

Index

Main

Footer

Figure A-2: Illustration of an unframed page.

Figure A-2: Illustration of an unframed page.

However, there are two drawbacks to using frames:

♦ A frame-based site usually has a master page that issues the instructions that call up the frames on all the other pages. This is called a frameset. After the initial frame page is presented, subpages only get generated when the reader requests them.

Search engines, unfortunately, don't push menu buttons. They can't index what they can't see.

♦ The other problem is that if you find a framed page with a search engine, it will only see the selected frame. This will look out of place without the other frames around it.

These limitations are easily overcome, but they do have to be incorporated from the start.

If you use frames, add code to test whether they have been loaded within the frameset. If not, add some code that checks for this condition and loads the page in its correct frameset.

Note Creating frames and writing code for its proper placement is really a job for a pro fessional Web designer. Keep that in mind when the time comes to create a site for your product.

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