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GENERAL

APPROACH

BANDWIDTH

LAYOUT

consistency
layout
HTML tables
style sheets
< frames >
navigation
linking

GRAPHICS

      A nice technique to control the layout of your pages is the use of frames. A small web page divides the page into separate areas, in which other pages are loaded. You can address one frame with links in another. Comparable to the layout of this page. You can put the menu on the left side, and change the pages on the right. Some people have advised me to use frames for this site. I even tried it at my first attempt.
    Frames have as a plus you'll need to write as much HTML. You only make a menu just once. On the other pages you can almost entirely suffice with the contents. Considering the waste of bandwidth on the internet this is very welcome. The layout of your site is easier and more consistent. No wonder frames seem to be very popular amongst several web designers. Regretfully the debate does not end here.
    Possibly your have been surfing on the internet quite a while. You may have noticed frames are no longer applied on many newer sites. Frames were introduced as the next big thing in web design. As if it were one of the most important developments since the web came into being. Netscape completely redesigned its site using a lot of frames. Now you can hardly find any frames on their site. You won't find any frames here either.
    What's the reason for this? Frames do have a lot of important disadvantages. First not all browsers can render frames. You will have to make two sites, one with frames and one without them. Or even three if you are considering a text only version too for text oriented browsers. This means a lot of extra work. Some browsers seem to crash on frames. If this happens more than once on the same site, the visitor is likely to never return.
    Setting up navigation with frames may seem easy at first sight. But what do you do if you encounter a page that was intended to be a sub page of a frame set? You will have to include menu's on that page. At least a link to your home page and probably some links to related pages on the site. If you don't your page will be a dead end, a near mortal sin in web design.
    And what will happen if a link in a frame refers to a page containing other frames. You'll end up with frames in frames: ugly and confusing. Your browser treats every frame as a standard web page. It does not mind at all what the page contains. Escaping from a frame may be difficult or even impossible in several browsers. Lately Netscape added an option to the mouse menu to do just this.
    If the contents of a page don't fit into your browser window, it will add scroll bars. This also happens in frames. If your menu a bit longer than the frame, you will end up with ugly scroll bars inside your page. You can have them disappear with some HTML code, but then a part of your menu will be unreachable. You will have to make sure the menu is short enough to fit in a relatively small window.
    A framed web page will always load slower in your browser. A typical frame set is likely to be constructed with three or four panes. Thus loading four or five separate web pages. Resulting in more requests and more data traffic. Every pane will also flash from gray, to the background color, to the background image. Very annoying.
    For me this is reason enough to strongly discourage the use of frames. They have too many disadvantages. I'll gladly accept the overhead in the form of extra HTML code. Which will even not exist if you use the NOFRAMES tag. The number of pages will be be less, since you won't be needing the frame set pages. Should you want to apply frames on your site, keep in mind what I said earlier. You'll prevent a lot of annoyance to your visitors.
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