Re: Frames & WWW

Chris Lilley, Computer Graphics Unit (
Fri, 11 Nov 1994 12:36:53 +0100

Mikhail Popov suggested adding Frames to HTML:

> a. possibility to reload part of the page, not next document

Fine, but this means that each frame must be stored in a separate file so the
server can send it (hard on document authors) or that the server chops out the
requested frame on demand (hard on server compute time).

The overhead on getting a whole text page is not that great unless the page is
many many screenfuls long, in which case it would be better to split it up into
a series of documents anyway.

If the graphics on part of a page are going to change at frequent intervals
(like, every 10 minutes) put a short expiry on them so they are re-fetched by
the client on re-retrieving the document, rather than being fetched from the
clients cache.

Clients do check expiry on their internal caches, don't they ;-)

> b. possibility to make-up page and browse it as-is
> o mixed fonts families

Adding just Frames to HTML would not give you multiple fonts. If you are trying
to have different fonts for, say, headings and paragraphs, that can be done
already. For example, I have X resources set so that Mosaic and Netscape use
Helvetica Bold for all headings and New Century for all body text, same as our
in-house printed documents.

If by mixed font families (reading between the lines of your email address) you
mean actually mean mixed character sets (this paragraph in a western european
font, this paragraph in a cyrillic font) then this is better done explicitly
with charsets and lang attributes; I would refer you to the archives for
previous discussion on this.

If by mixed fonts you mean different combinations of fonts in different columns,
like some magazines, that is best done by stylesheets. I woulds also not that,
as has been said before, carrying over print media conventions (multi columns,
continued on page 88 column 3, etc) to online media is a mistake. Print media
have limitations with the size of a printed page, which is typically too wide to
have the text all in one column. This is not a problem with online media.

> o fixed geometry
> o e.t.c.
> c. possibility to have complex forms + heavy graphics

I think HTML 3 tables solve precisely what you are referring to for this one.
They have the advantage over Frames of prior implementatioin and are resizable
for different browser widths. If you have not already done so, and if you have
access to a Unix machine, check out Arena from w3 org.