[whatwg] framesets

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Tue Oct 13 03:11:21 PDT 2009

On Mon, 12 Oct 2009, Peter Brawley wrote:
> > >
> > > I quoted Andrew Fedoniouk
> > > (http://lists.whatwg.org/htdig.cgi/whatwg-whatwg.org/2007-March/010186.html), 
> > > "There are use cases when frames are good. As an example: online (and
> > > offline) help systems ... In such cases they provide level of usability
> > > higher than any other method of presenting content of such type."
> > >
> > > I've not seen a counterexample. Have you?
> >
> > I believe Andrew's statement to be incorrect.
> If your belief is correct, there must be sites which accomplish this 
> spec with tables + iframes (for example). No contributor has managed to 
> point to them.

I don't know if there are pages that do this (and I sure hope none are 
using <table> for it!), but the lack of an existence proof is not proof of 
the lack of existence.

However, in the interests of moving this on, I made an example here in 
about ten minutes:


It doesn't do the resizing, and I didn't test it in IE so it probably 
needs some hacks to work around some bugs there, but it works fine for me 
in Safari. Resizing in a single page in general is a solved problem, you 
can probably slap a little JS on there and it would be supported too. (It 
should be easier to do, mind you; that's a CSS problem though, and affects 
more than just frames.)

> > search engines can't index into them (search is a critical part of help
> > systems), pages in them can't easily be bookmarked
> A DB row is a tree node and it must be possible to block bookmarking of such
> rows.

Framesets don't block bookmarking of such rows. They just make it harder. 
(A user can always right-click a frame and get the URL to bookmark it.)

AJAX can block bookmarking of such rows, though.

On Mon, 12 Oct 2009, Peter Brawley wrote:
> There are good database reasons to block bookmarks to table rows, so 
> that must be doable.

That's fair enough, but framesets don't provide that possibility. They 
only make bookmarking significantly harder; they don't make it impossible. 
Indeed there have been a number of browsers over the years who have 
implemented various hacks whereby the user can bookmark the entire state 
of a frameset. The usability of such hacks has been poor, but the point is 
that if the requirement is that bookmarking not work, frames don't 
actually fulfill that need.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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