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Today, everybody has a Web site, so everybody wants to know MORE than basic HTML markup. MORE HTML For Dummies, 2nd Edition, picks up where HTML For Dummies®, 3rd Edition, left off by demystifying the Web authoring process and giving you the know-how you need to design, build, and publish your Web pages. You'll find out how to jazz up your Web site by adding frames, tables, animation, 3-D, enriched text formats, and other cool stuff! You no longer have to worry about boring Web pages -- this easy-to-use reference will help you build attractive, dynamic Web pages in no time!

Inside, find helpful advice on how to

  • Take advantage of advanced HTML markup and Web pages extensions to create an effective Web presence
  • Find out MORE about Web site management tools and techniques
  • Add animation, dynamic behavior, and 3-D worlds to your Web pages
  • Explore the benefits of browser plug-ins like Shockwave, VRML, Acrobat, and Java
  • Discover the dynamic capabilities of Web-based applications, such as chat rooms, search engines, database tools, and discussion forums
  • Find more do's and don'ts for Web publishing and maintenance
  • Build better Web sites with practical tips and shortcuts for page design and Web extensions
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781568849966
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/1/1996
  • Series: For Dummies Series
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 7.37 (w) x 9.17 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Table of Contents

About This Book
How to Use This Book
A Few Assumptions
How This Book Is Organized
Part I: Advanced HTML Markup
Part II: Beyond HTML: Extending Your Web
Part III: Cool Web Applications
Part IV: Serving Up Your Web
Part V: Running a Successful Web Site
Part VI: Shortcuts and Tips Galore
Icons Used in This Book
Where to Go from Here
Part I: Advanced HTML
Chapter 1: Understanding How HTML Happens
The "Official" Channel: IETF
The "Unofficial" Channel: W3C
How a Proposal Becomes a Standard
Proposed standard
Draft standard
A Brief Review of HTML Standards to the Present
HTML 0.0
HTML 1.0
HTML 2.0
HTML 3.0
HTML 3.2 (aka Wilbur)
The never-ending HTML standards story . . .
Pressure from the Marketplace
Netscape extensions
Internet Explorer extensions
Finding, Understanding, and Using HTML DTDs
The nature of an SGML document
About DTDs . . .
What does a DTD contain?
Where the DTDs live
Deciding Which Flavor of HTML to Use
The advantages of using valid HTML
The disadvantages of using valid HTML
New HTML Worth Watching
Style sheets
Mathematics notation
Applets, scripts, forms, and more
Chapter 2: HTML Tables in Depth
Table Hindsight
Laying out tabular data for easy display
Multirow and multicolumn
Tremendous Table Tags
The Awesome Attributes
<CAPTION> ... </CAPTION> Caption
<COL> ... </COL> Column (IE)
<COLGROUP> ... </COLGROUP> Column Group (IE)
<TABLE> ... </TABLE> Table
<TBODY> ... </TBODY> Table Body (IE)
<TD> ... </TD> Data Cell
<TFOOT> ... </TFOOT> Table Footer (IE)
<TH> ... </TH> Table Head
<THEAD> ... </THEAD> Table Header(IE)
<TR> ... </TR> Table Row
Attribute definitions
Some of the Good Stuff
Run for the borderline
Force the issue
A slick trick for the upper-left problem
Comment schmomment!
SPANning the gap
On Your Own
Chapter 3: HTML Frames in Full
Frame Hindsight
Fabulous Frame Tags
Introducing the attributes
<FRAME> Frame Definition
<FRAMESET> ... </FRAMESET> Frame Group
<NOFRAMES> ... </NOFRAMES> No Frames
<IFRAME> Inline Frame (IE)
Explaining frame attributes
<A>dditional Frame Markup
Complex Frame Creations
Some of the Good Stuff
Borderline, feels like I'm gonna lose my mind. . .
Request for comments!
Frame Scorn
Frame It Yourself
Chapter 4: Style Sheets in Detail
Understanding Style Sheets
Discovering the Syntax of Style Sheets
By the book: style rules
Color and background properties
Box properties
Classification properties
Font properties
Text properties
Linking to External Style Sheets
Embedded and Inline Style Specifications
Using Tags to Define Style
Setting a Good Example: Sample Style Sheets
The Alertbox
The Richmond Review
Finding More Style Sheet Information
Chapter 5: Of Applets, Scripts, and Other Extensions
Caffeinating Your Pages: The <APPLET> and <PARM> Tags
Applet attributes
Adding parameters to applets
About <EMBED>
<EMBED>'s default attributes
<EMBED>'s other attributes
General examples of <EMBED> tag markup
Specific examples of <EMBED> tag markup
An <EMBED> Replacement?
<OBJECT> . . . </OBJECT> Non-HTTP object
Getting Underneath <EMBED>
Chapter 6: Encouraging Interaction with HTML Forms
It's Just Not Enough: The Limitations of Forms
We Shall Overcome: Cougar Forms Markup
Rendering text areas read-only
Checking values without the server
Two buttons are not enough
Clicking in the general vicinity: hot labels
Getting there faster: keyboard shortcuts
Selective data acceptance
Disabling form controls
Forms and Scripting
Part II: Beyond HTML: Extending Your Web
Chapter 7: Extending and Improving the Web Experience
If Your Browser Can't See It, Is It Really There?
Beyond HTML . . .
Assisting the browser: helper applications
Hooking up with plugins
What's in Store for Your Web Pages?
The Hottest Plugins . . .
The Perils of Incompatibility
Designing for Extended Capability
Serving the Audience
Trends in Web Extension Technology
Chapter 8: Shocking Your Web Site
A Shockwave Overview
A few words from Macromedia Director
Doing the Lingo limbo
Shockwave's bright future
What you need to use Shockwave
Installing and Using Afterburner
Running Afterburner on a Macintosh
Installing Afterburner on a Macintosh
Running Afterburner for Windows
Installing Afterburner on Windows
Implementing Afterburner
Configuring a Web Server for Shockwave
Shockwave configuration for specific Web servers
Shockwave and MIME
Shockwave configuration for NSCA httpd
Shockwave configuration for tenants
Shockwave configuration for W3C httpd
Shockwave configuration for Quarterdeck's WebSTAR
Placing Shockwave Files on Your Server
Using Shockwave Materials
Do's and Don'ts for Designing Shockwave Materials
The Top Shockwave Resources
Chapter 9: Virtual Worlds with VRML
VRML's Brilliant History
And the winner was . . .
VRML and HTML: What's the difference?
So, what's VRML good for?
VRML's characteristics
Field types
Creating VRML Content
A virtual world in seven easy steps
Creation tools for your VRML world
Virtual Home Space Builder
Virtus Walkthrough Pro
Installing and Using VRML-Enabled Browsers
Stand-alone PC browsers
WorldView from InterVista
Helper applications for standard HTML browsers
VRwave for Windows
Configuring your browser for VRML
Configuring your Windows browser for VRML
Configuring a Macintosh browser for VRML
Configuring Your Web Server for VRML
Design Do's and Don'ts for VRML
The Top VRML Resources
Chapter 10: Java Still Jams!
A Java Overview
What makes Java different?
About those terms . . .
Architecture-neutral and portable
High performance
Java's history: from seedling to coffee bean
Java's learning curve
Java versus C++ -- the differences
Creating Java Content
About Java programming . . .
Say "Hello World": creating a Java program
Finding and Using Java-Enabled Browsers
Referencing Java Materials in Your Web Pages
Java Design Do's and Don'ts
Top Java Resources
Java's Future
Chapter 11: Scripting Alternatives
The Mechanics of Scripting
Programming with JavaScript
Differences between Java and JavaScript
JavaScript syntax and semantics
JavaScript resources
Programming with VBScript
Dynamic HTML
The skinny on DH
Benefits of Dynamic HTML
The big boys
To Script, or Not to Script?
Part III: Cool Web Applications
Chapter 12: Using Your Own Search Engine
What Is a Search Engine?
What Makes 'Em Tick?
Two Ways to Use Search Engines
Internet-wide search capability
Site-specific search capabilities
The Search Contenders
Chapter 13: Cussin' and Discussin' on the Web
An Intro to Forums
One Lump or Two?
Stand-alone versus integrated servers
Database: custom or current?
With or without whipped cream?
For your eyes only?
Playing God
Additional genetic traits
The Contenders
Chapter 14: When Push Comes to Shove
Push 101
Pondering Push
Push Prerogatives
HTML or proprietary?
Hot list or real content?
Browser or helper application?
Push Principles
Push in the Private Sector
Push Particulars
A Plethora of Push Products
The cheap ones
Take out a loan
Part IV: Serving Up Your Web
Chapter 15: Inviting the World onto Your Web
It's Show Time!
Stay Focused on Your Purpose
Keep Your Site in Charge
Publish, or Perish the Thought
It's good for business . . .
. . . and it's good for pleasure
Back to the content
Dealing and Wheeling: Hooking Up with an Internet Service Provider
Where to draw the line?
What to work out with your provider
What else you need to find out
What ISPs are going to ask you
Webbing It Yourself: What Does That Mean?
Understand the tariffs
UNIX or no UNIX?
Try though you might, you can't escape maintenance
Are You Ready for Success?
The Answer to the Ultimate Question
Chapter 16: If You Build It, WIll They Come?
Announcing Your Web Site to the World
Write a semi-formal announcement
Where to direct your announcement
Trolling the Usenet newsgroups
Niche or industry publications
The old-fashioned kind of networking
Stay on the Safe Side of Acceptable Use Policies
Giving Value Means Getting Value
Making Sure Your Web Catches the Right Prey
Chapter 17: The More Things Change . . .
The Two-Dimensional Text Trap
Who Says This Stuff Is Stale?
Check in on your pages regularly, Doctor Web
Keep your content current
Do your links point to nowhere?
Is your HTML passé?
If You Ask Them, They'll Tell You
Keeping Up with Changes
Maintenance Is an Attitude, and a Way of Life
When Things Change, They Also Break
Part V: Running a Successful Web Site
Chapter 18: What's Really in Your Web Site?
Know Your Web Server Administrator
Web Server Computer Platforms
Windows NT
Web Server Software
Apache, NCSA, and the rest
Windows NT
How Your Web Site Fits into the Whole Internet
Inventory Web Server Resources
Take Stock of Your Web Site
Lotsa docs (it's not a medical convention)
Graphics galore
The supporting cast of applications . . .
Marvelous miscellany
"Organized Web Site" Is Not an Oxymoron
Where does your site live?
Picture your directory/file structure as a tree
You can't tell the territory without a map
Understanding all the pieces and parts
Using remote hyperlinks
What's the code situation like?
Any image maps in the picture?
Strategic Planning for Your Web Site
Chapter 19: Web Server Administration -- the Easy Way
Web Server Hosting Options
Web server hosting services
Your friendly neighborhood ISP
Your organization's LAN
How the Web Server Fits into the Internet
The hardware: computer and telephone equipment
Web server software and (briefly) how it works
The Savvy Webmaster's Management Techniques
Laying out your Web space
Designing and handling the file system
Working with log files
Administration and monitoring tools
For More about Your Web Options . . .
Weighing Costs Against Other Considerations
What's your bottom line?
Home-grown versus store-bought Web sites
Chapter 20: Managing the Web Publication Process
What Should Be Hanging in Your Web?
Planning for Now and the Future
Planning for Regular Updates
Designing Documents for Multiple Uses
Working with Creation and Production Staff
Enlisting staff support and assistance
Integrating the Web into the overall process
Conversion Is a Real Time-Saver
Doing conversion manually
The power (and limitations) of automated conversion
Seeking tools
HTML Transit
Web Publisher
What should you remember about HTML converters?
Dejà Vu -- Elements of Page and Site Design
Give all pages a title
Make the most of text and hypertext links
Use graphics for maximum effect
Think in 24-D
Stringing pages together, the book way
Hierarchies are natural
Multiple tracks for multiple audiences
Extending your Web, a comment at a time
Chapter 21: Web Site Management Tools and Techniques
Managing Multitudes of Documents
How big is your Web?
Organize to untangle your Web
Document management systems
Examining the Alternatives
Web site managers
Let someone else manage your Web
Cool Management Tools
Doctor HTML
The WebTechs HTML Validation Service
Acquiring the Perfect Tool Set
Web site usage tools and services
Log file analysis tools
Your Web Management Routine
The principles of Web site maintenance
Creating your Web management plan
The virtues of regular attention
Web administration is a part/full-time job
Chapter 22: Making Your Content Accessible
Of Spiders, Robots, Worms, and Other Agents
The past and future of Web agents
Agents in search engines and other WWW environments
Building search boundaries
What works globally also sometimes works locally
The Best of 'bots
Robot exclusion
They're baaaack!!
Just the Facts Ma'am: Meta-Information
Here I Am: Registering with Search Engines
Secret Agent Man
Part VI: Shortcuts and Tips Galore
Chapter 23: Maintenance Tips and Tricks
Routine Is Everything
Remembering the content
Keeping track of dates
Updating your HTML
The Beauty of a Test Web
Overcoming Inertia Takes Constant Vigilance
Chapter 24: Advanced HTML Tips and Shortcuts
Don't Forget the Other Guys
Multiple Means of Delivery
Let the Users Choose
<TABLE> Alternatives
<FRAME> Alternatives
Knowing When to Split
Managing Miscellany
Adding Value for Value
Chapter 25: Extenuating Extensions
Warning! Plug In Now!
Shelling into Shockwave
Visualizing the Virtual with VRML
Jumping into Java
Effective Augmentation
IDG Books Worldwide Registration Card
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First Chapter

Chapter 3

HTML Frames in Full

In This Chapter

  • Reviewing the basics
  • Understanding all the frame tags and attributes
  • Discovering the tips and tricks of frame construction
  • Experimenting on your own

In Chapter 10 of HTML For Dummies (3rd Edition), we introduce the concepts and construction of HTML frames. If you're new to frames, please visit that chapter and get yourself up to speed. If you already understand frames in a general way, this chapter introduces some of their more interesting aspects.

Frames offer a flexible way to create and manipulate Web sites. What are frames you may ask? Frames are independent regions on a Web page displayed in a single browser window, where each area is independently controlled and presents a separate HTML document. But even with such a great definition, picturing the concept may be difficult; therefore, please check out one of these Web sites:

Both sites are constructed using frames, and both present content about frames (could that be why they are such good examples?).

Frames are not part of any of the current, official HTML standards; in other words, frames are proprietary constructions that major browser vendors maintain without present support from the standards commissions. However, the Cougar specification includes a complete definition of frame-related markup and syntax, and both of the major Web browsers (that is, Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer) already support them. All your visitors may not be properly equipped to view them with their browsers, though, so introduce any framed content through an unframed warning page that gives users notice that strange views may lie ahead.

On the bright side, frames can be quite useful. With frames you can:

  • Create a static area in your page layout that always displays navigation controls, a company logo, or other important information.
  • Create hyperlinked tables of contents, menus, or outlines that will always be on hand.
  • Use one frame to collect data from users and another to display results.

One of the coolest things about frames is that the framed areas you create can contain any HTML markup, including other frames! We could go on and on about the uses of frames, but we won't. Instead, we get right into the thick of things!

Frame Hindsight

Just in case you don't have HTML For Dummies, 3rd Edition, or just don't remember Chapter 10 from that book, here's a quick refresher course. You can create frames using three basic tags:

  • <FRAME> is the frame definition tag. This singleton tag defines the attributes of a single frame.
  • <FRAMESET> is the frame group tag. This tag pair surrounds all other frame markup.
  • <NOFRAMES> is the frame alternative tag. This tag pair surrounds markup to be displayed or used if a browser does not support frames.

But, just knowing these tags won't get you anywhere without a bit more explanation about their proper usage:

  • The <FRAMESET> tag pair is used instead of the <BODY> tags in the frame setup document.
  • Always close <FRAMESET> tags.
  • The <FRAMESET> attribute that defines the number of frames can be either ROWS or COLS, but never both in the same tag.
  • <FRAMESET> tags can be nested or used in a series to combine row and column-oriented frame areas.
  • Always name every individual frame, using the NAME attribute of the <FRAME> tag.

Now, with all that out of the way, here is an example of what a two-paneled frame construction (as shown in Figure 3-1) looks like using the ROWS attribute:

<TITLE>Two Frame ROWS Example</TITLE>
<FRAMESET ROWS="150, *">
<FRAME SRC="top.htm" NAME="Top Frame">
<FRAME SRC="bottom.htm" NAME="Bottom Frame">
Sorry, your browser is not able to display frames.
Therefore you cannot access this site.<P>
Here is an example of what a two-paneled frame construction (shown in Figure 3-2) looks like using the COLS attribute:
<TITLE>Two Frame COLS Example</TITLE>
<FRAMESET COLS="150, *">
<FRAME SRC="left.htm" NAME="Left Frame">
<FRAME SRC="right.htm" NAME="Right Frame">
Sorry, your browser is not able to display frames.
Therefore you cannot access this site.<P>
The top.htm, bottom.htm, left.htm, and right.htm documents, plus the others we use in this chapter, are all simple documents, such as:
<TITLE>Two Frame ROWS Example</TITLE>
<H2>Top Frame</H2><P>
Notice a few important construction elements:
  • Spaces are used to offset the various levels of markup.
  • Each element appears on a separate line.
  • Each markup tag is matched with its closing tag either on the same line or at the same indention level.
  • Every frame panel created must have a corresponding <FRAME> tag which points to a document or object to load into that frame.
  • The <FRAMESET> tag set is used in place of the standard <BODY> tag set.
  • A <NOFRAMES> tag set is included for browsers that lack frame support.

If you follow our lead and create your frames in an organized fashion, you'll find troubleshooting and alteration to be much easier. Before we get to the advanced stuff, we take a closer look at all the frame markup.

When you link to a page that is not on your site, be sure to target the blank or top page, just in case the outside page is formatted into frames. If you don't, then you get the frames in frames in frames look, which can be very confusing.

Fabulous Frame Tags

You are already familiar with the three common frame tags: <FRAME>, <FRAMESET>, and <NOFRAMES>. But you may not know about the <IFRAME> tag from Microsoft. <IFRAME> stands for inline floating frame. This markup is used with Microsoft Internet Explorer to create frames that are not attached to the edges of the browser or any other frames. Like all good tags, all four have lots of attributes. In the next section, we list all the attributes we could find for each tag, and we tell you what each attribute does.

Introducing the attributes

This list of attributes is long and intricate. To make reading this list a little easier, we use a convention to discuss these items. First, we list each tag and all its possible attributes. In parentheses, we also specify which browser understands these tags and attributes. We use N for Netscape Navigator and an IE for Microsoft Internet Explorer. In some cases, the same attribute takes different values, depending on the browser involved.

<FRAME> Frame Definition

HEIGHT="value" (IE)
(IE, N)
TITLE="string" (IE)
WIDTH="string" (IE)>

<FRAMESET> ... </FRAMESET> Frame Group

BORDER="value" (IE, N)
COLS="ColumnWidthList" (IE, N)
ROWS="RowHeightList" (IE, N)
TITLE="string" (IE)>

<NOFRAMES> ... </NOFRAMES> No Frames

TITLE="string" (IE)>

<IFRAME> Inline Frame (IE)


Explaining frame attributes

You can find more attributes here than you can shake a stick at (so don't try -- you'll strain your back). Be sure to pay attention to the associated tags and browsers in the curly brackets for each attribute and each value; these bracketed items define what's legal for that attribute and where such attributes may appear (see the sidebar entitled "Silly Syntax" in Chapter 2 for more discussion of this subject).

  • ALIGN= defines an element's alignment {<IFRAME> (IE)}.
    • "ABSBOTTOM" forces absolute bottom alignment.
    • "ABSMIDDLE" forces absolute middle alignment.
    • "BASELINE" forces baseline alignment.
    • "BOTTOM" forces bottom alignment.
    • "LEFT" aligns left.
    • "MIDDLE" forces middle alignment.
    • "RIGHT" aligns right.
    • "TEXTTOP" forces top of text alignment.
    • "TOP" forces top alignment.
  • BORDER="value"defines the space between frames in pixels {<IFRAME> (IE), <FRAMESET> (IE, N)}.
  • BORDERCOLOR="color" defines the color of the frame border; the color can be a color name or an #RRGGBB hex value {<FRAME> (IE, N), <FRAMESET> (IE, N), <IFRAME> (IE)}.
  • COLS="ColumnWidthList" defines the number of frame columns and their widths. Widths are specified by pixels, percentage (%), or relative size (*) separated by commas {<FRAMESET> (IE, N)}.
  • FRAMEBORDER= renders a 3-D edge border around the frame.
    • "1"|"0" sets frame border display on ("1") or off ("0") {<FRAME> (IE), <FRAMESET> (IE), <IFRAME> (IE)}.
    • "YES"|"NO" sets frame border display on ("YES") or off ("NO") {<FRAME> (N), <FRAMESET> (N)}.
  • FRAMESPACING="value" defines additional space between frames in pixels {<IFRAME> (IE), <FRAMESET> (IE)}.
  • HEIGHT="value" defines the height of a frame in pixels {<IFRAME> (IE), <FRAME> (IE)}.
  • HSPACE="value" defines the horizontal margin space between a frame border and its contents {<IFRAME> (IE)}.
  • MARGINHEIGHT="value" defines the height of the frame margin between the border and its contents {<FRAME> (IE, N), <IFRAME> (IE)}.
  • MARGINWIDTH="value" defines the width of the frame margin between the border and its contents {<FRAME> (IE, N), <IFRAME> (IE)}.
  • NAME= defines the name of the frame {<FRAME> (IE, N), <IFRAME> (IE)}.
    • "name" is a custom name.
    • "_blank" loads the link into a new unnamed window.
    • "_parent" loads the link over the parent -- if no parent exists, this value refers to _self.
    • "_self" replaces the current page with the link.
    • "_top" loads the link at the topmost frame level.
  • NORESIZE defines the frame as static; the viewer cannot resize the area {<FRAME> (N)}.
    • ="NORESIZE" defines the frame as static {<IFRAME> (IE), <FRAME> (IE)}.
    • ="RESIZE" defines the frame as resizable {<IFRAME> (IE), <FRAME> (IE)}.
  • ROWS="RowHeightList" defines the number of frame rows and their heights. Heights are specified by pixels, percentage (%), or relative size (*) separated by commas {<FRAMESET> (IE, N)}.
  • SCROLLING= defines the scrolling ability of the frame area {<IFRAME> (IE), <FRAME> (IE, N)}.
    • "AUTO" means that scrolling ability is determined by size of content.
    • "NO" means that the frame area is never scrollable.
    • "YES" means that the frame area is always scrollable.
  • SRC="URL" defines the resource to be loaded in the target frame {<FRAME> (IE, N), <IFRAME> (IE).
  • STYLE="string" specifies the inline style sheet to be used {<IFRAME> (IE), <NOFRAMES> (IE)}.
  • TITLE="string" defines a title that often appears as a tool tip {<IFRAME> (IE), <NOFRAMES> (IE), <FRAMESET> (IE), <FRAME> (IE)}.
  • VSPACE="value" defines the vertical margin space between a frame border and its contents {<IFRAME> (IE)}.
  • WIDTH="string" defines the width of a frame in pixels {<IFRAME> (IE), <FRAME> (IE)}.

<A>dditional Frame Markup

When you use frames, you have to use more than just the four frame-specific markup tags to make things work. You must also use the anchor tag (<A>) with a special attribute named TARGET. Here's an example:

<A TARGET="Right Frame" HREF="sometext.htm">Click Here</A>

This type of hyperlink using the TARGET attribute allows you to create buttons or navigation controls in one frame and squirt the results of that link into a differently named framed area. (The technical term "squirt" is derived from the Latin esquirtoe, meaning "to inject, to redirect, to change destination.") By using this fabulous method to direct the destination of hyperlinks to other framed areas, you can establish standard navigation controls that remain visible at all times.

Complex Frame Creations

At first glance, creating and using frames seems simple, and, on a basic level, it is. But as the number of frames and the complexity of the layout of those frames increases, the effort involved in managing multiple HTML frames becomes mind-numbing. Now that you know the basics of frame creation, here's some of the hard stuff.

Creating a two- or even three-paneled framed page set is easy, as we demonstrate in the following code and in Figure 3-3 (Note: we left out the <NOFRAMES> section to save space):

<TITLE>Three Frame ROWS Example</TITLE>
<FRAMESET ROWS="100, 100, *">
<FRAME SRC="top.htm" NAME="top">
<FRAME SRC="middle.htm" NAME="middle">
<FRAME SRC="bottom.htm" NAME="bottom">
But the same effect can be created using a different method. Pay attention to the double <FRAMESET> tags:
<TITLE>Three Frame ROWS Example</TITLE>
<FRAMESET ROWS="200, *">
<FRAME SRC="top.htm" NAME="top">
<FRAME SRC="middle.htm" NAME="middle">
<FRAME SRC="bottom.htm" NAME="bottom">
In this last example, the resulting image, shown in Figure 3-4, looks no different from the one shown in Figure 3-3. But it does show one important feature of HTML frames -- you can substitute a complete <FRAMESET> tag pair for a single row or column frame area.
In the last example, <FRAMESET ROWS="200, *"> defines two frame rows. The definition of the first row (the 200 pixel row) is another <FRAMESET>, namely <FRAMESET ROWS="100,*">, which in turn creates two more frame rows, where each one is defined by a <FRAME> tag, first the top row, and then the middle row. After closing the <FRAMESET>; that defines the frame row area for the first <FRAMESET>, the second row created by the first <FRAMESET>; is defined by its own <FRAME>; tag. If you didn't understand this paragraph the first time through, please read it again.
This simple approach lets HTML authors like you create multiple levels of ROWS- and COLS-defined frames within the same document, instead of requiring a separate file for each new frame designation. Here's another example (shown in Figure 3-5):
<TITLE>Another Three Frame Example</TITLE>
<FRAMESET ROWS="200, *">
<FRAME SRC="left.htm" NAME="left">
<FRAME SRC="right.htm" NAME="right">
<FRAME SRC="bottom.htm" NAME="bottom">
As you can see, this design is more compact and elegant than the following, equally legal, alternative:

<TITLE>A Two Frame Example</TITLE>
<FRAMESET ROWS="200, *">
<FRAME SRC="lnr.htm" NAME="top">
<FRAME SRC="bottom.htm" NAME="bottom">
To make this code work, write the following HTML code to a separate file named lnr.htm (it provides the definition of the first frame element from the preceding block of HTML code):
<TITLE>A sub-two Frame Example</TITLE>
<FRAME SRC="left.htm" NAME="left">
<FRAME SRC="right.htm" NAME="right">
If you use these files in conjunction, you get the results shown in Figure 3-5. Because both methods work, use whichever one you like best. To alternate between subframed sections and non-framed sections, the second method lets you target the top portion to replace left and right documents with a single document. But if your divisions are static, the first method may work better. Suit yourself!
By now, the idea should be clear that if you use a multifile method to establish framed areas within framed areas, you can create an infinitely recursive frame construct by linking a file back to itself. If you can stomach this idea, put it out of your head immediately. The concept may be a great theoretical or philosophical notion, but will eventually cause any browser that views it to crash. If you don't believe us, visit the Crash Site, where this recursive frame idea is put to use just to show its darker side:
Another idea that you may find more useful is to combine the effects of ROWS defined framed areas and COLS defined framed areas, you must use multiple <FRAMESET>tag sets. You can either build a single master frame definition document, or multiple subframe definition documents to realize this concept. We recommend using whatever method makes the most sense to you. Because you are responsible for keeping things working, you must be comfortable with your design approach.

Some of the Good Stuff

For a few tips from the pros (that's right, we rub elbows with the best), take a look at these little gems:

Borderline, feels like I'm gonna lose my mind . . .

A standard take on frames (as shown in Figures 3-1 and 3-2) displays an ugly 3-D border between the framed areas. This display looks horrid. Instead, we prefer to hide our frame edges so the display is smoother, better integrated, and less segmented in appearance. When we create framed Web pages, we tend to turn off their borders (as shown in Figure 3-6). Here's an example that shows how:

<TITLE>No Border Frame Example</TITLE>
<FRAME SRC="header.htm" NAME="header">
<FRAME SRC="nav.htm" NAME="nav">
<FRAME SRC="body.htm" NAME="body">
<FRAME SRC="message.htm" NAME="message">
As you can see, we used BORDER="0", FRAMEBORDER="0", and FRAMESPACING="0" in the <FRAMESET> tag to force no borders for Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer viewers. If you like the look of borderless frames, feel free to use this approach.

Request for comments!

After you get the hang of creating complex framed sites, be sure to include comments within your markup to document your design. Should you return to edit that site again in six months, you will be able to understand and appreciate your own work. Commenting HTML is a good idea for any complex or intricate markup, but frames need comments in particular.

Good things to document in comments include:

  • Color schemes
  • The contents of each framed area or each area's purpose
  • Cascading frames (frames within frames)
  • Work-arounds or compromises you made to realize your design
  • Tasks for future sessions to help you (or your successor, should you move on to greener pastures) determine what remains to be implemented

Anything strange, difficult, or hard-to-code the first time around will be just as difficult to decipher and edit later -- unless you include comments. So, get into gear and comment away!

Frame Scorn

Not everyone views frames benignly. Many netizens strive to remove frames from the Internet and attempt to erase their past from the history books (not unlike the Columbus reformists). We think that these radical revisionists may have a valid point, but we still use frames anyway. Just be aware that not everybody loves frames (just like not everybody loves broccoli).

A long and distinguished list of frame haters is available at Yahoo! if you use "humor frames" as your search string. Visit them all if you like, but here are the three sites that seem to be the best nonpareils of antiframe bigotry on the Web:

  • The Frame Haters Union

  • Why Frames Suck

  • Frames Free Campaign

Frame It Yourself

The only way to master frames is to create them, not simply read about them. You must take enough time to experiment with frame markup and build several of your own framed sites. As long as your audience can appreciate your work -- by using the right browser -- frames offer terrific capability to control site behavior and layout.

Another good way to learn more about frames is to look at other people's work. Here's a repeat of the Web sites with good frame examples from HTML For Dummies. These sites are the place to start when you want to find out about frames by following other peoples' examples:

  • Netscape's Devedge Online HTML Specification:

  • Wired News:

  • THE Netscape Frames Tutorial by NewbieNET International

  • Dylan Green's Windows 95 Starting Pages:

Now that you know something about the <FRAME> tag, you must master it so you can flaunt your knowledge and newfound skills. The eternal question "To frame, or not to frame" may never get a real answer, but until the World Wide Web Consortium makes frames standard, you may want to steer clear of them anyway. But that's not our opinion -- we think they're great, especially for tutorials and other educational materials. But for now, let's move onward through the fog to style sheets, wherein you discover how to govern your HTML documents using remote control.

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