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To Frame Or Not To Frame

What are Web page frames and how are they used?
January 22, 2001

When creating your Web site, one question you may have to decide is whether or not to use frames. Not sure what they are? Frames are a form of HTML that affects the layout of a Web page. In a frame, certain portions of a Web page are "frozen" or held in place.

Technically speaking, with frames, a Web page can be broken into sections or boxed areas. The HTML code inserts other Web pages into these sections, some of which remain static and others that scroll and change as you click on links.

If you've ever seen navigational buttons that are locked in place, either on the top, bottom or on one of the sides of a Web page while the rest of the page scrolls, then chances are the page uses frames.

Frames can be invisible or visible. Visible frames are considered undesirable, especially from a design standpoint, because they look clunky. Frames show up when the content within a particular frame is too large so additional scroll bars appear to help you see all the content.

Ultimately, when used carefully and sparingly, frames can be helpful when used to lock your navigation into place. But remember to put emphasis on the "carefully" and "sparingly."

Aliza Sherman is an entrepreneur and author of Cybergrrl: A Woman's Guide to the World Wide Web (Ballantine Books). She is currently working on her next book and new company.