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Frames, Too

Thursday,  03/06/03  11:16 PM

Yeah, this site uses frames, as described previously.  And yeah, they aren't perfect.  But I recently made them a little better.

I made two slight changes, both of which will help visitors who have limited screen real estate:

  1. Added the ability to "close" the header.
  2. Added the ability to resize the navigation bar.

My computer monitor runs at 1600 x 1200 pixels and I use "normal" fonts, so I have a ton of real estate.  (And I like it that way :)  But some people run at 1024 x 768 or even 800 x 600, and for them room on the screen is at a premium.

In order to close the header, I added a little "close box" in the upper right corner.  When clicked, it causes the frameset to reload itself without the header (just the main frame and the navigation bar).  This frees up all that room for people who don't have enough.  If you're interested please try clicking it; you can use the "back" button to restore the header.

I also made the border between the main window and the navigation bar resizable.  This means it can be dragged left or right to make the navigation bar bigger or smaller.  For people who have little real estate, they may wish to drag it to the right, obscuring part [or all!] of the navigation bar, but making more room for the main frame.  Conversly, people who use larger than normal fonts can drag the frame border to the left, so the entire navigation bar becomes visible.  If you're interested please try it; you can drag the border just at the left edge of the blue regions in the navigation bar.  To restore the original layout, just "refresh" the page.

Neither of these changes make anything worse - you may freely ignore the close box and choose never to resize the navigation bar.  These are minor enhancements which will only be useful to a small number of visitors, but hey, I want you guys to be happy!

[ Later - People have asked, what do I test with:

  • Windows - IE 5.5 and 6.0, Mozilla 1.2, Opera 7.0.  This is the order of popularity with visitors to Critical Section, by the way.
  • Mac - IE 5.2, Mozilla 1.2, Safari 1.0 beta.  This is the order of popularity.
  • Linux - Mozilla 1.2.

This illustrates a benefit of frames over CSS - they've been around so long, browsers pretty much implement them the same way.  Even venerable Netscape 4.7 supports them. ]

[ Even later - I decided to serve a special home page to robots, please see Site Optimization... ]