Use of FRAMES : LUSENET : Fiction 98 Help Desk - Site Related Questions : One Thread

Bob, While I understand that technology is a wonderful thing (it allows these wonderful courses!) I think you are going down the wrong path in using JAVA, JAVAScript, or requiring a FRAMES capable browser to access these courses.

The information you impart, the assignments, the comments, the feedback and so on are all TEXT information. As I've said before, while cool, neat, and all that, the various implementations of JAVA are not ready for mass consumption.

Requiring frames is in the same vein. They do nothing to enhance the dissemination of the information you are trying to do. Using frames is ok, but non-FRAME browsers abound out there and excluding them excludes many writers. The solution is to have a non-frame version.

In practice, the information would always be non-FRAME and your browser detector would just easily reformat (automatically) for browsers that are FRAME capable.

Peace, Caryn Roberts

-- Caryn Roberts (Dream Team) (, February 16, 1998


We stopped using frames for the classes Sunday. The other parts of the site, t-zero and Writers Village will be switched over soon. The only site that will remain in frames is the bookstore. All Java has been eliminated except for the chat rooms. More students have access to Java than IRC, and we have been having pretty good luck with it for the last year. I agree that IRC is much better, but I have to go with what can be accessed by the most students; there is no perfect solution yet. If you are still seeing frames in the classes, then you may need to come in through the front door and re bookmark. The goals now, partly influenced by your suggestions in the past, are to simplify and speed up the site. I agree with you about the uslessness of the razzle dazzle. I guess it's a phase we all have to go through with our first designs. Java is improving, in fact, I've been taking web design classes at the university and learning more about Java, javascript, cgi etc. Of course, by the time I get it figured out, something new will come along and make it obsolete. :-)

Thanks for you comments, Caryn. Every little bit helps. Best regards, Bob

-- Bob Hembree (, February 17, 1998.

On 2/16/98 8:58 PM, said:


OK, I went in thru that address and it appears to work with no FRAMES. It is very slow.

But in the fiction 401 section ( the link for registering for 401 ( takes one to the registration for fiction 98.

I applaud your effort and the good work you are doing.

Peace, Caryn Roberts

-- Caryn Roberts (Dream Team) (, February 17, 1998.

Thanks for letting me know about the mixed link; it's been repaired.

I'm no sure if the slow loading is Communitech's server or the way I'm using color chips in the design. The pages are pretty straight-forward: html with tables for layout control. Because some browsers, like MSEI before 4.0 and others don't recognize colors within tables like Netscape does, I've created color chips to act as background colors in individual cells. At first, I made some very small images -- the graphics for the whole site was only seven 5x5 pixel gifs (actually - 3 were jpgs). Thinking that once the initial graphics loaded, visiting browsers would quickly load and cache them. It would seem that after the first page loaded, the rest would fly. I have a 486 100 mhz, and it works very quick on my machine, but I have had at least two people report that the pages were slow to load. I have had many more tell me that they found the pages much faster than before. So I thought it might be a Mac thing ... my logs show that you're a Mac user, so this is good because I don't know anyone else who owns a Mac. I'm doing an experiment -- I have just enlarged the 4 gif color chips to 100x100 pixels and the 3 jpg color chips to 20x100 (black,red and white). They are all low resolution graphics of about 1kb each -- the total site's graphics (Fiction 401 and 98) is about the same size as one link exchange banner. My thinking here is that the 5x5 pixels may have caused a longer loading time because they had to repeat themselves so many times to fill the background and the effort became counter-productive. If this is the case, then I need to know where the line between productive and counter productive is. Any advice from someone in the know would be greatly appreciated. Keep in mind that I prefer to use the color chip system so I can make quick design changes from time to time by simply modifying a gif or jpg and not having to edit each page of the site.

-- Bob Hembree (, February 17, 1998.

On 2/17/98 7:25 AM, ( said:

: Thanks for letting me know about the mixed link; it's been repaired.

I've got another one. On any of the study group pages the link at the top, Fiction 401 Study groups, (, is broken. The "stu" should be "Stu" as browsers are case sensitive. The links can be fixed, or an alias directory named "stu" can be created on your server that points to the "Stu" directory.

Well, I use multiple browsers and it was slow in all of them. I am primarily on a Mac, but use Windows machines, too, to test out my own web page designs. But, you're right, it was the way the browsers handle the color.

However, I just visited them again and they are much faster since you made the change stated above. Congratulations on a job well done.

Never trust cache to improve speed. Caching is a user controllable item, and some people turn off caching. I do. Also, if a page is slow to load I tend to disable the designer's choice of background, fonts, images, and so on. If we all had T1 or faster connections, then I would say, go wild. But most (75%) home users are using 14.4 or slower, older/slower machines, and smaller (14 inch) monitors. Most users are not technically savvy enough to appreciate all the fancy design work, unless it makes things simple and fast.

Peace, Caryn Roberts

-- Caryn Roberts (Dream Team) (, February 17, 1998.

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