html frames
Nik Roberts
Nik Roberts
17th May 2018

Feeling nostalgic for frames

I saw a website today that still uses frames to display its content. Anyone remember frames? These were used in the early days of the web to provide layout to pages. They were amazing.

1997 was the year I left Sheffield University with a 2:1 in Philosophy. They were happier, simpler times. They were times of thoughtfulness, joyful creation, and no global warming. They were times when web pages with frames looked like this:


Freedom for the masses

Seeing the site at [redacted to save embarrassment] made me nostalgic for that simpler life. A life before spam, cyberbullying, and PPC.

But was it really that great? I thought about the amazing advances that have been made in online publishing since those early days of the web. Not just in how we build pages, but in who can build them and what we can do with them. We can now get online in an instant and every day we can learn something new about cats important historical events. We can talk to people 25,000 miles away for free, visit Mars virtually, and turn the lights up whilst we have raw chicken on our hands (Siri).

We're no longer bound by the tyranny of frames. We're educated, enlightened, unleashed!

"Until this is done, the masses shall always cry out of ignorance, not knowing the real power within them and beg at the feet of the few people for how they should live their lives!" - Ernest Agyemang Yeboah

Ernest was right, and the masses are now free - well, free to install Wordpress anyway. With easy access to online publishing tools like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Google+ there are more 15 minutes of fame available than ever before. Social media is a truly empowering force. Even if it is all owned by one evil megacorp. Our silent voices are now free to share, to educate, and to rant at Donald Trump on Twitter.


Freedom for the classes

And online designers are free too. No more do they have to suffer restrictive layouts, tame web coding standards, and unhelpful web browsers (I'm looking at you IE 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11). Web design teams are now limited only by imagination and good UX. Flexible grids, "broken" grids, curves, diagonals, SVGs, transitions and animations give web design team some of the tools that traditional print publishers have used for years. And beautiful, beautiful typography.





Backwards is good, but forwards is better

At Versantus we have hundreds of years of web development history behind us. We've fought the battles with frames and come out the other side - weary and cynical, sometimes a little vague and shell-shocked. But we made it through, and although we occasionally look back mistily, we're mostly thinking about the future.

We're no longer limited to Netscape Navigator and basic HTML. Our growing team brings new people and ideas, new clients and new opportunities. We're thinking about less back-end and more front-end websites with Angular, React, Express, adding awesome-sauce animation and user interactions, flexible and powerful layouts that respond in innovative ways to users, content, devices, locations, voice user interfaces (who needs a mouse?), Augmented Reality, IoT devices, and always-connected humans.

The future is bright, the future is now.


Are you in the future yet?

The code for our frameset above looks like this. Pretty slick, huh?

No awkward CSS messing it up, just a container <frameset>, a sidebar and the main content. Beautiful, elegant, awfully limited. And thankfully now dead to most of us.

If your business website is still using frames it may be time to talk to Frank in IT, or give us a call and we'll show you how to stop crying out in ignorance, and start publishing freely.

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