Frames in Action

by Jason Cranford Teague, Persimmon IT, Inc.
Kairos  Production Manager

It all started with the idea that we wanted to do something different with this journal. In the Autumn of 1995 emails were flashing fast and furiously between the then-editors of Kairos . We had yet to even publish our first issue, but we were deep into arguing about the nature of hypertextual journals. What was their purpose? What could they do that print media could not? It was the general consensus that we wanted to do something "cutting edge." (Some of the early conversation regarding this idea is discussed in my earlier LoggingOn for our first issue.) In fact one of the editors at the time said that verbatim one day; I remember that day, because it also happened to be the first day I discovered frames. 

Kairos , not to mention my life, would never be the same.

Frames allowed Kairos  to do something that most other journals, both print and online, had a hard time doing: presenting multi-sequential hypertext. That is, frames let us put up information from multiple sources simultaneously. It seems as if this presentation has been something of a success. In general, the feedback about the nature of our journal has been resoundingly positive. But the format we used in volume 1 (our first three issues) has met with some resistance, both within Kairos  and from our readership. There have been a steady stream of complaints about the number of frames in Kairos , and the small size of the webtext on smaller monitors.

We have been listening.

Thus we present Kairos  "Mark 2." We eliminated several frames that proved to be of little use and have implemented a remote control to add functionality without taking space away from the webtext. However, we are still providing space to allow authors to present information from a variety of sources, side by side.

Oh, also during the last year, frames did something else remarkable for me: they got me noticed by Ziff-Davis publications, who invited me to write a book on the topic of "How To Program HTML Frames." While cruising the Web one day, Simon Hayes, an acquisitions editor for ZD came across Kairos . They were looking for some one to pen a book about frames for their "How to Program..." series. He contacted Mick, Mick contacted me and a mere five months later I had written a 430-page book which will be in stores around the time this issue of Kairos  is available. To help understand the method used to redesign Kairos for this new year of publication, I thought I would share with you the chapter in the book in which I address the pros and cons of using frames. Read on.

How to Program HTML Frames: Interface Design and JavaScript 
by Jason Cranford Teague
Ziff-Davis Press
ISBN 1-56276-495-0

Contact Jason Teague