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Avoiding Url Problems With Your Framed Web Site

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User since: 12 Apr 2001

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A lot of developers hate to use frames. Many a

site has been ruined by poor use of them. But

frames don't have to be evil. I have seen lots

of great sites that use frames, but I have also

seen lots of sites that don't need frames. If

frames are well-designed, they can make a good

site better. But I don't have time to get into

how to do that. I am going to show you how to

fix a problem on many framed sites. Bookmarks.

The Problem

Have you ever found framed page that looked interesting,

but didn't have time to read it, so you bookmarked it

and when you returned, you were stuck and couldn't find

your page? Have you ever wondered if that happens to your

site? Depending on how complex your site is, you may be

losing visitors because of that.

What happens? You bookmarked the frameset document, and

when you return, your browser reads the source and opens

the main page in to the main content frame. You want a

way to get around that? Well, that comes next.

The Solution

If you look at the title="Microsoft's Code Center" target="_blank">Microsoft

Developer's Code Center
you see that they found a solution

that is very similar to the one I am going to show you. At the

top of the page, there is a link: "Get Page URL". If you click

on the link, the page will appear to refresh, but the address bar

now says

If you bookmark that page, you will always go to the frameset

with welcome.asp in the main content frame. I am going to show

you how to do this in PHP.

Step One: Minor Changes

In your document in the main content frame, put in the following code:

<a href="index.php?content=main.html" title="Synchronize the current page with the address bar">Sync Address Bar</a>

where index.php is the url of your frameset page (if it's not a PHP file,

make it one by renaming it). In the ?content=mypage.html

part, main.html is the current html page (the document in the main content

frame). The link will look something like this:

Sync Address Bar (This link will not work; click all you want)

Note: Put this on every page you want your visitors to be able

to bookmark or find the exact URL.

Step Two: The Framework

In your frameset page (which should now be a PHP file), put the following

PHP script at the top of the document:


 // If there is no content variable,

 // assign the value "main.html" to

 // the variable.

 if (!content) {

  $content == "index.html";



Now for your frame source for the main content frame, add the following

PHP into the src attribute for the frame:

<?php echo("$content"); ?>

Your entire framed page would look something like this:

<!-- index.php -->


 // If there is no content variable,

 // assign the value "main.html" to

 // the variable.

 if (!content) {

  $content == "index.html";






My Framed Page



<frameset cols="100,*">

 <frame src="nav.html">

 <frame src="<?php echo("$content")?>">




Of course this isn't the only way to offer a solution for bookmarks.

You could make a top frame with the Sync Url link, add more frames,

and the list goes on and on. This article only went into the very

basic way of doing this. I tried to keep it as simple as possible,

and you can tweak it on your own to make it work for your site.

Also, if you don't use PHP, this could also easily be translated into

another server side language. Again, I don't have time to get into that.

Have fun with this script, and don't let any more of your users get

caught by the URL/bookmark/favorites problem again.

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