best practice for designing navigation interfaces

S

Simon

Hi all,

I'm in the process of designing my first website in a few years, and am
thinking about how to design the navigation for the website.

There is a list of links to all the pages that I want to put into a main
"navigation bar". My first inclination is to put these into a separate
frame (i.e. each page would have a content frame and a navigation frame,
with links from the navigation frame loading pages into the content frame),
because then any changes in the structure of the website (changes to the
navigation bar) could be entered into the navigation frame and be
automatically changed for all pages.

However, what makes me question this approach is that there seems to be a
move away from page "hacking" e.g. using frames, towards using more
"elegant" methods (namely, CSS). After creating the website using CSS and
*no* frames, the problem of changing the navigation bar on one page and then
having to similiarly manually edit that same navigation bar on all pages
appeared. How do you deal with this problem? I suspect web design software
like Macromedia's Dreamweaver or Microsoft's Frontpage would make this
change automatically (if you changed the master / template page?).

Let me know what you think. And thank you for your time.

Merry Christmas to all!

Regards

Simon
 
O

Oli Filth

As many will tell you, stay away from frames for (relatively) simple
things like navigation (see links at
http://www.allmyfaqs.com/faq.pl?Problems_with_using_frames for why).

Are you using server-side scripting, like PHP or ASP? In which case,
it's easy to include() a standard HTML template before it's sent to the
browser; this is what I do. Same goes for SSI (server-side includes).
Does your web-host support any of these?

If not, you're a bit stuck. You could use JavaScript or whatever to
document.write() when the client loads your page, but this is unreliable
at best.

Oli
 
T

Travis Newbury

I'm in the process of designing my first website in a few years, and am
thinking about how to design the navigation for the website.

You are of the mind set of most,that you do not want to repeat the code
for the menu every time. So the obvious solution (to someone new) is
frames.

For a better solution search google for "HTML page in a page" you will
be rewarded with a ton of code samples to overcome the problem you
mention.
 
S

Sid Ismail

On Sat, 25 Dec 2004 17:14:23 GMT, "Simon"

: However, what makes me question this approach is that there seems to be a
: move away from page "hacking" e.g. using frames, towards using more
: "elegant" methods (namely, CSS). After creating the website using CSS and
: *no* frames, the problem of changing the navigation bar on one page and then
: having to similiarly manually edit that same navigation bar on all pages
: appeared. How do you deal with this problem?


A knowledge of CSS is necessary to make the links "elegant":
http://www.westciv.com/style_master/academy/hands_on_tutorial/

Then you need some SSI's to "include" code in various pages:
http://bignosebird.com/ssi.shtml

Welcome to the 21st century! :)

Sid
 
N

Neal

Travis Newbury
Simon
... search google for "HTML page in a page" you will
be rewarded with a ton of code samples to overcome the problem you
mention.

Iframes are in most ways as bad as frames. Avoid that.

Best way I've found to add repetitive sections like navigation to pages is
PHP. You can even write it so the link to the current page is not a link
anymore.
 
T

Travis Newbury

Travis Newbury
Iframes are in most ways as bad as frames. Avoid that.
Absolutely!

Best way I've found to add repetitive sections like navigation to pages is
PHP. You can even write it so the link to the current page is not a link
anymore.

PHP (or any other server script) is made just foe this type of thing.

Is anyone aware of a host that does not provide some flavor of server
side scripting with all their hosting packages?
 
P

(Pete Cresswell)

Per Travis Newbury:
Is anyone aware of a host that does not provide some flavor of server
side scripting with all their hosting packages?

Affordable-Host on their freebie ("X") accounts.
 
S

Simon

Travis Newbury said:
PHP (or any other server script) is made just foe this type of thing.

Thanks all for your replies, and I'll check what server side scripting is
available once uni restarts in the new year.

If the hosting available at my university (has to be hosted on their
servers) doesn't allow such scripting, can anyone recommend an alternative
method? I know Oli has mentioned that alternatives are a bit thin on the
ground.. how about recommended programs that can update the nav bar across
all pages? (using a template?)

but thanks all anyway for your help, you've been fantastic! have a great
new year!

Simon
 
D

Duende

While sitting in a puddle Blinky the Shark scribbled in the mud:
One of the guys who hangs/hung out in here

So what you're saying is he is hung? How do you know about such things.
That's best left to brucie.
 
I

Isofarro

Oli said:
Are you using server-side scripting, like PHP or ASP? In which case,
it's easy to include() a standard HTML template before it's sent to the
browser; this is what I do. Same goes for SSI (server-side includes).
Does your web-host support any of these?

If not, you're a bit stuck.

Use an HTML preprocessor.
 

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