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  1. #1
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    Question Web Application Design - Frames or CSS

    Hi,

    I've been programming Database Applications since 1993 but I'm pretty new to Web Programming. I am trying to determine the best path to take regarding the development of an Application that will be accessed by Web Browsers for a client of mine in Australia.

    My client's requirement is for people to be able to access a Task Driven Application, rather than a Content-Based Web Site, from anywhere by using the Internet and Browsers. The application is being developed with VS .Net 2003. The people who were previously working on it have not done a very good job, I think, and it's not User Friendly for such an application. They basically have one aspx Page and "poke" Web Controls into a Table on the fly using VB .Net.

    My intial thoughts have been that such an Application would be more easily facilitated and maintained with the use of Frames loaded with aspx pages.

    There is a lot of discussion that CSS is the way to go with Web Development but the reading I have done, so far, suggests that different hacks are required for different browsers as well as general other fudging required to emulate the use of Frames.

    The data is mostly of a hierachical structure. I think it would be more User Friendly if people do not have to scroll up and down a page. Once they have accessed a top level of the data they should be able to point and click to access (drill down to) related sub-levels of the data within a Frame or Nested Frames on the same page as the top level data in a similar fashion as you would use Nested Forms in an Access Front-End.

    I have an Access 2000 mock up of this structure if anyone would like to take a look at my layout proposal. http://www.scantag.com.au/Documents/...eInterface.mdb

    Is it possible to emulate Nested Frames with CSS?

    If so, would it entail a lot more work using CSS to achieve such an interface layout especially as I envisage this layout as the best way to present such an application?

    Is it possible to use CSS with .Net and .aspx files in this way or am I on the right track with my proposal of loading frames with .aspx pages?

    Would such an application be better suited to using Citrix Presentation Manager to push an Access Front-End to a User via the Internet?

    Thanks,
    Michael Holberton
    Hospedaje Macha Wasi & Sacred Valley Mountain Bike Tours
    Cusco Database Development and Cycling Services
    http://www.machawasi.com
    http://machawasi.blogspot.com/
    http://databaseservices.blogspot.com

  2. #2
    SitePoint Guru pufa's Avatar
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    The problem with using Frames is that you will have to create diferent full Page/documents and therefor can be opened separatly without being inside the Frame.
    Do you want that?
    Also I think adding a few more controls to one Page has less overhead that creating diferent Pages.

    I stay way from frames!!

    And Yes CSS can be tricky some times...

    It seems to me that you want some types of tabed browsing, I'm I right?
    There are a lot of nice third party tab controls for ASP.NET.

    I use telerik tabstrip.

    If you are starting the Website from scratch or the modification are worth it change to
    ASP.NET 2.0. The new features will save you some headhakes.

    Cheers,
    Rui
    Ciao, Rui...

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by pufa
    The problem with using Frames is that you will have to create diferent full Page/documents and therefor can be opened separatly without being inside the Frame.
    Do you want that?
    I am thinking that it would be easier and more efficient for the maintenance and presentation of this application to just load pages in a frame instead of a page having to be rebuilt when you want to remove some controls and replace them with others and determining the positioning required for these controls. These pages would not be loaded outside the frames.

    Quote Originally Posted by pufa
    Also I think adding a few more controls to one Page has less overhead that creating diferent Pages.
    But the whole page would have to be loaded again, yes?

    Quote Originally Posted by pufa
    I stay way from frames!!

    And Yes CSS can be tricky some times...
    There are Pros and Cons to both from what I have researched so far.


    Quote Originally Posted by pufa
    It seems to me that you want some types of tabed browsing, I'm I right?
    There are a lot of nice third party tab controls for ASP.NET.

    I use telerik tabstrip.
    Did you take a look at the design in the Access 2000 database I posted a link for?

    I don't think a Tab Control would be the most effective and efficient method for what I need and would also use more space.


    Quote Originally Posted by pufa
    If you are starting the Website from scratch or the modification are worth it change to
    ASP.NET 2.0. The new features will save you some headhakes.
    I wish I could be starting it from scratch.

    Regards,

  4. #4
    SitePoint Guru pufa's Avatar
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    Hi there,

    I've looked at your Access forms and from what I understand you don't need frames at all. Loading UserControls dinamicaly you can achive the same.

    I've attached an image of a form I did for a project where I used tabs,
    but you can achive the same with a DropDownList like in your forms.

    Cheers,
    Rui
    Ciao, Rui...

  5. #5
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    I really would recommend against frames for a number of reasons. From an application development standpoint it creates a bit of a headache of making two pages communicate which can drive a man batty.

  6. #6
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    Hi Rui and wwb_99,

    Thanks for your replies.

    Ok, as you can see from the Access DB we would have a Client and there are different Sections of Data to be entered for a Client and some of those Sections may have Sub-Sections. For example, a Site Section for a Client would have its own Sections of data.

    If the page was created/manipulated, without frames, by dynamically loading controls within a Table structure would not the whole page need to be reloaded, as against only a Frame needing to be loaded with only its controls (sometimes only 2 or 3), and hence take more time for the application to respond to the User's input/actions?

    With my proposal each frame page would have its own Form with an Update/Submit button. Whether using the method you propose or I propose, would both require similar coding for the transfer of data to the database? Would it be simpler using my proposal or your proposal?

    Also, take a look at this article and tell me what you think.
    http://www.15seconds.com/issue/030528.htm

    Thanks,
    Michael Holberton
    Hospedaje Macha Wasi & Sacred Valley Mountain Bike Tours
    Cusco Database Development and Cycling Services
    http://www.machawasi.com
    http://machawasi.blogspot.com/
    http://databaseservices.blogspot.com


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