horizontal scroll bar

  waydekirrane 16:31 26 May 2004

i want my contents page on the left frame to always have a horizontal bar where necessary. so rather then the words appearing on the next line (called word wrap i think) i want a horizontal scroll bar to appear when the frame is adjusted and the words don't fit across the left frame.

  Forum Editor 16:40 26 May 2004

so one will appear automatically when the page content is to wide for that particular browser window. A person viewing on a 21" monitor at a reasonable resolution will never see a horizontal scroll bar, whereas a 15" screnn will always have one.

  waydekirrane 16:48 26 May 2004

yes, but i have 2 frames. one with contents and one with the main information. the contents frame on the left is resizable but begins quite small. i want the viewer of the webpage to be able to view the whole line and scrolling across if necessary without the frame putting the end of the sentance on the next line and so on.
hope this makes sense!

  Taran 19:29 26 May 2004

I've never deliberately built a horizontal scrollbar into anything on a website and I'm struggling to see how this would be of real use to you. On the odd occasion that I've used iframes I always make sure that the iframe size is sympathetic to the content so only vertical scrolling takes place, if any at all.

The major bugbear with frames is this: they are, on average, about 90% less likely to be properly search engine indexed than a non-framed layout. That's a big chunk of potential search indexing to give up just for the sake of a layout.

Here is an interesting snippet from an online article on a search engine optimisation site:

"Search engines don't like frames. Once they encounter a frame, they either stop because the frame doesn't give them anywhere else to go, or they find the pages beyond the frames and point people to it - which won't have the frames included with it. There's no need to use Frames and justify it by saying it will improve the user experience. If users can't find you or they find bits and pieces of you, how much have you really helped them? You'll be working around the frames issue until you build a new website."

Horizontal scrolling is something that most designers walk a million miles to avoid. Perhaps I've not grasped your goal layout, but I can't think of anything off hand that would benefit from a horizontal scrollbar.

  Charence 20:28 26 May 2004

One thing I discovered which was very useful was "TABLES", just have one large table, put everything inside it, and set the width so that it will not show horizontal scrollbar on most screens.

I set the width to 800 pixels for screens with 800x600 resolution on this site click here . Its still not finished yet though.


  Charence 20:31 26 May 2004

...putting everything in a table was my plan to stop the horizontal toolbar, but I just noticed that Tripod.co.uk have just placed an ad banner at the top of my page so whatever I do will make no difference!

Hope it works on your site.


  Taran 09:24 27 May 2004

As a rule of thumb you should set your page width to no more than 760 pixels wide if you want to target 800x600 screen resolution. The rest of the 800 pixel width is taken up by the browser edges where the scrollbar and left channel are.

Fixing a page to 800 pixels wide will make a horizontal scrollbar appear at 800x600 screen resolution.

Just thought I'd mention it.

  waydekirrane 10:48 27 May 2004

it's not that a vertical horizontal scroll bar is 'helpful' or even 'wanted', it's just that i'm designing my site in the same mould as windows explorer. ie there is a lot of folders and sub folders that open. when they open (as in explorer) they open to the left of the root folder. this streches outwards to the right. once the end of the contents frame is reached the link moves to the next line, this next line appears at the very left, making it look rather untidy.

main contents
link attempted to be put here

internet explorer automatically puts it onto the next line and it looks messy. if there is another way of keeping it tidy without horizontal scroll bars can you let me know. the way i've put the subfolders across is just to tab along.

i know frames are not optimal but i've started it now and i know frame code quite well so i'll stick with it for now

thanks for your help

  waydekirrane 10:49 27 May 2004

that didn't work!
i wanted to show folders tabbed across with the final link showing up on the next line at the beginning

  Charence 14:58 27 May 2004

thanks!! I will change it asap!


  Taran 14:58 27 May 2004

A Windows Explorer style folder tree view menu can be produced for web use in a variety of ways. Just because you can though, doesn't necessarily mean that you should.

JavaScript on its own is one method and PHP, either on its own or combined with JavaScript or even DHTML can also deliver the goods. I've even played with something pretty reasonable along these lines with CSS and a dash of JavaScript to give the drop downs. Almost all of those menus systems I've seen are rarely very friendly - to code or to use - although I will admit to having seen one that was impressively delivered. However, it only had four or five 'folders' and each folder had four or less 'files' listed beneath it as a usable hyperlink. The whole site had less than twenty pages and so it could be managed withut throwing things out all over the page the deeper you went.

Web site navigation is crucial to the success or failure of any site. You can have the best content on the planet but if your navigation is poor or even just a bit unusual you've lost your visitors from the very outset. As a rule of thumb, unless you are running a corporate intranet or something of similar size, you should only ever go one or two levels deep in your site navigation for most domestic and small business sites. Anything more than that becomes unnecessarily complex, unwieldly and can also work against search engine indexing even more. If you put frames together with multi-level web navigation your site will never, ever work with search engines at all.

I hope you get a working solution but I don't know of one that will work on every mainstream web browser. You do know that frames on their own will be displayed slightly differently on IE, Opera, Mozilla and so on due the each browsers method of rendering them ?

In fact, "displayed slightly differently" is a vast understatement.

If you try to implement a complex navigation tree into the mix you have my best wishes for success. I can't see it producing a site that will display properly in all the mainstream browsers and you'll be building in almost complete search engine failure from the outset.

You could set the left frame to autosize the deeper you go into your navigation structure but that will reduce the available main page size to display the content that the hyperlinks lead to. This would defeat the object - it's no good having the navigation visible if you can't see the content or if the content goes wizzing off the page somewhere.

I suggest you install Opera and NetScape as well as IE and test even a quite simple frames site in all three of them. You might be a bit surprised at the results if any of your links or graphics don't fit in with the frames dimensions. Things often get shoved all over the place and there are certain code hacks you have to build in to get a guaranteed output in all the browsers. I can almost guarantee that one or more of the browsers will display your frame elements in an unexpected way, often resizing the frames or their content. It can get a bit odd at times.

I'm sorry to sound so negative but I think it sounds vastly overcomplicated and extremely unlikely to work in all browsers. I'd love to see screenreader software deal with such a page for the visually impaired. It wouldn't know which way to turn and would end up chasing its tail.

Best of luck with it.

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