Understanding Frames in ASP.NET

Frames are the ones which divide a Webpage into many regions. Each frame acts as a separate window, with a scrollable bar. Frames enable you to present the information with greater flexibility. A frame can be given an individual URL, so that the frame can load information separately, while the other frames display the information in the respective frames. You can also set the frames to resize dynamically whenever the user changes the size of the window.

Frames provide an aesthetically pleasing website, which is more user-friendly when you avoid using too many frames. In the past working with frames was a difficult task. In the .NET Framework, working with frames is made easier using a combination of JavaScript code and the Attributes property of .NET Web Forms. The system requirements for working with frames in the .NET Framework are Netscape 4.0 or later or Internet Explorer 5.0 or later, Visual Studio.NET, Windows 2000 with Internet Information Service 5.

Frames are used to present the users with a control or set of controls that maintain a certain state, while the other parts of the page needs to load a file or some other type of controls. Frames were also used to control page refresh, in the past. In ASP 2.0 or 3.0, the entire page refreshes whenever you perform a server side event. To solve the problem of entire page refresh, you can use Smart Navigation in ASP.NET. You can set this tag at page level through page properties or at site level through the web.config file. When you enable this tag, only the controls within the form tag get refreshed. This avoids screen flicker, even if the page has images, headers, etc. For this to work effectively, ASP.NET uses inline frames called Iframes which works only on Internet Explorer 5.0 and later browsers. The inline frames enable targeted refresh, as each frame is treated independently.

To pass data to from one frame to the other and to refresh a specific frame, you need some basic knowledge of the windows and frames properties in JavaScript and the ASP.NET attributes property. To work with frames, you can use the Attributes property along with its Add method, which allows you to dynamically insert calls to JavaScript functions, passing in the server side control's data. You can declare any event handler associated with a specific Web control using the Attributes property. The attributes that you add to the controls collection are rendered at runtime.

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