Framesets are a valid W3C doctype

For my students…

On page H-17 of your text, Cox states, “… Moreover, framesets are no longer part of the W3C standard”1. This statement has caused more than a few emails and discussion board postings. Let me clear something up. Framesets ARE a valid document type according to the XHTML1.0 standard2. The author, I believe, is drawing your attention to the fact that framesets should be used with caution since they have the following characteristic, they do not have a unique URL. This causes the following:

  • They cannot be bookmarked
  • You cannot send a link
  • Search engines cannot find them, or at least provide a unique URL to direct traffic to your site

In conclusion, don’t be afraid to use framesets, they are valid markup. Just use them when their function is indicated – don’t created an entire web site using them.


Cox, Vicki L., Wermers, Lynn, Reding, Elizabeth Eisner (2007). HTML Complete, Third Ed., The Illustrated Series, Thomson Course Technology, Boston, MA. ISBN 0-619-26844-1.

Three Flavors of XHTML1.0.