Exact layout [that's why you might need a calculator] is only achieved with an editor. That's my opinion. The decision whether to use a graphical based tool, or work with a text editor, depends on whether you are a more visual person or not. Choosing graphical-based software to build web pages [in case you just don't like typing] is fine, just make sure the software doesn't write extra code into the source text. Because many webdesign applications do.


Platforms Test layouts not only with different browsers - but also on different platforms. Windows 95/98/NT, find somebody with a Mac - and test on Unix related systems. I suffered a major nervous breakdown (short, but major) when I looked at my pages with a newly installed Linux system/ Netscape Browser. What a mess. Don't assume the entire planet uses Microsoft products. It's simply not the case. Especially check fonts.


Fonts Fonts on Windows machines versus Mac will vary - not to your delight. Any font on a Mac shows smaller: there is one possibility to avoid this: use style sheets.
Link a style sheet to your pages and define font sizes for headers, paragraphs etc. with pixels (px), not with points (pt) or similar. The fonts on Mac understand pixels. However, now you imply all surfers stumbling across your pages have a browser which understands style sheets. There's always a downturn.


Page sources The setup of a page is good and you want to know how it's done? Copying the source [View: page source in the browser menu] into a text editor and deleting all the content except table, break and paragraph tags will help to find out. There is no need to reinvent the wheel when other bright minds have found a good solution you want to alter.


Tables 1 Concerning graphics tables are unbeatable: you can glue divided graphics back together again - without losing a pixel in between. This is not possible across frames, not all browsers support it.


Tables 2 Tables can [also] be placed next to each other without losing space in between by putting "align=left" into the table tag. One can already look at the content of the first table on a page while the second table is still loading. One single table containing all graphics and text [not to mention music or videos] can take a very long time to load.


Tables 3 Tables placed beneath each other only glue together when no break tag is placed between them. Centred tables with fixed width can achieve good layout with each table being able to have different table division widths.


Frames 1 Frames are great for simple documentation sites. However, Netscape adds one single pixel to the outside of each frame. Plus, the frame itself changes width (slightly) when you resize the browser to full screen size. Should you place menu buttons or text in a fixed-width-frame, define that frame a little wider than you think is necessary (approx. 5-10 pixels). Otherwise text might break and buttons disappear halfway.

Frames 2 Search engines index a complete site. Also single pages which are actually part of a frame layout. People might find a single page instead of the homepage with the frameset. It can be helpful to have a tiny "home" reference somewhere on every single page. Those fortunate enough to find this single page will have quick access to the (of course much more appealing) framesetted site.