Help. My box length seems to be fixed, even though its flexible

I have a long page. Currrently 20,000px. I have a few items I want to add. But when I add more content, firstly, all my previous work disappears. When I manually force the pasteboard length larger, then that should allow the box to continue to automatically grow. But when I put more than a few extra lines in there, all my content simply disappears. And the ‘flexible’ option certainly doesnt seem to be automatically extending anymore.
This is how the site looks. But I simply cannot work out what is going on in Freeway, and why everything disappears when I add the lines of text - or anything - at the bottom. Associates

First off: HTML pages don’t actually need to have any defined height. In fact, if you leave that off, the page will grow to any size, no matter how ridiculous. (I have published entire reference books in one HTML page before, with ~12MB of literal HTML content. Browsers can handle this. I did not use Freeway to make that page, though.)

Freeway does need a height, because it is based on desktop publishing strategies, and so it needs to know where (and whether) an element will fit into the page. When you say that everything disappears, do you mean in Freeway? Or in a browser when viewing the generated HTML?

Side note: I see that you are trying to use Prototype.js in this page, likely through the application the SmoothScroll Action. The page is not publishing correctly, and so the links to prototype.js and scriptaculous.js are being set as <script src=""...> (empty URL) and the smooth scrolling effect is failing to initialize because you’re referencing methods that those scripts would have set in your page’s script tags. To fix this, try holding down the Option key while choosing File/Publish from the main menu. That option will become Publish Everything, and will do a very thorough cleanup of your published assets.


Thanks for the reply. Yes, I have never had a problem like this before
Its in Freeway that everything disappears. Well, the entire box, with all the sub boxes of text and picture. When I enter something down the bottom, more than 2 lines, the entire box disappears.

Screen Shot 2022-07-19 at 7.48.00 am

You can see in the before and after shots, what happens. Its very strange. The entire box disappears. If I add more than 2 lines of text at the bottom

Gotcha. There is a definite limit to how tall you can set a page in Freeway, but I don’t remember exactly what that height is. Hopefully Jeremy can cool down enough in his wading pool to reply to this thread and tell us what that is.

For a page this tall, I think you may need to start thinking about some more technical solutions to the problem. Break the page up into pieces, apply one or another of my various template Actions to them, and then use some form of programming to assemble the final page. Or maybe use a hub-and-spokes approach, and find a way to break this page down into a number of linked sub-pages. That would keep you entirely in “vanilla” Freeway, at the expense of having to break up this page.


What kind of template Action would make a difference?
Its frustrating, as I just want to add one more item to the page.
Yeah, the obvious answer is continue onto another page. I just dont understand why this is a problem, but maybe its an inherent limitation of Freeway.

Hi Steve,

Freeway does have problems with long pages. The maximum permitted value is 32767, but problems seem to occur when the height gets to about half this. There used to be a bug logged on this. It seems to be some kind of graphics display problem. The data is there on the page, but it’s not displayed properly.

I don’t know of a good way to avoid these problems, other than by avoiding pages that are taller than around 16000 pixels.

One thing I notice in your screenshots is that there seems to be an overflow symbol at the bottom right of one of the boxes. This indicates that the box is too small (width or height) for its content, so you could try increasing the height of that box, or give it an undefined (flexible) height. You might also see an overflow symbol at the bottom right of the page. If that’s the case, try increasing the height of the page until the symbol disappears.

Thanks. The page is at 24k so obviously beyond what seems to be a workable limit. I will just have to split them. The overflow is the stuff I pasted in, that wont show up…

I’m thinking here of one of my PHP Actions, maybe TemplateHelper and CrowBar. You’ll need to download and install those Actions by double-clicking them or dragging them over the (f) icon in your Dock. Make sure that the Actions palette is visible (look in the View menu).

If you were using this, then you could make your pasteboard 12000 x 12000 (so really wide as well as tall, but inside the limits Jeremy reminded us of). In the margins, you create another HTML box the same width as your really tall single box. Then cut half the content out of the original box, and paste it into the new one. Now you have two columns side-by-side (one on, and one off the visible page area). This gets you around the problem of a too-tall page. Make sure that both boxes have their height set to Flexible, so they don’t set any height attribute.

To carry forward with this page using PHP, you would first change the filename of the outer page to end in .php rather than .html.

Click somewhere on the pasteboard (so nothing else is selected or focused), then once on the new box in the pasteboard, so its corner handles appear. From the Actions menu, choose TemplateHelper, and look in the Actions palette for the interface.

Set the controls on the TemplateHelper Action to have a memorable name for the exported file, and set an extension for it (could be PHP or HTML). In your original box, insert an inline CrowBar Action instance where you removed the original content (inside the flow of text – use the Insert menu to choose that Action). Make sure that the inline CrowBar element is all by itself on the last line in that box.

Let’s assume for discussion that you set the TemplateHelper to “Make Partial” = checked, File type = html, and Partial Name = too_tall

You should be able to leave everything else alone.

Back in the Crowbar action interface (click once on the inline Action in your original tall HTML box, then look in the Actions palette for the interface. Click the Code button, and in that dialog, enter the following:

<?php include_once('_too_tall.html'); ?>

Okay the dialog and publish the page. Two things to understand here. First, you will no longer be able to proof your work locally. By changing the filename of the outer page to .php, the entire page is now requiring a PHP interpreter (your hosting provider most likely provides this, but your Mac definitely does not) in order to render the composite page. Second, everything about this now becomes a programming project, with all the benefits and drawbacks that brings. You have to be very precise in what you do, but you can now take Freeway well beyond anywhere it was ever intended to go. When you want to make edits to this page, you’ll need to update or add to the content of one column or the other in Freeway, publish, and then view your resulting composite page from your server (where the PHP interpreter lives).

Hope this helps explain what I mean. If this sounds like too much work or outside of your comfort zone, then that’s possibly true. But it would allow you to keep everything inside one page in your Freeway document, rather than having to split this up into the hub and spokes arrangement with separate pages. I haven’t tried this, but you may also be able to use Freeway’s “chain text” tool to automate the split of content in the layout, so when you click to edit, you would be treating the two HTML boxes as if they were a single joined column. Not sure if that works with off-screen boxes or not. The Actions should have no trouble with it, though, because the two boxes get published as two separate DIVs in the HTML. The content-splitting is a neat party trick that happens entirely within Freeway. The only problem I can imagine this causing is for the height of the box – you might not be able to set that to Flexible when you use the multiple boxes and the chain tool.


I haven’t tried it either (I have to boot an old computer to use Freeway) but I’d be wary of using Freeway’s chain (flow) tools, because they have a history of being somewhat buggy…

Otherwise, I think that’s an interesting suggestion from Walter!

I tried to look at the associates link you posted above (including adding .html to the end) but I got a 404 Not found error (maybe because you’re currently working on it?)