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In HTML5, iframe comes as a replacement for frameset.

However, when I load my iframe-based page in SeaMonkey through Google Cache, the page appears empty, other than the standard Google Cache header and some minor non-iframe insignia.

Digging around makes me believe it's due to this header added up by Google for my cached page:

X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Which makes no sense, because then the whole cached page is empty! Is this expected? Is there a workaround to make Google not break the "Cached" link? Why is there a need for this header, isn't webcache.googleusercontent.com already explicitly dedicated to, well, user content?!

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In HTML5, iframe comes as a replacement for frameset.

iframe has been around since HTML 4. It was introduced at the same time as frameset. There isn't a replacement for frameset since framesets are just awful.

Is this expected?

Yes. If the server says that only pages from the same origin may frame a page, then it will appear blank if framed from a different origin. Browsers display an error message in the console.

Is there a workaround to make Google not break the "Cached" link?

Don't stick it in a frame, or cache it yourself.

Why is there a need for this header

To defend against phishing and other unsavoury attempts to pass off other people's content as one's own.

(NB: If you do cache it yourself, then be careful you aren't opening yourself up to a copyright claim).

isn't webcache.googleusercontent.com already explicitly dedicated to, well, user content?

No. It's content scraped from third party sites all over the WWW.

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