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With CSS+DIV layouts, spacer gifs, like table-based layouts, are obselete :)
And whilst many people still use them, many people still code with a mindset from four years ago. There isn't any need if you're using full CSS layouts, with DIVs.
I would like to make a slight correction, however:
And whilst many people still use them, many people still code with a mindset from four years ago.
This is not completely true. I assure you that a good portion of web sites doing this are probably using the mind set of supporting legacy browsers, which are still being used by a lot of those companies' users. Switching to 100% CSS is a nice option, and is recommended, but only if you're willing to dump users. Until browser companies get with the program, specifically Microsoft, I forsee table-based layouts living a long time The overall results of full CSS aren't worth the loss of customers. Remember, it's the people viewing the web site that count, not the creator.
On the tables issues, yes most users are still on MSIE something (in fact 91% are, of which about 82% of these are using MSIE6) It is possible to do away with table based design and still support this huge majority.. most of the issues are MSIE5 issues (a dying browser) and these can be worked around easily.
It is a challenge making this transition, but it is coming, if you like it or not.. I am grateful and take comfort in the fact there are those who have already gone before us and have pulled their hair out so we donít have to (quite so much) and have defined some brilliant ways to layout sites. In addition to this, I am beginning to find it is possible to achieve things is CSS which was NEVER possible with table based design - period.
Until browser companies get with the program, specifically Microsoft, I forsee table-based layouts living a long time
It doesn't matter what the browser firms do - if customers don't upgrade their browsers.
I still get hits from Netscape 3 users on my site.
Many people cant upgrade their browsers - might not know how to, might use low power pc's, might not have permissions to change software etc.
We shouldn't fall into the trap of always blaming people for using older browsers when there are legit reasons why they cant change -nor should we dump all the blame at the door of the software vendors for not "forcing" people to upgrade to the latest sexiest browsers.
Unfortunately it is filled with really bad clunky HTML, and many features aren't adjustable by CSS because it's been included into their proprietary scripting. I can't attribute a class to some images, for example, because they are embedded in indecipherable code.
Anyhoo, this site is full to the brim with spacer gifs instead of using CSS and table padding/margins, which means I have to go in and strip them all out from each page. It surprised me so much seeing spacer gifs used so widely and IMHO unnecessarily in what is a relatively recently designed database that I just had to wonder if there was really a good reason for it I was overlooking.
It seems my first thoughts were probably right, though.
I assure you that a good portion of web sites doing this are probably using the mind set of supporting legacy browsers,
If that is true then they're not thinking things through. By continuing to make their website to work in non-standards-compliant browsers they're guaranteeing that they'll have to continue doing so for a rather long time.
It's perfectly possible to write CSS designs which display usably in legacy browsers.