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Was there some convention that I missed that stated that css is now passe and tables are the wave of the future? Am I relic in 5 months and I didn't know it? I mean, I turned 30 in that time, so yeah, I may be one to the whippersnappers, but come on!
I still like tables for most layout since I find heavily CSS-ed pages can be a royal PITA if the CCS won't load or won't work for your browser. And my table-laid-out code displays on virtually everything, and has been since about 1995!
I am using CSS for some limited (and non-critical) things for which it is very good, but the "everything MUST be CSS" manta leaves me cold!
Was there some convention that I missed that stated that css is now passe and tables are the wave of the future?
Only companies scared that their pages might not look exactly the same on every browser (not that using tables achieves this anyway) and people not knowing how to use css. Or being forced to copy an old tabular layout and try to use css to emulate this, and the nasty problems which normally ensue from this...
...so some people go back to tables out of sheer frustration and exhaustion. Not me though, although some people think I make life hard for myself. Makes creating stylesheets for different devices much more of a breeze though :)
The vast majority of sites are going to be made with tables with no validation concerns, no CSS-P, no semantics for a long time. The browser makers will continue to support and display these sites just fine. These sites are "validated" by the designers checking them in IE and FF and then the client's approval. These sites have little concern for SEO, bandwidth, and so on.
These sites will do just fine - not optimal - and everyone will be happy. It's the WWW, not the W3Web.
Tables have been around a long time and were "what was available at the time" when developers wanted to use more exciting layouts.
Css is a new (and many say better, ultimate) way of addressing the design/layout issues.
Was there some convention that I missed that stated that css is now passe and tables are the wave of the future?
No, I don't think so, nor are tables passe, for many long time developers.
Roll on the day when css is supported fully and universally.....
I think I will throw a chair. Good idea.
I wish there was some solid reference that said "Tables should not be used for layout and support for using tables as such will end in (fill in a date)". That would be nice. I'm just scared that, especially with the sheer amount of pages that are my responsibility, browsers will stop supporting in-line table styling and make my life Heck.
I guess my frustration goes even further because the site is FULL of <font> and <i> and <b> and other crap like that. I just don't think the guy was much of a web developer. He was a programmer. There is a difference. I can cut down code bloat on table-designed sites by 60%-70% on average by using a tableless design. I'm sure a programmer could look at apps that I've written and make my code for efficient. I don't tell people I'm a programmer; I tell them I'm a web developer. The prior webmaster didn't care about usability or accessibility or marketing the website, which I think is JUST as important as the coding of the website.
I'm just frustrated all around. I've got a campus full of profs and staff that are using everything from Front Page to Contribute to edit their websites. "How to I do ____ in Front Page?" I don't know, fool! I hand code! "My students say they can't do/see/access _______ on my website. What might be the problem?" The fact that you're using a crappy WYSIWYG or maybe the fact that you don't know what you're doing or....
I guess I'm just feeling a bit overwhelmed. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE what I'm doing and I like a challenge. But going from a 100 person company to a 2K+ institution is a HUGE switch. I'll get over it.
[edited by: AWildman at 5:50 pm (utc) on Dec. 12, 2005]
I wish there was some solid reference that said "Tables should not be used for layout and support for using tables as such will end in (fill in a date)". That would be nice.
lol! That's not going to happen anytime soon. You have to look at how deep the use of tables goes. It is not just the web but the applications that support the web itself that are based on tables.
Keep in mind, that we (meaning all of us here) are actively pursuing advancements in our own html/css disciplines. The rest of the design community is busy playing with all the new features their WYSIWYG program offers them. As stated above, it works fine in IE and Firefox, the client loved it and viola, another website has launched.
Tables are going to be around for a very long time. CSS is still in its infancy when it comes to the design community.
Think of it this way...
"For some odd reason, the client decides to end the business relationship. You've built this killer website that validates HTML 4.01 Strict. It uses mostly CSS with tables where applicable (for tabular data). Their new designer tells them that they have to rebuild the site because the way it was built originally does not work in their design environment. They have to convert it to tables. ;)
I'm just scared that, especially with the sheer amount of pages that are my responsibility, browsers will stop supporting in-line table styling and make my life Heck.
Again, not anytime soon. IE will probably always support its proprietary attributes and elements. We've been in an IE centric Internet for quite a few years. That is changing rapidly with the release of Firefox and other Mozilla based browsers. Now many are realizing that some of that stuff they used last year isn't quite working the same in the up and coming browsers like Firefox and Safari. :)
A friend of mine formerly in IT used to rank me out about using WYSIWYG to build my site. "Why don't you write in code?" he would cry, tearing at his hair. He couldn't seem to understand that I didn't have time to bother learning code. I have other things to do that are more important, like filling orders, selecting merchandise, pricing, finding sources, learning about importation, talking to customers on the phone, writing content, trying to optimize the site, paying attention to my discount rate, tracking down people who pay with a bad check, writing a newsletter, etc., etc., etc.
Maybe those profs and students have other priorities besides learning code too.
I'd suggest starting by going that route, keeping tables, but using CSS for styles. When they tell you it's time for a whole new look or a new design, that's when you sweep in with a fully CSS site.
But decentralized vs centralized control of the websites is another issue. A big hairy ugly issue, which, for those of you who have had to deal with the same thing, I would love to hear your thoughts on. I'm on the fence, leaning towards centralization, but sympathetic to decentralization.
This includes using tables or whatever tools or techniques you have to use. The email newsletters I send out for the hardware sales department still use FONT tags.
The email newsletters I send out for the hardware sales department still use FONT tags.
Take a look at the code MS Outlook generates when you start using the WYSIWYG tools for HTML email.
A little OT, but related to email and styles. Try this in Internet Explorer. Go to...
File > Send > Page by E-mail
Do that while you are on a site that uses tables and send the email to yourself. Hopefully you are set up to receive HTML email, that way you'll be able to see everything as it appeared on the web but with a slight interpolation for the email client.
Then, do the same thing with a site that uses CSS instead of tables. It's a neat feature and, if the pages are designed properly, they'll go through exactly as you see them on the web, many times with complete functionality.
Anyway, view the source of all that while you are doing it. ;)
Tables are here to stay. CSS is here to stay. We need to adapt and utilize both to our advantage. CSS where applicable and tables where applicable. It's a new design medium for many. We just happen to be slightly ahead of the game. We're talking about it. And we're doing it. ;)
<td colspan="3" id="footer">
why did I go back? Because IE have said not even IE7 will support css2 and I lost patience building PITA style sheets will infinite hacks and exceptions.
Once css2 support is over 90%, I'll reconsider. Until then, I live in the real world and not an ivory tower.
for the layout I have the top header with logo and image in it then I have a left colum wih the menu, a main section that ocastionaly has <div> pullquotes and aditional pulled information also in <div>s, then it's toped err or bottomed by a plain site map and copyright stuff also in a <div>.
ONe thing I like aboult the <div>s is one used repetadly (copywrite menus ect.) I save them as include files and then use php to include them into the pages. that way if one needs updated I update and upload one file and the entire site is updated.
speaking of which I just realized I forgot to update the 2004 to 2005 ... umm better late then never? lol
I suppose if innovative web designers in 1995 had started to use unnumbered lists to create columns, then presumably everyone would now be claiming that "layout lists" are the way to go, instead of CSS.
WYSIWYG editors stand in the way of people seeing the code that they put together and so they can't know that they are compiling spaghetti code.
It would be cool if someone could come up with an extension to Firefox which could assess the contents of tables, make a reasonable guess if the content was tabular data or not and if not, display a "semantic error" message. Or highlight "good" and "bad" tables in different colours.
While just a tool, this would help some people to see perhaps what is and what isn't good use of tables.
It is my goal to code websites such that if anyone else looks at it, they don't look at it and wonder what I was smoking. :) I want everything to be blissfully clear.
It takes me SO much more time to wade through a ton of table tags looking for the one that I need to edit. What good is that?
With the right tools at hand, finding the nesting order of tables should be fairly quick. I do agree with you that nesting can be a bad experience from a hand coding perspective. Using FrontPage, I can use the Reveal Tags command (Ctrl + /) and see how the tables are nested and then select the one I want, switch to html view and viola, FP puts my cursor right at the beginning of the table I selected, Now its time to edit. :)
I'll reiterate that tables are not going anywhere real soon. As long as there are Word Processing documents that get posted as web pages, the support for tables will be there. We all know what an MS Word document looks like at the browser level. ;)
...These sites will do just fine - not optimal - and everyone will be happy. It's the WWW, not the W3Web.
Here here! Bravo! :-) Except that a tabled layout, even one with nested tables, will validate via W3C.
AWildman, you still sound a little new to the game, wait until your hand gets "forced" a few times and you'll have to wonder if those that follow you will still do the same ranting and raving about the crap they have to sift through. :-)
There are often reasons, not all of them due to ignorance or lack of skill, why a site winds up where it is.
You table coding folks do know that there are coders and companies out there who use NO tables whatsoever for layout, and who have been profitably building that way for well over two years already, right? The too-difficult, too-expensive argument is refuted every day. It's simply untrue.
I'd also like to point out that, tools that help sort it out notwithstanding, much of the nested table cruft you see on the web is not necessary now, and has never been necessary. A non-made up example from a web app I skinned a few months ago:
<td align="center"><b>Page Title</b></td>
...since the version 4 browser era at least, it's always been possible to just do something like this instead:
...but I still see new code like the junk above from time to time. It blows my mind.
html bloat gone mad! Affiliate sites are the worst offenders...meaning the main site and the code they give their affiliates to put on-site. 3- or 4- levels of nested tables just to get a book cover/poster image nicely positioned with the price underneath, the links to the right or left and so on...80k of html bloat for a 12 product "store".