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  1. #1
    ********* Articles ArticleBot's Avatar
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    Discussion thread for Practical Web Design - Introduction to Tables, Part 2

    This is a dedicated thread for discussing the SitePoint article 'Practical Web Design - Introduction to Tables, Part 2'

  2. #2
    Prolific Blogger silver trophy Technosailor's Avatar
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    What is the point of this article? Every browser in the past 4 years supports CSS1 standards? 97% of my users surf using a CSS1 capable browser and I don't run dev-oriented websites. I think this was a waste of an article considering Sitepoint is trying to prote HTML Utopia. To me, the author sounds like a sour old man who doesn't want to change. Let's see your stats, eh? Guarantee your stats are going to be similar to mine.

    Aaron
    Aaron Brazell
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    SitePoint Addict hurricane.uk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sketch
    To me, the author sounds like a sour old man who doesn't want to change.


    And while SP is, or should be, promoting HTML Utopia and tableless design, the rest of us should be promoting standards compliant browsers capable of displaying our beautifully construction tableless designs as intended. Besides which, it's not too difficult to provide alternative style sheets for different browsers, and if some really do need to offer greater legacy support then there's always the option of a browser sniffer script to redirect to an archaic layout for those that really need it.

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    Prolific Blogger silver trophy Technosailor's Avatar
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    here here. In fact, my methods are to code for the majority (CSS) and let the non-CSS be the minority and make the exceptions for those browsers not the CSS ones.
    Aaron Brazell
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  5. #5
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    I can see where the author is coming from. He was speaking to the beginners in our crowd, and while I promote CSS design every way I can, sometimes you've gotta use tables. While a lot of newbies to Web design are now going straight to CSS, there are some who still don't get it for one reason or another and find tables easier to learn. This article was meant for them; I don't see any reason to really bash it .

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    Prolific Blogger silver trophy Technosailor's Avatar
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    I'm not sure where you got that, Vinnie. He seems to be addressing everyone.
    Aaron Brazell
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    SitePoint Addict hurricane.uk's Avatar
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    That's the impression I got too

    In fact, most of the surfing world doesn't use up-to-date browsers; hence most users can't view your beautifully-constructed, tableless, CSS-based pages correctly. So, unless you're coding Web pages for an audience that’s composed completely of cutting-edge users (i.e. the typical SitePoint or Slashdot user), you're going to have to deal with tables. It's just a fact of life.
    I like the way the Ad for HTML Utopia sits right on top of the article though

  8. #8
    Anonymous
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    Interesting article, but XHTML 1.0 Trans (at least) compliant code would have been nice...

    Also I'm a little confused about why this is being published at a time when SP seems to be pushing CSS based design in a big way??

    ~zoo

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by vgarcia
    I can see where the author is coming from. He was speaking to the beginners in our crowd, and while I promote CSS design every way I can, sometimes you've gotta use tables. While a lot of newbies to Web design are now going straight to CSS, there are some who still don't get it for one reason or another and find tables easier to learn. This article was meant for them; I don't see any reason to really bash it [img]images/smilies/smile.gif[/img].
    Author here. Thank you, sir. You have hit the nail on the head. Believe me, I'm not trying to undercut CSS coding or throw everyone back to 1998 standards, and I don't think I'm either too sour or too old. (I hope!)

    There are plenty of articles on Sitepoint about making tableless pages, coding with XHTML and CSS, and so forth. This article isn't addressed to the people who use these techniques. The "Practical Web Design" columns are designed for newbies and amateurs who don't necessarily work in the field, those who find themselves with a need to design a Web page with very limited skills and knowledge, and so forth. They may not need, or desire, to know and employ the latest techniques. They need to get a Web page up that contains certain content and they need to do it tomorrow. Instead of breaking their brains trying to learn cutting-edge techniques, they can use these columns to learn the basics of HTML and Web design, get their pages up and running, and then decide if they want to learn more advanced techniques. If they do, there are hundreds of resources on Sitepoint that will help them learn better and more current techniques. If not, they can still get their pages up in a format that almost everyone can view without any difficulty.

    Sitepoint does a fabulous job of addressing current coding techniques. My niche, as I see it, is to try to hit the readership who might not know as much as the average Sitepoint user, and try to bring in less experienced readers and users who want to learn what the average Sitepoint user already knows. People who are getting their feet wet in HTML can profit from my articles; when they're ready, they can tackle the more advanced material.

    Quote Originally Posted by sketch
    He seems to be addressing everyone.
    From the article: "As with the first column, this article won't cover anything new or different for veteran Web designers. This is strictly for the less expert among us." It's not for everyone, it's for those who need it. Everyone else should probably skip it and go to something that addresses their needs.

    And I definitely appreciated the "irony" of having an ad for HTML Utopia atop my column. Or maybe it's not irony; maybe it's a symbol of what the reader who can use this column can move towards.

  10. #10
    Prolific Blogger silver trophy Technosailor's Avatar
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    Hey Mike,

    While I appreciate your point of view, this is a network for developers. It's not a network for the guy who has $129 to burn down at the local CompUSA or Best Buy on Microsoft Frontpage 2002. While I recognize that there are newbies and amateurs among us, they are learning one way or another. Why not teach them right so they don't have to rework their site next year when it no longer works properly.

    Also, the tone in your article does not seem to incline to newbies. The tone is condescending toward developers who opt to do things properly the first time around.

    I'm sorry if you feel we have missed it. But let's be honest, there's alot of articles around here....for newbies....that teaches techniques properly. All you are doing them is giving them a crutch. It completely undermines what is being done here at SPF. Nothing personal, but I strongly feel that this article was at the very best poorly worded and did not spell out who you were addressing and at very worst a slap in the face toward the efforts here.

    Just my thoughts.

    Aaron
    Aaron Brazell
    Technosailor



  11. #11
    SitePoint Zealot simplyunique's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sketch
    Why not teach them right so they don't have to rework their site next year when it no longer works properly.
    I doubt that next year the use of tables will cause any site not to function.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sketch
    All you are doing them is giving them a crutch. It completely undermines what is being done here at SPF. Nothing personal, but I strongly feel that this article was at the very best poorly worded and did not spell out who you were addressing and at very worst a slap in the face toward the efforts here.
    Wow, you guys can be really passionate about how right things your way are and how wrong things other ways are.

    I'd say, sit back, relax, examine your priorities and decide if it's really worth getting nasty in your replies to each other.

    Cheers people,
    Simply Unique
    Fonkuscious say: Sink a foot in into my code and stub your toe

  12. #12
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    No condescension implied; I apologize if the article came off that way. We're all entitled to our opinions. I'd like to think of SitePoint as a resource not just for developers who've already learned the ropes, but for those who want to learn the ropes and haven't as yet. The PWD series is designed for those people. Web developers like Aaron who already know this stuff won't get a lot out of my articles.

  13. #13
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    Developing for the user

    Wow you guys are pretty rough.

    Whether you use tables, CSS, or plain 'ol basic HTML is not up to us...it's up to our visitors, users or target audience. We as professional web designers should know we need to design for our users, not force standards that they may not be able to utilize.

    As the other posters pointed out, we may (and usually do) need to incorporate different methodologies & technologies when designing our websites. How many people do you want to view your website? Everyone? 70%? Can you afford to leave anyone out? Are we designing for an Intranet, Extranet, Internet? And to whom and with what?

    Design for your current audience, they'll let you know how to design your site.

    P.S. Remember, most visitors do not care if you developed your site in CSS, tables or with Crayons. All of us go to websites for one reason...content. Websites present this content, whether if its designed with CSS, tables or whatever.
    Michael J. Swartz
    Founder and Senior Web Architect
    Bay Area Web Design

  14. #14
    SitePoint Addict naveed's Avatar
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    "Windows 98 is the operating system most used in the world's PCs"

    I thought Windows XP was now the most used OS. I guess it depends on which statistics you look at.

    Anyways, I agree that it depends on your target audience. For instance, I know that my personal site doesn't work well with old browsers, because of the CSS layout and iFrame.
    However, over 90% of my visitors use IE6. Here are the UA strings of the 10 most recent entries of my traffic log:

    Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; .NET CLR 1.1.4322; MSN 8.0; MSN 8.5; MSNbMSNI; MSNmen-us; MSNcOTH)
    Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows 98; Q312461; Hotbar 4.0; YComp 5.0.0.0; .NET CLR 1.0.3705; .NET CLR 1.1.4322)
    Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows 98)
    Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows 98; .NET CLR 1.1.4322)
    Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.0; IE6/FO; .NET CLR 1.0.3705)
    Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows 98)
    Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1)
    Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows 98; Q312461; CI IE 6.0; (R1 1.3))
    Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows 98; .NET CLR 1.1.4322)
    Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; .NET CLR 1.0.3705)

    If a significant amount of my visitors were using old browsers (such as Netscape4), I would get rid of the iFrame and switch to a table layout.

  15. #15
    Free your mind Toly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sketch
    Why not teach them right so they don't have to rework their site next year when it no longer works properly.
    Are you saying that tables won't be supported at all next year? I find that very hard to believe. Designing without tables is a good alternative but CSS replacing tables for good? I don't see that happening for a long time if ever.
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  16. #16
    Prolific Blogger silver trophy Technosailor's Avatar
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    Ummm...yeah tables for layout has been obsolete for some time. It may not be next year but when the browsers start catching up and not supporting old standards (by default) pages are going to inherently break. It's just bad practice to design for something that you know one day is not going to work.
    Aaron Brazell
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  17. #17
    Free your mind Toly's Avatar
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    In that case, we probably shouldn't design at all because CSS will be replace by something else in the future like everything does.

    By the way, I found one table while viewing the source code of ensight.org. That's cheating.

    Anyhow, it looks interesting designing a site completely in CSS. I'll have to try it at least once.
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  18. #18
    Prolific Blogger silver trophy Technosailor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toly
    In that case, we probably shouldn't design at all because CSS will be replace by something else in the future like everything does.
    The point is CSS is the standard for layout. HTML tables are not. As long as there's a standard, developers should be shooting to use them.
    By the way, I found one table while viewing the source code of ensight.org. That's cheating.
    Blame Moveable Type. I did not design the site, just the CSS.

    Aaron
    Aaron Brazell
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  19. #19
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toly
    In that case, we probably shouldn't design at all because CSS will be replace by something else in the future like everything does.
    true, there will be something other than CSS at some point. however, with CSS you separate content from presentation...so when that "something else" comes along, you don't have to touch your content (ok, you'll need to change the references to the CSS files to whatever the new thing is, but your actual body won't need to change)...whereas with tables, structure and content are intertwined, making it difficult to then adapt the pure content to something else...
    (and heck, with XHTML being an XML application, i could use XSLT to just transform my squeaky clean content to something else...)
    re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
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  20. #20
    Free your mind Toly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redux
    however, with CSS you separate content from presentation...so when that "something else" comes along, you don't have to touch your content
    Well, you don't exactly need CSS to do that if you use a dbase to store your content, but I see the point. The thing is that with so many sites using tables, it's hard to believe that they won't be supported at some point. Huge sites like yahoo, amazon, etc. are based on tables and you can imagine what will happen if one day tables are gone.
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  21. #21
    Prolific Blogger silver trophy Technosailor's Avatar
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    I guess what I want to see is tabled design being the exception rather than the norm.
    Aaron Brazell
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  22. #22
    Free your mind Toly's Avatar
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    I can live with that as long as tables stay.
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  23. #23
    Prolific Blogger silver trophy Technosailor's Avatar
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    like we have said, I would not at all count on that. If I were you I would learn CSS. It's actually very easy. What happens if one day you do wake up and your site doesn't work on the newest IE and the layout is blank on Mozilla and image alignment is all out of skew in Opera? I'm afraid you are betting on something that is going to let you down in the long run.
    Aaron Brazell
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  24. #24
    Rabble Rouser bronze trophy
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    Tables aren't going anywhere. They're still part of the current specs and they haven't even been deprecated. Really, why would they be? They're still good for presenting tabular data.

    This is what they were meant for the entire time. Just because designers jumped on them to use them for page layout doesn't mean we should get rid of them. And no user-agent is ever going to see a table-based layout and say, "Wait a minute, this isn't tabular data!" and proceed to bork the page out of CSS-nazi revenge. The semantic web isn't here, and when it shows up don't expect it to be fascist.

    I'm all for proper markup and css design (most of my time here is in the css forum), but get real.

  25. #25
    Free your mind Toly's Avatar
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    That's exactly what I was thinking. I can't believe that someday IE or any other browser will stop supporting tables. Seems too unreal.
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