I am relatively new to CSS, about 8 months of experience, and I thought I was ready to make the switch to a purely CSS development method (ditching tables for good) but I have found some disturbing trends in the CSS community that keep me from doing so.
Two main issues that are all too prevalent are:
(1) The complete disregard for visual layout when text is sized by the user
and directly connected to this issue:
(2) Many CSS designs are giving up fluid design (content areas can resize as the browser window or text is resized) in favor of set page width. Both of these issues seem directly related to the limits CSS has with designing multi column page layout.
Often times a simple table structure can accomplish the same visual layout as an all CSS design while still allowing for resizing text and fluid page design. As far as usability and accessibility are concerned a simple table layout with no nested tables would function the same as an all CSS design.
After that very lengthy prelude, the question that is inevitable and seems to pop up from time to time with newbies such as myself:
Is pure CSS design so important to obtain that no one cares if text overflow and set width pages cause the visual design to “break” when resized? Especially when a simple table layout (no nesting) can accomplish the same design, usability and accessibility while still allowing the end user to view the site with a larger font size and/or window size.
I apologize for the lengthy post but this has been an issue on my mind for some time now. CSS purists are preaching more and more that tables as a layout tool must give way to CSS standards but I am beginning to think that being pure may not be the best route to take. I hope that this post generates some good feedback for everyone. Thanks!