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  1. #1
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    And *still* some folk prefer tables and javascipt...

    Today has been a great reminder of the many plusses of css-based work.

    I've spent most of today recoding a site to 'almost-archive' it... needed to free the server space for an updated variant - and as the old one still gets good feedback and is a handy reference, rather than bury it completely I decided to go with an 'old work' directory and physically (rather than mess around with a server redirect) move the stuff into /oldsite/v1/. [And, with my 'twisted marketer' mentality I'm happy for the search engines and other links to throw 404 errors - just like the supermarkets moving stuff around it'll bring fresh exposure to other content.]

    With table-based structure, javascript image swaps (LOTS of them), and no server includes for repeated elements I expected it to take a little while... and, with some old errors of which I'd been aware but not previously sorted, rather than bring Dreamweaver out of retirement I decided to get under the hood and rework the urls with 'search/cut-and-paste'.

    Oh boy... what fun. It really illustrates the advantages of css - a million image calls wouldn't have been there... nor the miscoded table colors I should have fixed earlier ('twas only a few missing # and they rendered fine... but it was a mistake nonetheless - and one that required fixing).

    And, what an ungainly mess the code seems with all those tr/td etc. Plus all the bloated 40k/page DW imageswap nonsense (I've long-said their code is poor - and stuck with it simply through laziness). Like walking in a foreign land.

    Long-story-short... it's not been fun nor a productive use of time. But, when I originally coded that siet I couldn't do css beyond simple styling to reduce tagsoup.

    Here's the point... and one for those who're still struggling (er - that's probably everyone) with css and tempted to stick with tables & js image swaps.

    Whilst getting a good working grasp of css is tough... it really is worthwhile. My advice is simple... rather than shaving upfront time by using tables and a wysiwyg editor, spend the time learning css and craft simple robust layouts which you can restructure and embellish as your expertise and experience develop.

    There's absolutely no shame in 'I don't know how' ...asking for help is how we all learn.

    Oh yeah... and a non-css topic... use server includes too. It saves so much time.

    ;-)
    Last edited by gulliver; Mar 5, 2005 at 04:46.

  2. #2
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    i've just started to read up on CSS. when i was in college, CSS was just coming out and i became, i feel, proficient in using tables to lay out sites. yes, it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks but with all i read about using css to lay out sites, i'd like to get up to speed on it.

    having used tables for 6-7 years now, anyone have tips on how i can get over the mental battle of wrapping my head around using CSS for layouts instead of tables? or some good css tutorials/article sites to get me up to speed? (yes, i'll read the stuff on sitepoint - in fact, i think i've damn near every article on this site over the last three years!)

  3. #3
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    Zeldman. Doug Bowman. Dan Cederholm. Eric Meyer.

    You can learn a lot from these forums.

    My observation is too many folk get sidetracked into needless complexity and attempt fancy stuff when they'd be better with simpler and more robust layouts.
    Last edited by gulliver; Mar 4, 2005 at 11:05.

  4. #4
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    are you referring to "complexity" as using tables as opposed to css?

    or "complexity" being a more "complex" designed site?

    im all about clear and simple and easy to maintain. i'm assuming it'll be easier to find my content that needs updatating when im not trying to look thru my html to find the one <td> that holds the information nested deeply within potentially a buttload of tables.

  5. #5
    Non-Member Egor's Avatar
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    It seems a number of the top web design companies couldn't care less about web standards. And, belive it or not, they look like they're still in business. The problem is they've probably been in the game for a fair while now, and tables, at the beginning, have worked for them. So why change? They still have the mad-as work-flow.

    It's quite disappointing really, as all they care about is the $$.

  6. #6
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    >are you referring to "complexity" as using tables as opposed to css?
    or "complexity" being a more "complex" designed site?

    I'm talking 'features which are complex to code, often unreliable and which commonly detract from the overall impact'... like... er... you guess... cos if I mention 'dropdown menus' again... seriously... there's a lot of attempted 'forcing of behaviour' through hackery... why vertically center something? ... why must the footer alway be pinned to the floor (it's simpler to just code pages which work well in reasonable resolutions)... why nest navlists 4 deep... or code for old browsers?

    >I'm all about clear and simple and easy to maintain.

    Yeah right - I've seen your source. ;-)

    And...

    >...top web design companies couldn't care less... The problem is... So why change? They still have the mad-as work-flow.

    SFW. Some folk still smoke and beat-on their families. We have choice as to how we live.

    It's quite disappointing really, as all they care about is the $$.

  7. #7
    Non-Member Egor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gulliver
    SFW. Some folk still smoke and beat-on their families.
    Sort of resembles me.

    Quote Originally Posted by gulliver
    We have choice as to how we live.
    Yeah, some just fail to 'see' or 'care' about that choice though, and that's what I was getting at.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by gulliver
    >
    >I'm all about clear and simple and easy to maintain.

    Yeah right - I've seen your source. ;-)
    let me start of by saying the biggest thing that deters me from posting in any forum is the fact that there's always someone that feels the need to slam your work, put you down, and flat out be negative rather then positive and encouraging (which i find extremely discouraging when looking for help esp. when you have a hard time asking for it). i posted here to get up to speed on CSS - not judged by whatever source code you were looking at which may or may not have even been written by me. to base a retort like that when i've come here looking to improve upon what you're putting down, has me a little choked right now. you have no idea the work i've done for companies to back up what i've said from a simple "view source code" to what is minimal code compared to the projects i've done the backend coding for which included cleaning up crappily written code by someone else that obviously had no clue what they were doing. it's all i've done in my career - clean up someone elses mess! i came here to help clean up my own mess and dont see how that comment added anything to the thread.
    </rant>
    (my apologies for blasting some negativity back but it's my biggest pet peeve when it comes to forums and usually enough to make me stop frequenting forums which i really dont want to do with sitepoint!)

    now that i've got a good grasp on database/backend programming, i'm a in the process of getting back up to speed with frontend programming and more so into SEM.

    i am fortunately one of the companies that does believes in web standards from a software engineering perspective which i've expressed in any org that i'm working for; however, change is VERY slow and a huge fear i seem to see in a lot of the companies i've worked for. seems more industry standard to have what i refer to as a "swamp" rather then a proper software development platform.

    i've just started implementing CSS into my sites to get away from using a lot of deprecated formatting and now i want to extend that to getting away from using tables to lay out my sites. change is even slower when you're a one-person shop with a full-time job, part-time school, sports, and about 14+ projects on the go at home (and thankful i dont have a wife and kids to juggle as well)

    in the words of Shrek, change is good donkey!

  9. #9
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    There's nothing wrong with using Tables and in some cases it's the best solution, what gets me is when I see stylesheeting INSIDE of tables. Use the tables thats fine, but use CLASSES to structure your tables. Instead of <table width="100%" bgcolor="#FFF"> etc etc.. create a stylesheet and use <table class="table1">. CSS and Tables can co-exist quite nicely!!

    No need to go totally Anti-Table
    IDM Firm.com
    Internet Design & Marketing Firm

  10. #10
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    >not judged by whatever source code you were looking at...

    You didn't notice the smiley? >>I've seen your source. ;-)

    Besides, you responded to a thread initiated by me... and I immediately answered your query of >some good css tutorials/article sites with >>Zeldman. Doug Bowman. Dan Cederholm. Eric Meyer. ... perhaps the four finest sources.

    So you took something the wrong way... get over it and move on. Life's too short.

  11. #11
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    I agree with idmfirm. Tables still have their uses and I'm seeing alot of people hopping on the CSS-only bandwagon and assuming that _everything_ should be done in CSS - even when its something that makes very logical sense to be presented in a tabular way.

    And let's not forget another good reason why tables are still in use - backwards compatibility. Old browsers don't cater for CSS, and new browsers have different standards for how to handle attributes. About 10% of my sites are using CSS-only, 50% are using a hybrid of tables and CSS, and the remaining 40% stick with tables because clients have specifically emphasized the need for certain browser support. There's not much you can do there.

  12. #12
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    In rounding-off and moving-on (I've covered the original purpose for posting) from a thread I started...

    >even when its something that makes very logical sense to be presented in a tabular way.

    That something is really 'tabular data'.
    In contrast, Doug Bowman has a fine contact form in a table. Dan Cederholm uses a more semantic deflist.

    >backwards compatibility. Old browsers don't cater for CSS.

    When qualified with 'often and reliably' that's a valid though increasingly less-so point. The majority - perhaps 90% - of users are MSIEWin-based - most of whom use v5-6 which have 'similar' and reasonable (when crafted accordingly) css support. Around half of the remainder use Mac - for which even MSIEMac5 offers reasonable (when crafted accordingly) css support. Those using Linux probably are not disadvantaged by css-based sites... and impaired users with special browsers are usually better-off with css-based sites. The 'not supported' as stated really only applies to NN4, IE3 and other 5 year old browsers.

    >clients have specifically emphasized the need for certain browser support. There's not much you can do there.

    There's much can be done. Of which Zeldman speaks eloquently in DWWS.

    Bottom line, there's really only one reason to remain table-based... ignorance of the shift and the reasons therefor (which again are well covered by Zeldman)... with a dash of laziness. As ESPN and others illustrate, there are absolutely no user-benefit reasons to remain table-oriented. Many folk still cling to the 'well amazon/google don't' line... and it'll be interesting to see how fast they shift their thinking when those examples eventually change.

    'I came to bury tables - not to praise them'... with my case for the prosecuting now rendered I'm away - having unsubscribed from notifications... adieu. If anyone has a point for me personally reach me appropriately... otherwise talk among yourselves.

    I leave you with this:

    http://digital-web.com/articles/eric_meyer/

    ;-)


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