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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Cant get away from using tables

    Hi all

    Everything I've learned over the years comes down to "stay away from tables" unless maybe displaying some tabular data, I've recently started using Joomla an open source CMS, but I'm finding it very hard to customize any of the templates to display pure css, side bars menus, footer etc use <div>'s but as soon as I display any blog, or article related stuff the tables kick in.

    My main concern here is how all the content in the database gets seen by the user-agent, I currently have a site of a PR 4 in googles SERP which I hard coded in DW, this is the site I'm trying to convert over to Joomla and very worried I might lose any ranking. It just doesn't feel right using tables, all the hard work to meet standards etc

    Questions
    1. Is it ok to use tables in this type of situation?
    2. How will it effect my ranking?

    or

    Stay away form this CMS it's just going to cause you problems?

    Just so you know it's about 70&#37; pure CSS and 30% tables.

    Thanks any views much appreciated
    The more you learn.... the more you learn there is more to learn.

  2. #2
    billycundiff{float:left;} silver trophybronze trophy RyanReese's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by computerbarry View Post
    Hi all

    My main concern here is how all the content in the database gets seen by the user-agent, I currently have a site of a PR 4 in googles SERP which I hard coded in DW, this is the site I'm trying to convert over to Joomla and very worried I might lose any ranking. It just doesn't feel right using tables, all the hard work to meet standards etc

    Questions
    1. Is it ok to use tables in this type of situation?
    2. How will it effect my ranking?

    or

    Stay away form this CMS it's just going to cause you problems?

    Just so you know it's about 70% pure CSS and 30% tables.
    Thanks any views much appreciated
    As long as the stuff in tables are information then it is ok to use tables. Your ranking will depend.. Google does not index the semantics of the code, but rather the information. You shouldn't be efected all that much I would think. Better layed out sites, in terms of semantics, makes it easier to read / index the page so you should actually go up!
    Always looking for web design/development work.
    http://www.CodeFundamentals.com

  3. #3
    Theoretical Physics Student bronze trophy Jake Arkinstall's Avatar
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    Wrong.

    CSS-based markup is better in terms of semantics. Put tables in, and the information is harder to read from a program point of view.
    Jake Arkinstall
    "Sometimes you don't need to reinvent the wheel;
    Sometimes its enough to make that wheel more rounded"-Molona

  4. #4
    billycundiff{float:left;} silver trophybronze trophy RyanReese's Avatar
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    And google bots find it harder to index so your PR will actually increase if you redid your site!! If you know enough CSS and HTML to convert your layout from tables to semantic markup, you shouldn't even be bothering with CMS's and try to make one yourself.
    Always looking for web design/development work.
    http://www.CodeFundamentals.com

  5. #5
    whagwan? silver trophybronze trophy akritic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanReese View Post
    If you know enough CSS and HTML to convert your layout from tables to semantic markup, you shouldn't even be bothering with CMS's and try to make one yourself.
    Well, to create your own CMS you'd need a little more than HTML & CSS? Some kind of server-side language would be required, as would a database no doubt..

    You won't loose any PR because that comes from inbound links... Just make sure you re-direct any old pages to the new ones.

  6. #6
    billycundiff{float:left;} silver trophybronze trophy RyanReese's Avatar
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    True but if he really want's to advance his skill he can at least create teh layout and use PMS to fill in the void where server-side languages are needed. That's what I do sometimes if I need a complex application.
    Always looking for web design/development work.
    http://www.CodeFundamentals.com

  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard
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    CSS-based markup is better in terms of semantics. Put tables in, and the information is harder to read from a program point of view.
    exactly that is my main concern

    And google bots find it harder to index so your PR will actually increase if you redid your site!! If you know enough CSS and HTML to convert your layout from tables to semantic markup,
    google bots find it harder?? I thought thats what you want isn't to get indexed, and my old site doesn't have a table in sight.

    Well, to create your own CMS you'd need a little more than HTML & CSS? Some kind of server-side language would be required, as would a database no doubt..
    yes exactly what a CMS offers, most of the work is done for you, but again the sacrifice over sloppy code (tables)

    You won't loose any PR because that comes from inbound links... Just make sure you re-direct any old pages to the new ones.
    yes thanks I'm hoping to keep the site near exact, well try my best anyway

    To me it';s all about the information I've never submitted any xml sitemaps to google or ever submitted my site to any search engines, my PR has been gained through what I can only gather as rich & quality content (with out tables)

    Thanks for the input guys
    Last edited by computerbarry; Jan 9, 2009 at 12:58.
    The more you learn.... the more you learn there is more to learn.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Enthusiast bobsmithmoodeyit's Avatar
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    css is the way to go for seo.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard Stomme poes's Avatar
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    Bah. Simple tables are doable. Look at all the nasty tabled sites who do well and even (gasp!) got indexed by several search bots. Thing is, search bots don't need too many semantics: a title tag, some header tags, and readable content. I mean, bots can't actually read. And they've had... more than a decade experience crawling through steaming piles of tabled layouts now?

    Where you get into trouble is when human beings try to read or navigate a site using a linear user agent, while you have nested tables. Screen readers and text browsers would pretty much be it, along with any user agents with CSS off (some mobiles, either don't support or people turn the CSS off for a better browsing experience). These folks are the ones who may have trouble following your site because to them many semantics matter (if something's a header, a link, a graphic, a list, a table, a form...) and they have to be able to understand the flow of the page.
    A regular simple table won't necessarily cause a problem, but an irregular table or nested tables will set your source order all out of whack. I saw a really good example of this on a site I wish I could find... I believe the page was about tables, if they really were all that bad, and screen readers.

    Anyhoo, I just ran across a Mambo page (teh OLD Joomla) and the HTML/CSS wasn't even all that bad. More divs than necessary, yes, and a font 5 times too small, and some other quibbles, but it wasn't bad.

    Are you sure Joomla forces tables on people? I see so many with divv'd layouts (not necessarily good ones, but...).

  10. #10
    SitePoint Evangelist JordashTalon's Avatar
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    I actually had this same situation about 2 years ago, I was able to move to completely CSS Fluid layouts and program multiple Joomla Templates, i'd recommend becoming more familiar with CSS Layouts, especially reading the tutorials on this site about moving from Tables to CSS I also bought the book that SitePoint offers about Tableless design which teaches someone with the mindset of Tables to move to Tableless design, I highly recommend it. Also I used Joomla for two years but I'm actually now switching to Drupal and/or Wordpress, Joomla 1.5 was too buggy for me IMO but that's just personal preference.

    Oh yeah and Tables aren't that bad for Search Engine Purposes, while CSS does play a small role in Search Engine Readability it's more about Faster loading, easier management etc.. I'd definitely recommend switching from tables as soon as you can.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    .......... I saw a really good example of this on a site I wish I could find... I believe the page was about tables, if they really were all that bad, and screen readers .........
    Is this what you were thinking about, Stomme poes? :

    http://www.webaim.org/techniques/tables/

    JFP

  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard Stomme poes's Avatar
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    Oh Gawd yes, James, I'll never forget that toilet!! Thanks. Though I had also mixed that site with another one in my head (I thought they were the same page):

    The other one I remember was fairly unstyled and just text that I was reading, which went into some detail about axis and headers attributes (which was what I had been searching for at the time)...
    and that one was this: http://www.ferg.org/section508/accessible_tables.html


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