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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Standars and compatibility

    The way I understand it, positioning with CSS and <DIV>'s is the way to go right now if you want to follow the standards. But, what if I want to both follow the standards and support all browsers?
    Should I opt for tables or div's and positioning with CSS?

  2. #2
    Gone!
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    Good question Mark, I would be interested in this answer too.

    I stumbled across this link not so long ago which basically says to reprimand anyone using tables when using XHTML.
    http://www.sizefactory.com/xhtml/

    But I am not so sure about dumping tables yet.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Zealot pony's Avatar
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    This thread contains an article that makes a good argument for tables still being useful. I think it's pretty good on the complexity of this issue too.

    http://www.sitepointforums.com/showt...threadid=66668
    the bottoms of my shoes are clean from walking in the rain

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    SitePoint Wizard
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    I'll be sure to read both (actually, I am reading the first one right now). I am building my first "big" website right now, and I want to do things by the book, so hence the question.
    I just ran this code through the strict validator of www.w3.org and it validated as XHTML 1.0 Strict, so tables are still a go I guess .

    Code:
    <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd">
    
    <html>
    <head>
    <title>Aquatric - The online outdoor sports and survival community</title>
    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1" />
    <meta name="author" content="Mark Traas" />
    <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="styles.css" />
    </head>
    
    <body>
    
    <table class="main" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0">
    	<tr>
    		<td align="center" valign="middle">
    		
    		<table class="content" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0">
    			<tr>
    				<td class="header"><img src="placeholder.gif" height="350" width="350" alt="Auqatric.com - The outdoor sports and survival community" /></td>
    			</tr>
    			<tr>
    				<td class="menu">
    				Home | About Aquatric | Community | Contact
    				</td>
    			</tr>
    		</table>
    		
    		</td>
    	</tr>
    </table>
    
    </body>
    </html>
    And besides, Skunk is one of the standards guru's here, so I'll go by his linked article and use tables .

  5. #5
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    as any xhtml/xml/standards fanatic will tell you, using tables purely for layout goes against the "spirit" of the standards.
    true...but in the real world, compromises have to be made.
    A List Apart has a classic and much referred to article about this http://www.alistapart.com/stories/journey/
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  6. #6
    Prolific Blogger silver trophy Technosailor's Avatar
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    well, in XHTML 1.0, tables are still okay. They are still used...but they are discouraged because upcoming release of XHTML 1.1 specs will deprecate tables in favor of CSS2 positioning.

    sketch
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  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Hmm.... but isn't CSS2 not very well supported? I mean, will browsers up from IE 4.0, NS 6.0 and Opera 5.0 display it the way it is meant to be?

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    Prolific Blogger silver trophy Technosailor's Avatar
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    I think you'll find historically that when the W3C releases new specs, they are NEVER supported and that's the point. It pushes the browsers to become more compliant. They always go ahead of where current technologies are.

    Sketch
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  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Originally posted by Sketch
    well, in XHTML 1.0, tables are still okay. They are still used...but they are discouraged because upcoming release of XHTML 1.1 specs will deprecate tables in favor of CSS2 positioning.
    What will happen to tabular data like spreadsheets when <table> is taken out? Or are they just deprecating their use in layouts?

  10. #10
    Prolific Blogger silver trophy Technosailor's Avatar
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    good question. I'm not sure.

    Sketch
    Aaron Brazell
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  11. #11
    Gone!
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    Originally posted by Mark T.


    And besides, Skunk is one of the standards guru's here, so I'll go by his linked article and use tables .
    Eh? Wheres Skunks linked article?

    [edit]

    Ignore me, I found it in the thread Pony linked to.

  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard iTec's Avatar
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    i was under the impression that tables would remain for use with tabular data and that the w3c advises against using them for layout allready.

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    SitePoint Zealot pony's Avatar
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    that was my understanding too - it's difficult to see how they could enforce their use purely for tabular data. Make it impossible to have a table with border set to '0'?
    the bottoms of my shoes are clean from walking in the rain

  14. #14
    Grumpy Mole Man Skunk's Avatar
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    Tables are staying in for tabulated data, because tabulated data by definition goes in a table This makes perfect sense - if you think about it using tables for layout (with colspans and rowspans) is pretty bizzare and is only common today because for years it was the only option. When you start using CSS for layout the difference at the code level is immense - all of a sudden instead of an inpenetrable and illogical mass of tables and nested tables you have clear markup with logical divs around the different structural elements of your site's layout, which can then be styled and positioned in the CSS.

    As for whether you should use CSS or tables at the moment, the kiler is NS4. If you absolutely have to get the look right in NS4 you need to stick with tables. If you don't mind NS4 getting a boring but functional page (and you don't mind learning a new way of working which still requires qutie a bit of work to get things looking right across multiple browsers) then move to CSS. I strongly recommend playing with CSS for layout anyway (on a personal site or just for the sake of it) as once you get the hang of it you'll be hooked

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    SitePoint Wizard
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    I'll go for tables for now then. I am curious as to when big websites will make the move from tables to div's though .

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    SitePoint Wizard iTec's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Mark T.
    I'll go for tables for now then. I am curious as to when big websites will make the move from tables to div's though .
    Not for a LOOOOOONG time, atleast untill IE has full support for css and NS4 has disapeared of the radars, and given the infrequency of major changes to the sites i wouldnt hedge a beat that sites such as Yahoo or MSN dont change for atleast 5+ years.

  17. #17
    Grumpy Mole Man Skunk's Avatar
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    I'm praying for the day a "big" site makes the move. Netscape 4 is really the only thing holding it back now - there's enough CSS support in IE/Mozilla/NS6/Opera to make CSS a valid (and better IMO thanks to the clarity of the code it produces) alternative to table layouts. NS4 is more than 5 years old now, and has been around for pretty much half the lifetime of the web!

    It's truly bizzare the number of sites that are quite happy to support IE and NS4 and block other browsers (such as Mozilla and Opera) for "not being supported". That's market forces for you I suppose

  18. #18
    SitePoint Wizard iTec's Avatar
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    just a quick point out, but even zeldman still use tables, it just goes to show the power of the NS4.x users!

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    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy TheOriginalH's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Skunk
    It's truly bizzare the number of sites that are quite happy to support IE and NS4 and block other browsers (such as Mozilla and Opera) for "not being supported". That's market forces for you I suppose

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  20. #20
    SitePoint Zealot pony's Avatar
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    Yup, totally understand the reasons for moving to css. But do you know if the w3c has hinted at how it might enforce the use of tables purely for their intended use?

    Perhaps this will have to remain a recommendation than a rule?
    the bottoms of my shoes are clean from walking in the rain

  21. #21
    Grumpy Mole Man Skunk's Avatar
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    They won't - they provide guidelines, not rules. You just need to remember that mobile 'net access is on its way and if you think your complex nested table layouts will render on a mobile phone you'll be in for a nasty shock. With CSS you could potentially serve up an alternative stylesheet (or no stylesheet at all) and have your content accessible from a whole myriad of devices.

  22. #22
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    Originally posted by pony
    Yup, totally understand the reasons for moving to css. But do you know if the w3c has hinted at how it might enforce the use of tables purely for their intended use?

    Perhaps this will have to remain a recommendation than a rule?
    unless i'm mistaken, the w3c can't "enforce" anything. they're the folks writing the recommendations, but the companies bringing out the browsers and the designers making web content aren't under any pressure to adhere to standards at all (only pressure is the one exerted by the users themselves). there's no w3c swat team ready to pounce on developers and web designer (although i could see how that could be fun in our organisation...i have a couple of web authors here that deserve to be poked with a tazer stick or something).
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  23. #23
    SitePoint Addict ThomasAesir's Avatar
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    You just need to remember that mobile 'net access is on its way and if you think your complex nested table layouts will render on a mobile phone you'll be in for a nasty shock.
    I can't see anyone browsing the Web on a mobile unless they have specially made sites for them. What screen resolutions do mobiles have anyway?

    Mainly stuff like Coca Cola competition sites, I guess.
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    SitePoint Zealot pony's Avatar
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    Sorry not making myself clear.

    What I mean is, in a future specification of XHTML how would you/could you enforce the correct use of tables within that spec. Such that attempting to validate a document declaring itself within that spec would return errors.

    Same as if you included unclosed tags in current versions of XHTML it would return errors when validated.

    Hope that is clearer.
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  25. #25
    Grumpy Mole Man Skunk's Avatar
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    By mobile 'net access I don't just mean mobile phones - I'm talking about PDAs, Tablet PCs (actually tablets come with a decent size screen so that's not such a problem), internet toasters The point is that thanks to wireless networking and other technical advances in a few years time there will be a huge number of people accessing the 'net from devices very different from a normal PC. Table layouts may work well in a traditional browser on a monitor but are unlikely to scale down well to alternative methods of accessing the web. If you keep your layout in CSS and code standards compliant HTML these alternative devices can ignore the CSS but still be able to access your content (or maybe use an alternative stylesheet optimised for whatever device it is).


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