Thread: Tables vs CSS

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    i could go on
    Please do (whenever you can spare the time). The point of this posting is to get at the bottom line... "why use CSS and not tables for layout" NOT "why you prefer CSS"...

    Up to now I still see no all round concrete points why anyone should forget about tables and convert blindly to CSS for layout.

    What are the benefits that CSS alone provides that tables fail to do in a less confusing and predictable manner without pieces of the code spread all over.
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    When I first started working with HTML, I used tables for the layout because that's all I had to use. It drove me nuts.

    I've since switched to all CSS layouts and I find it's much, much easier than tables. It makes the code cleaner and easier to read. With an external CSS file, you can change the layout for an entire site just by changing that one file. Simple.

    One thing I'd like to address from that article: "If a fully integrated CSS website that replaces all <table> tags with <div> tags is easier to maintain and setup, why do these same people charge the same number of hours to build or maintain a web site?" This has nothing to do with the validity of CSS. It just means that whatever designers the article is speaking about are taking advantage of the client.
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    Originally posted by webmasta
    without pieces of the code spread all over.
    They aren't 'spread all over'. It's the same concept as included files in programming. You have a piece of code that's common to all files, so instead of putting those same lines on every page, pull them out and stick them in their own file. Then, that one file is included into the other pages. Additionally, if you need to make changes to something in that block of code, it's done on one page, rather than having to open every page and make the change over and over again.
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    Noticed this wasn't mentioned:

    CSS is excellent if you are trying to promote your site via search engines.
    SE's love CSS.
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    as said before with css you got more controll over the flow in the document,

    the advantage of css is to have seperate content and layout,
    if done right you'll have a wellformed, structual document, which would be easier to maintain,
    aslo when you use templates,

    when you have a site with table-layout you have to alter the html to change the apperance,
    it would be tedious to alter a dozen template files, whereas with css you could have gotten a way with just altering a css file.

    but i have seen a lot of missuse of css,
    and overuse of div tags.
    people seems to think when they are changing to css-layout, they have to put a div tag around everything. or replace every tag with a div tag. ie.
    <div id="header">large text</div> or
    <div class="paragraph"> some text ... </div>
    whereas h-tag and p-tags would have been more suiteable.

    this is the main problem with some of the css-layouts out there, this aslo go for table-layots its imposible to have a wellformed/semantic document with lots of nested tables.
    this would be more apparent, as html is moving closer to xml.
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    1. Are there any benefits to using a full CSS integrated solution?

    - see the nesting example in my first post
    - search Google for "benefits css"
    You essentially make it harder to figure out where things go in design view, and on top of that, maintain it in the first place.
    This assumes you're using a WYSIWYG editor. Later it talks about the header always at the top, the footer always at the bottom, etc, etc. But with a full CSS integration, you can move the content to the top in the source so that the search engine spiders get to it first (b/c some stop after reading X bytes), but still have it appear after the header in the browser (assuming you're willing to use absolute positioning).

    About ROI: There's no study to show otherwise, nor to show an ROI on a table layout site that wouldn't have been achieved with a CSS site.

    About TCO: I don't think too many here have said you should move your site over to CSS, I wouldn't pay somebody to do that, but I would expect any new site I pay for to be done with full CSS.

    2. Full CSS makes surfing faster

    At the end of #1, the author sites "so-called statistics" from ESPN, then uses unsited statistics to make his or her next point. To me, this makes #2 not worth talking about, except ...
    What about the size of that initial .css file....that's going to be bigger; and then.... if you have one main .css file... who says they are going to visit enough pages on your web site anyway to really enjoy the benefits of having that extra large .css file download initially. Don't you want that first page to be fast?
    If you're a good designer and your site's worth the amount you paid for it's domain name, your visitors stay beyond the first page.

    3. Has an independent ROI ever been done?

    - see #1

    4. Easier to maintain or redesign a web site with a CSS only site in the long run.

    Again, the author assumes the use of a WYSIWYG editor.
    WHY do these same people charge the same number of hours to build and maintain a web site?"
    The author is mixing words here. The title of this section is "maintain" or "redesign", while this statement says "build" and "maintain". Build time will probably be the same (there are too many factors involved in building to use it in a table vs css debate), though for me (and those that type HTML by hand), it is less. The cost to maintain is the same b/c most charge with time minimums, so if something takes me five minutes, it's charged as 30, maybe even 60. This falls into an advantage of CSS ... it takes less time for the designer to maintain the site, so they are making the same money for less work ... oh wait, isn't that a ROI? (for the developer anyway)

    5. What about W3C standards and all the other stuff?
    What good are standards when browsers change so fast by adding new features every month?
    What browser adds new features every month?

    The point of standards is to normalize web design on the developer and user end. Developers should be able to follow the standards so that they know what to expect out of the browser, and browser developers should be able to build their browsers knowing what to expect the browser is going to have to handle.

    Additionally, following standards allows other applications to be built that use the HTML b/c the application knows what to expect.

    6. Separation of structure and content via css makes things more organized.

    - see #1
    All this separation (layers) sounds a lot like the layers of government beauracracy doesn't it?
    There are only two layers.

    7. Tables are for tabular data and not meant for web page layout whereas css is more suited for this.
    Last time I checked, most web sites use a database. And databases are just a bunch of tables in the first place, hence tabular data.
    ROTFLMAO

    "Tables are for tabular data" means tables are meant to be used to display data in a tabular format, not to dispay any data stored in a table. IOW, they should be used to replicate the table being used to store the data, where columns are fields and rows are records. Just b/c data comes from a table, doesn't mean it's being displayed as tabular data.

    8. Use of fully integrated css for accessibility reasons.

    - see #5
    the non-visual browser can easily tell what it is and where it should go via a standard prefix in the name.

    <table>
    <tr>
    <td width=80%" id="BODY__ArmstrongWins5thTourDeFrance">
    I though the author was against standards? So instead of learning usefull CSS standards, I'm suppose to learn this crazy BODY__ prefix?
    IF anything, these non-visual browsers need to more intelligent and not dictate to 99.99% of the population on how to surf
    They don't dictate to the general surfing population how to surf, they dictate to the developing community how to build, which is exactly what the author suggests with the BODY__ "standard".

    9. CSS is just another tool, you just have to spend time learning it and you can appreciate it.
    What about learning new math TOOLS? High school math teaches synthetic division. But is this used in the real world?
    Not by everybody, no. But I'm sure there are those out there with a particular job that requires using this (or any other obscure) math. And CSS isn't intended to be used by everybody, only those with the job of developing a web site.

    12. When the underlying structure is sound, and when CSS delivers your layout, your site may work as well in a Palm Pilot, screenr eader, or web-enabled phone as it does in traditional browsers.
    So, if CSS can't even get it right on browswers like IE, Mozilla or Netscape, just how in the world will CSS get it right for a 2inch x 3inch Palm Pilot?
    It's not CSS that gets it wrong, it's the browsers, and more so the operating systems. This all goes back to why we need standards.

    The author obviously misses the point that in the case of other viewing media, you can build your site once, script it once, etc, and then have CSS handle how that resulting data is displayed, or even if it's displayed, in different media.

    13. Standards are always chaning, you just have to keep up.

    Well this is true, but I don't think you should jump to have your site rebuilt to match the latest standard, but as a developer, standards affect you, so you have to keep up with them.
    Last edited by jharnois; October 22nd, 2003 at 11:09 AM.
    # Jeremy

    Explain your problem instead of asking how to do what you decided was the solution.
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    Hey all, I am going to have to buy the book. I am a rookie, no doubt, and am interested in css, well,,, after reading the debate I will stay tuned to see all the replies. Any other posts like thi one I may want to know about? You know, something to confuse me more? I should probably stick with beginners.
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    here are 2 good links

    why tablesfor layout are bad
    http://www.hotdesign.com/seybold/index.html

    and
    Top 10 Reasons to Learn CSS
    http://www.sessions.edu/newsletter/S...interview.html
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    I also prefer CSS design because of it's global nature. You can change one css file and have your entire site layout affected. That's a nice feature. Tables have their place... I still use them and I'm sure I will for a long time. I still do you them for some positioning, but I am slowly changing completely over to CSS.

    Chris

    PS. Hi Akh. It's 5am on the Eastern US Seaboard here. What time is it in Norway?! HA! I gotta look...
    Pop, pop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is!
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