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  1. #1
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    Hi, Newbie Here:
    I'm starting out with website design services and I'm curious if any other web designers have any thoughts on CSS Layout vs. tables. Do you ever come accross customers who specify a preference? I'm concerned because I have mastered tables, but it would take me a lot longer to design using CSS as I don't write it as quickly as I do HTML. I'm wondering if I should suck it up and start writing CSS Layout so I get faster at it.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member
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    CSS Layouts are considered Better (tm). Search around the forums and you'll find plenty of advice on getting started with CSS.

  4. #3
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    I still code everything in tables and will continue to do so until css becomes more standardised.

  5. #4
    Senior Member -chris-'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by webfinity
    I still code everything in tables and will continue to do so until css becomes more standardised.
    More standardized? What do you mean?
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  6. #5
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    Yeah, almost every web designing forum I visit is flooded with CSS questions. I can't figure out if it's because these are new people just starting out or if it's because CSS layout just isn't that standardized like you said. I've never heard anyone say that tables are better, but I guess I'm just frustrated. It's like finding out that the language you just studied for 5 years is no longer spoken. It's not that I can't write CSS, it's just that I don't speak it fluently like I do tables. I can't figure out why people say tables are no good? Is it because they just don't understand tables, or if I'm just missing something all-together, because the tables I right are cross-browser/cross screen-size compatible. I realize that CSS layout has the benefit of updating 1 file for several pages, but honestly, once a template is created, how many times is it really edited anyway? The only thing I ever edit is the content and the styles (which I use a style sheet for). I guess if you were to create a humongous site, CSS layout would save a lot of time, but until I'm faced with that challenge, and until the Web 2.0 completely takes over, I'm a table man.

  7. #6
    Senior Member filburt1's Avatar
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    CSS has well-defined standards. It is up to the browser developers to implement them properly. Firefox does a pretty good job. Safari and Opera do a nearly perfect job. IE does a s*** job. However, it is quite easy to develop basic CSS-based layouts that work just fine in every single major browser with less code overall and more semantic code in general than tables.

    There is effectively no situation left where tables should be used for layout purposes, or anything other than showing data that you would put in Excel, for example.

    (Yes, tables are used here, but only because vBulletin still uses them, and it would not be practical to replace them all with CSS layouts given there are thousands of templates.)
    filburt1, Web Design Forums.net founder
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  8. #7
    Senior Member glyakk's Avatar
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    Let me try to ease some of your confusion, first, web 2.0 is nothing more than a marketing term conjured to excite clients and attract interest in this sort of new way of thinking of 'web applications' instead of 'websites'. I can understand your arguments about tables and I sympathize with you. If it works, why change, right?

    The problem is that tables were not orginally designed to do what they are doing. They were ment to organize tabular data and they do a wonderful job at that. But were shoe-horned and improvised to a total different task all together. This might not seem like a big problem but markup is by nature supposed to describe data and if the data in your table is not tabular data it is in all respects invalid. It would be like putting paragraphs in <H1> tags but styling it to look like regular body text. It will look fine, but software designed to scan your document and parse it for relevent information will not work properly. For instance, screen readers. Somebody who is blind depends on screen readers to be their 'audible monitor', the software goes though yoru document and 'speaks your site' to the user. It depends on your makrup being correct so the screen reader knows how to relate the information back to the user. Having said that i personally feel that if you can pay the bills using tables, good, use them. In many ways they are more intuitive than CSS based layouts since they work on a grid of sorts. Just be aware that you could be limiting your audience and even hurting your search engine rankings since good clean markup is an important part of your SEO program.

    However, the real benifit of css comes in organization. The ability to seperate structure from style. That might not be important to you, but I have found editing and coding table based layouts to be very time consuming because you are in a sea of <TD>'s, <TR>'s, and usually other molested markup. Using CSS guarentees that you do not alter your markup, only the way it is rendered on the screen.

    Personally I can now design a layout much faster using CSS than i ever could using tables. You are correct that many browsers, namly IE, do not cooperate very well when it comes to agreeing on how to render CSS properties.Tthat is a problem and solutions for the moment are a collection of hacks and work arounds that are no better than molesting tables, so the question of if CSS is better or not still begs to be answered and my response is this, browsers will contunue to support tables, probably forever and they all pretty much work across the board with only a few exceptions. So if using tables keeps your lights on and puts food on the table dont abandon them yet. But do put a hand on the pulse of CSS. With each new generation, browsers make improvments on how they render CSS. And the more support there is for CSS the more developers will adopt it and the farther behind people who still used tables will fall.


  9. #8
    Senior Member Shani's Avatar
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    Tables are like training wheels. Riding a bicycle is completely different without them!

    Most of my designs still follow a grid system. Only difference is, without the tables, different parts can overlap, size-matching become less of a hassle, and content size is a lot more flexible, with less code.

    In my opinion, if a designer cannot embrace CSS, they will lose touch with the industry. Furthermore, making adjustments for browser compatibility is part of the job of a web designer, the same way a programmer has to test and retest. Making changes is much easier with CSS, especially for re-designs.

    Training wheels are to build confidence. Streamlining will help you go further.
    Shani

    I have an eye for detail like you'd never believe.

  10. #9
    Senior Member glyakk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DCScene
    In my opinion, if a designer cannot embrace CSS, they will lose touch with the industry...
    I totally agree with you on that point. I dont hardly see professional designers asking questions on how to use tables anymore, all the talk and discussion is how to use CSS. What that means is people who use tables will become more alienated as time moves on.

    I also agree that it is hard to justify forcing somebody to switch to a new technology and make them start virutally all over again if they have already developed a certin style and level of professionlism in doing things they way they have been doing them.


  11. #10
    Junior Member EngAdven's Avatar
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    Anyone still designing table layout sites has probably not bothered to learn about accessibility either (table sites don't work well with screen readers used by the visibly impaired). Therefore I don't think they should dare call themselves a website designer because accessibility is a now legal requirement and as it's likely their sites will not comply, for which they could in theory be prosecuted.
    If people are struggling to learn CSS then they can always use some of the new CSS wizards to make the job easier like www.csswizard.net


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