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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Dec 2006
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    Hi. Would you prefer html tables or css positioning and why?


  3. #2
    Member Jason Wilson's Avatar
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    Nov 2006
    Perrin Creek Floodplain - Hayes, VA
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    CSS Positioning wins hands down over tables and I think you'll find very few arguments to the contrary.

    Tables add a lot of excess code to the page causing longer load time (sometimes this isn't a noticeable incease but it should be availded anyway). The other drawback is in the way they load, the entire structure of the table has to load before the contents so someone on a slow connection will be staring at blank space for a long time.

    I'm sure there are other reasons but personally it is just easier to me to use CSS for layout and tables for tabular data.
    Go n-ithe an cat thu is go n-ithe an diabhal an cat.

  4. #3
    Senior Member rosland's Avatar
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    Jul 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Wilson
    Tables add a lot of excess code to the page causing longer load time ...
    Not entirely true, but CSS is definitely the better option.

    CSS enables you to separate content from styling, which is a biggie when talking about maintainability and rapidly changing content.
    It also gives you a lot of design options not available when using tables, which were primarily a construct to present tabular data.

    As the web grew, designers had no tools for design as the early internet was textually based and had little if no presentation tools. A lot of the early web exchanges (between universities) had the need to produce tabular data. That is why the framework for tables came to be. As the web spread outside the institutional sphere, designers needed a way to separate images from text. The only tool available were tables. They were quite ingenious, and managed to produce some awfully impressive layouts just through utilizing the table frame, hence there are a lot of table based layouts still floating around.

    Unfortunately, that tradition has stayed alive after the W3 community invented better tools for the job.
    Learn those tools, and you will find there are endless possibilities compared to tables. A lot of effects are included that required a scripting language earlier. Examples could be roll-over effects or hidden boxes popping up when you roll the mouse over a link or image.

    Roll with the technology, don't try to learn pastmasters work arounds for lack of technology when that technology is available today.
    S. Rosland

  5. #4
    Senior Member hyperair's Avatar
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    May 2005
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    I've another reason to promote CSS positioning over tables. Tables render quite slowly in most browsers. A friend of mine tested some Javascript animation on a page where the tables had to be re-rendered and one where only divs were re-rendered. The latter worked smoothly, but the former was an utter disaster.

    Of course, you wouldn't normally encounter such problems, but it was crucial for my friend and I. Tables for tabular data, however I don't object to. I mean, how could you simulate the tabular structure while allowing the columns to be dynamically sized using CSS? It's impossible! If I was mistaken, someone please tell me because I'd like to get rid of the tables in the forum my friend and I are building.

  6. #5
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    Apr 2004
    Cottage Grove, Minnesota
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    720 times
    There is a purpose for tables (tabular data).

    They are meant to arrange data in a table, not as a means of positioning.

  7. #6
    Senior Member karinne's Avatar
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    Dec 2003
    Aylmer QC Canada
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    ^ Agree ... it's not even a question of "which do you prefer". It's dead simple ... tables aren't for positioning your site it's for tabular data.

    Here's a link to a thread I just created that might be usefull - Resources for learning how to use CSS for layout
    [a web design portfolio - Currently NOT AVAILABLE for work | web design | Re-coding | PSD-to-HTML]
    I'm also on: virb - facebook - twitter - flickr -

  8. #7
    Senior Member
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    Feb 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by ranteo
    Hi. Would you prefer html tables or css positioning and why?
    you have just asked one of the biggest controversial web design related questions out there.

    Each side has it's own pro's and con's.
    for the person who uses tables:
    • there is no need to adhere to a css validation
    • it is faster
    • tables are better supported

    • tables are not for layout, they are used for information
    • they can get hard to follow
    • imbedded tables can't always be read by speech, text, or phone browsers

    the css layout:
    • is becomeing better supported
    • gives one better control over the look of the site
    • it is easier to edit
    • style sheets can be seperate
    • all your mark up is info, so search engines spider better
    • over all smaller size if you use style sheets in externeal files because there is no repeat info

    • sometimes it's not supported
    • if the browser doesn't download the style sheet your layout can look like a mess(users may choose there own style sheet over riding yours)
    • it is sometimes not supported

    i prefer hybrid sites these types use both tables, and css
    Thee Pyro Wolf

  9. #8
    Senior Member Steax's Avatar
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    Dec 2006
    Bandung, Indonesia
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    if the browser doesn't download the style sheet your layout can look like a mess(users may choose there own style sheet over riding yours)
    This is part of the skill of a designer - to make sure a page still renders correctly without the CSS.

    I have one big, simple reason why I use CSS over table layouts: they are soooo hard to understand, which part is which, where is where! In CSS it's really easy, the ids/classes themselves are self-stating, they point directly to the CSS file, which is usually as plain as "float: left", which is much more descriptive than it being the first <td> in a table.
    Note on code: If I give code, please note that it is simply sample code to demonstrate an effect. It is not meant to be used as-is; that is the programmer's job. I am not responsible to give you support or be held liable for anything that happens when using my code.

  10. #9
    Senior Member Shani's Avatar
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    Nov 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by pyrodragon
    if the browser doesn't download the style sheet your layout can look like a mess(users may choose there own style sheet over riding yours)
    I agree with Steax in that if a site is well designed, and in this case of design I am talking about the code, the CSS just enhances it. As a designer, I can say design is nothing next to proper syntax! So, make sure your (X)HTML is solid!

    Let's be real though, most people do not disable style sheets. The biggest reason people disable stylesheets is for text size, so make sure you use relative text sizes and you'll be fine.

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

  11. #10
    Senior Member leprechaun13's Avatar
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    May 2005
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    Ive used to use tables all the time and redcently made the switch to CSS and id agree that it does load faser although not a considerable differnce and barly noticable on a 10MB connection, and it provideds far better yling options
    Regards Phil,

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