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Jared
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Hello, would someone feel so inclined to examine this thread?

<<<thread removed by Jared>>>

It seems I've caused some trauma and I would actually like to know the truth behind the CSS vs. Table layouts.

Is table layouts considered Dirty code?
And is the All CSS layout with CMS systems actually possible?

This is a heated thread that I actually have myself questioning my understanding of the argument.

I seem to have annoyed someone about the notion that an all CSS layout isn't possible with things like Mambo.

Jared

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Ignorance or Arogance

Well, that's like saying an all-CSS layout isn't possible with phpBB (check out this forum - it is a CSS-based layout whereas phpBB was originally coded in tables). As a general rule, tables are more robust and will stand up to poor coding better than CSS. That still doesn't make one inherently better than the other. Many CSS afficionados feel that clean XTML and CSS are the better way to go - lower page weights, faster display, better SEO, better accessibility, and so on.

As for your post on the other forum - if you want an opinion, you came on rather strong in what appeared to be a thread with both a question and answer component and reasonably informed debate. The gratuitous snarkiness of your response to stephenrs, a new member,

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ummm you came in with a question and in two posts you I guess [sic] decide to reveal that you are an expert
seemed quite out of place and I hope you don't demonstrate that tone here. While the member admits to being new to Open Realty, they appear to have some experience with template modification and are conversant with the major issues of tables vs. CSS, know how to code php to CSS templates, and who knows, maybe they ARE a professional developer, despite disagreeing with you.

So what did you expect people to say here? Your arguments verge on Ad Hominem and I doubt stephenrs will want to bother with your forum any longer. Satisfied?

DE

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Jared
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Thanks for your reply

Nope, not looking for a JURY just an answer. Not really seeking suporters so to speak, just more along the lines of how this very issue of CSS vs Tables can grow out of hand.

I'm sorry. I think Tables are valid code just like CSS. CSS is cleaner, but the use of tables doesn't make a designer a bad coder.

So, Are tables considered dirty code?

Is all CSS possible given the CMS systems don't in fact render such ways.

That was the basis of my attitude. CSSCreator Forums were hacked to get it CSS though its not native that way.

Jared

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Ignorance or Arogance

P.S. it was a little out of line so I edited that post.

Jared

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Wow! That forum must be populated by Windows oriented folk—it's way too polite for *nix Smile

Table layouts are indeed 'dirty'. They add a tremendous amount of code tare, which is the usual argument, though it is specious. The real reasons are that 1) html is a structural markup language, and 2) xhtml is a structural (from html) and a descriptive (semantic, from xml) language.

A table layout is not representative of the structure of the page. The column and row data have no positional relationships. By example, switching the content of two cells does not affect the meaning of the content. Switching the data between, say, the weight and the age columns of a real table structure renders the data useless.

A table layout is not semantic as it does not describe the content. In an actual table, the meaning (semantic) is derived or inferred from its position in the table. As a layout, we can make no such inference.

As to cms, blog, and bb apps, most output pretty ugly html. If they're open source, it's up to you whether or not to fix them. The phpBB app is written as tables. You may have noticed, though, that Tony has almost completely refactored the code to output well structured html + css. It probably took him more than an afternoon to do and YMMV, so you'll have to decide whether the pay-off is there.

cheers,

gary

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Thanks Gary,

Tables are tired old dogs. CSS is not just difficult for the novice they are down right impossible for some.

I hope I don't come across as being the advocate for tables in contrast to CSS. My objective is really as I stated above. I would hate for people to take the attitude against designers who do table layouts as somewhat chincy or bad coders.

Obviously I have a personal motive in there since I first design websites in Photoshop CS and then cut them apart for layout within the budget restraints. It may require for speed that I use tables since I can do that in a few hours where CSS may take much longer given browser testing and my current skill level. I fear that someone would consider my table layouts bad designs.

I often comment and compare on templates from Template Monster since so many in the design community guage the quality of design either up or down of those examples. Nearly all TM templates are table layouts. Just FYI.

I see the new forum member did in fact return as DCElliott put it

Quote:
So what did you expect people to say here? Your arguments verge on Ad Hominem and I doubt stephenrs will want to bother with your forum any longer. Satisfied?

Nope. Satisfied? Wasn't my objective. Defense of designers was. He's back and appears to be just fine.

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No one here would say that "tables are not valid code " as that is plainly a spurious argument. Table elements perform their function very well. Does using tables make a designer a bad designer ? not really, although that depends on how they are being used. If it's for complicated layouts then the designer is likely being lazy or running scared of implementing CSS fully, or hiding behind the argument that tables are more stable cross browser.

So no, tables are not considered dirty code. The problem lies not with tables per se but with the use of them for layouts, the designers misuse of them.

In a standards based environment like this forum, geared to the use and understanding of CSS, your not really going to hear much support for outmoded techniques. Tables are not meant to be used in this way. They are for tabular data and when used as such are fine and dandy and much fun to use.

In theory there should be no reason why anything cant be coded to strict CSS-P, Tony managed to convert this PHPBB from table layout to CSS without too much problem, and I'm sure Mambo can be as well, it's really down to the skill level of the developer.

As for that thread, you did post it up, so should expect some comments on it here. I read as much as I could be bothered to and have to agree with David, Ad Hominem, very probably, what form of though.

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Jared wrote:
I would hate for people to take the attitude against designers who do table layouts as somewhat chincy or bad coders.
Obviously I have a personal motive in there since I first design websites in Photoshop CS and then cut them apart for layout within the budget restraints. It may require for speed that I use tables since I can do that in a few hours where CSS may take much longer given browser testing.

When people talk about using tables because it's faster or that's what they're more familiar with, I have to assume that it's because their CSS skills aren't good enough to be able to the do the same with CSS. That in my eyes makes them a lesser designer/coder than someone who can accomplish a design in about the same time using both methods.
In view of the arguments for CSS layouts that have been outlined in this thread, 'speed of development time' just doesn't cut it as a valid argument for using tables.

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Ummmm, OK.

Jared

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BTW: whose ignorance/arrogance does the topic title refer to?

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Well Tyssen, No One!;

If you go all the way to the top of this thread you will see;

Is table layouts considered Dirty code?
And is the All CSS layout with CMS systems actually possible?

But I'm guessing that there must be a full moon somewhere because the response I've gotten is militant at best, and outright angry at worst. Which I still can't figure why.

Again, I asked the questions to see if its "ignorance/arrogance" in assuming either. Is it arrogant or ignorant to assume that tables are clean code for example. It wasn't directed toward a person per se.

You see, my understanding of CSS is that you cant have a little knowledge you need the whole package or none at all. Nothing in the middle will really work because its an exacting solution with a greater degree of attention than say tables which are forgiving of mistakes.

Jared

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Jared wrote:
If you go all the way to the top of this thread you will see:
Is table layouts considered Dirty code?
And is the All CSS layout with CMS systems actually possible?

Yes, I did read that, but that didn't answer the question. That's why I asked it.

Jared wrote:
But I'm guessing that there must be a full moon somewhere because the response I've gotten is militant at best, and outright angry at worst. Which I still can't figure why.

Not sure whose posts your referring to, but if you're referring to mine, you're attributing a 'tone' to my writing that's just not there.

Jared wrote:
You see, my understanding of CSS is that you cant have a little knowledge you need the whole package or none at all. Nothing in the middle will really work because its an exacting solution with a greater degree of attention than say tables which are forgiving of mistakes.

If you're learning to be a doctor, lawyer, engineer, plumber, electrician or whatever you have to spend a good few years of training. Why should web designing be different?
The problem is that nearly anyone can produce a website with a limited amount of knowledge. I've had a little amount of knowledge in that area for at least 8 years but it's only in the last 3-4 that I've gained enough to get to the point where I feel comfortable in calling myself a web designer.
If you want to make web designing your profession (and I'm still not at that stage yet), I feel there should be no shortcuts which means having the 'whole package' and not designing with a method which is 'forgiving of mistakes'.

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I was just past the starting stage of learning html with table layout when I met css. Let me tell you that html+css-p is absolutely easier to master, or at least get good at, than doing layouts with tables. Any nontrivial layout in tables involves nesting too deep for the sane mind to fathom—the first nested table is already three deep. Any layout with css, even the most complex, simply means you mark up the content with well formed, well structured, semantic html tags without regard to presentation. How easy is that? After that it's simply a matter of positioning major groups and working your way down, prettifying as you go. Are there gotchas? Sure. And table layouts don't have any?

Where table-layout fans run into trouble with css is that it requires a new approach to layout, a different paradigm. Take a week off and do nothing but refactor some old table pages to modern markup. Think of it a attending a tax deductible seminar that costs a week's wage. It will be worth it in increased productivity alone. More importantly, future web design will depend more and more on semantic markup, and table layouts are not and cannot be semantic. You've heard the old expression about taking a knife to a gun-fight?

cheers,

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Ok, Tyssen you may be assuming to much.
None of this is directed at you. I hope you haven't gathered that it was.

Thank you for your feedback sincerely. I'm sorry if my posts get goofy sometimes.

My understanding is!!!!!:

1) CSS pros believe tables are sloppy and dirty bulky code that only rookies use. (considering 90% + of the web uses tables and most big companies) I'm not sure how to weigh that one.

2) CSS pros believe CSS is as easy as tables and just as fast if not faster. I certainly hope that proves to be true.

3) Don't claim to be a designer if you don't have a doctorate.
The last one was for you just to poke a little fun. No offense intended.

I gess the thing is that I think of the template club or design house that sells templates on a mass or commercial level and does so with most being table layouts. There must be a reason.

Best regards and thanks for your reply.
Jared

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Jared wrote:
I gess the thing is that I think of the template club or design house that sells templates on a mass or commercial level and does so with most being table layouts. There must be a reason.

Yes, it's called legacy. People have been designing with tables for a good number of years. So when something new comes along, it takes a while before it is adopted widely.

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Tyssen wrote:

Yes, it's called legacy. People have been designing with tables for a good number of years. So when something new comes along, it takes a while before it is adopted widely.

I really got to put this thread to rest. Laughing out loud

You know what I find interesting Tyssen?
After all the brow beating with the CSS guru's they finally get to the end and say things that humor me.

"well tables are used for tabular data" or "well, tables are good for this and that" after all that bold defiance and resistance they often conclude the usefulness of the very thing they oppose.

Fact is I happen to favor CSS over tables. Just wanted to know why people persist in saying they are so evil yet embrace them every day in the sites they use. CSS is cleaner and has the advantage.

We learn a lot from forums and ideas of others.
I value your responses and input.

Jared

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Jared wrote:

after all that bold defiance and resistance they often conclude the usefulness of the very thing they oppose.

I don't think you're reading the thread propery. No-one's concluding their argument with an opposite position to the one they started out with.

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Jared wrote:
"well tables are used for tabular data" or "well, tables are good for this and that" after all that bold defiance and resistance they often conclude the usefulness of the very thing they oppose.


Jared I'm not sure what you mean by this statement.

I don't think any of us have contradicted ourselves in our posts as such - if indeed that is what you are implying.

FWIW I attempted to answer your question in your second post where you ask whether "tables are considered dirty code", and I explained that it wasn't .

I simply stated that tables are not bad, using tables does not make one a bad designer, tables for layout is incorrect, and that at the end of the day the problem is not with tables but with the way they are used.

Gary Explained very well how the use of tables for layouts is incorrect, it's not an opinion but the reason that this view is propagated amongst the Standards crowd, and in the main is indisputable.

I think this thread needs to wrap itself up now as I don't really see it going anywhere useful.

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It is easy to miss interpret content of posts and I think many learning CSS who read topics such as this will get more confused then they started out.
So I would like to attempt to clarify a couple of points.
Tables are just as valid HTML tags as Div, each have their purpose tables are for tabular data, divs are for seperating sections of a page. So semantically divs are more suited to page layout.

Comparing Tables to CSS is really comparing structure to presentation, by that I am suggesting we should compare table layouts to div layouts or non-tabled layouts.
Although the above is implied it may not be understood by many of our readers.

Due to poor support in earlier browsers, successful non-tabled layouts were difficult to achieve. These days (the last couple of years) new techniques and better browser support have improved our ability to create non-tabled layouts.
Still some of the earlier browsers (around the 4 versions) may choke on non-tabled layouts but can be fed non styled or less styled content.
Non-tabled layouts are really still in early days, but we should still use and encourage others to learn non-tabled layouts as it will be the way of the future, even if it does not suit everyone now.

I was keen to keep waffling but you have all been saved by my children wanting me to read the next chapter of Harry Potter.

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FIRST, Thank you for your responses, yes you have answered my questions. With clarity. Next I think this thread should simply be deleated by the powers to be.

Jared

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There appears to sometimes almost be a religious fervor to the tables vs CSS debate that makes even ordinarily docile folks froth at the mouth. Jared, I admit I was annoyed with the tone you took at one point in the Open Realty thread, but taken as a whole your approach is comprehensive, insightful and shows critical thinking. Just a few rough edges at times. :? There is one argument that you have been making that I think won't fly much longer. I agree there is a huge weight of existing table-based templates and such out on the web. Part of that is because many designs are derivative of other table-based designs with different graphics and such patched in to make something "new". php, I know, has very convenient routines for turning SQL query results into table rows - once you have the basic algorithm you can whack out content like anything.

Also, I have found, to my surprise, that many recent graduates of some programs are still being taught tables for layout because their teachers are dinosaurs who did it that way. I have found a distinct resistance to learning new ways of doing things in a corporate environment. I had to fight to keep my table-less design intact for a subsite of our main website because it didn't use the same table-based grid. The code that I had to duplicate: (masthead, breadcrumbs, searchbox, etc.) I refractored into CSS and it took a fraction of the code that existed previously.

CSS+XHTML is perhaps only a new flavour. However, those of us who use it see it as the way of the future. However, you can still go into many huge sites and see ...<td><table><tr><td><img src="/images/spacer.gif" width="10px" height="100%"><font size="12">Yada Yada Yada . . . Is it wrong? No, not really, it probably works on all browsers, it validates despite giving me a strong desire to puke. I'll never code that way, I'll never teach someone to code that way, and once in a while I will let myself get drawn into the tables vs. CSS debate. As a number of other posters have pointed out, though, tables vs. CSS is an arbitrary dichotomy that doesn't really capture the debate.

I think that well tested cross-browser CSS-P represents "best-practice" for macro layout. It also, by virtue of the way it can style in terms of color, borders and spacing, works very well for meso level layout nested within the main containers. The micro level layout really depends on the nature of the content. In many cases tables may give superior presentation for any form of content that must enforce some form of horizontal integrity. For everything else semanticly (sp?) appropriate tags with corresponding CSS (or none) should handle the remaining layout.

As a disclaimer - I have virtually no experience with large templating systems and my limited experience with templates comes from partial de-tablizing of a phpBB forum. I am NOT a professional developer (although I was probably doing computer coding before the majority of forum members were born . . *sigh* ), merely an enthusiastic amateur and experimenter who believes in the ideal of CSS (and has been disenchanted by the implementation, but that is another thread).

So, Jared, I came down a bit hard on you at the beginning, but your subsequent posts have redeemed you Laughing out loud This is never an easy topic and has, between the two forums, probably generated many thousands of words representing hundreds of dollars of lost productivity. :roll: (myself - I'm putting off working in the garden!)

And for the record, I'm not in favour of editing, deleting or closing threads that have a purpose.

DE

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Thanks DE Laughing out loud

I've a lofty task converting many of my table layout template stock to a more efficient CSS style. I have a migrane just thinking of it.

Kind regards and thanks
Jared.