[nycphp-talk] And the HTML CSS guru is....

Kenneth Downs ken at
Fri Jan 12 09:43:46 EST 2007

Rob Marscher wrote:
> Usually if you avoid using tables for layout, you can drastically 
> change the layout of your page without altering the html.  If you keep 
> to the indended use of the html tags, then the page should look 
> somewhat ok if you turn off your styles altogether (which is maybe how 
> it would look for someone using Netscape 4 or some other ancient 
> browser).  You can also supply different layouts for other uses like 
> printing or for mobile devices without changing the html.  I think 
> screen readers for visually impaired people read table html elements 
> expecting it to be some type of data.  I can't say that from 
> experience though.  So if you don't really care about those things, 
> I'm not sure there's anything else wrong with using tables for layout 
> except you'll have young "know-it-alls" who just got out of their html 
> development class saying that you have really bad code (happened to me 
> before).  You also can't put those cool xhtml/css compliant badges on 
> your page ;)

Rob, this is actually one of the more persuasive arguments I've heard 
for the DIV/CSS model.  You hear a lot of dogma about CSS, which has led 
me to this conclusion:

CSS is to HTML Tables as   Java is to PHP

In other words, one of them was designed by a committee of thought 
police, while the other lets me get my job done. 

Another argument I would have put against your reasoning is that I don't 
drastically change my layout, once its delivered to the customer, that's 
it.  However, your post led me to an Aha! moment, I do in fact change 
layout drastically a lot, during *development*.  Until it is finalized 
we are forever tweaking it.  This makes it worthwhile to experiment a 
little with CSS during layout of specialized data screens, I'll let you 
know how it turns out.

So what is the proper use of HTML Tables?  A form of INPUTs, with 
caption on the left and inputs on the right, are table anointed for this 
task, or Divs looking to do this one also?

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