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CSS positioning X Tables

Posted on 2004-08-09
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Last Modified: 2006-11-17
Could someone clarify this to me: since CSS positioning can set up a web page layout in a fraction of the time used to do it with tables and its maintenance is far more easy, far less troublesome and faster, why there are so many web sites that still use tables ?

Are the programmers still stuck in their old habit of using tables ?

Are most of the web sites too old, that is why they still show a coding made up with tables ?

Didn't the programmers update themselves with the new techniques of CSS positioning ?

Or there is some other reason unknown to me ?
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Question by:tedhill
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by:Zyloch
ID: 11755264
Hi

Yes, some people are too lazy to learn CSS--some websites are already so much in tables that the developers are too lazy to change it.

Finally, sometimes, tables do prove more advantageous even though rarely.
Also, CSS takes planning and many people are too lazy to do that.

Regards,
Zyloch
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by:hyperslug
ID: 11755952
I'd say the primary reason is tables have better backwards compatibility as far as how they display.  CSS is a younger technology and positioning is a lot more inconsistent than tables.  Graphics heavy sites tend to find it easier to place images with precision using tables.  Many corporate sites use tables extensively.

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Author Comment

by:tedhill
ID: 11756009

<<Yes, some people are too lazy to learn CSS--some websites are already so much in tables that the developers are too lazy to change it.>>

Well Zyloch, if one needs to make a very small change in the web page then it is reasonable to keep the tables structure. But if it is going to be a big change then it would be far more time saving to learn and apply CSS positioning than doing it through tables ( specialy when there is a complex nest of tables inside tables. I have experience on that and i know what headache it brings ).


<<Also, CSS takes planning and many people are too lazy to do that.>>

I did a entire site with almost only CSS positioning and frankly the time required to plan the layout elements positions is the same. It does not matter if you decide to use CSS or tables to position them.

What matters is how easy and straight forward you can do that.
Doing that with CSS is by far more easy and far less troubling.
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by:Zyloch
ID: 11756030
That's right. However, to really make a huge site that uses the least amount of styles and organization that can be easily reusable is actually not that easy
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Author Comment

by:tedhill
ID: 11756097
<<That's right. However, to really make a huge site that uses the least amount of styles and organization that can be easily reusable is actually not that easy.>>

If by using styles makes the work very easy what is the point of economizing its use ?

And from my experience I found far more easy to organize the layout elements through CSS than Tables.
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Author Comment

by:tedhill
ID: 11756404
Hi hyperslug

<<I'd say the primary reason is tables have better backwards compatibility as far as how they display.>>

Almost nobody uses old browsers anymore therefore backwards compatibility is almost irrelevant.


<<CSS is a younger technology and positioning is a lot more inconsistent than tables.>>

I strongly disagree here. When I compare the easiness of positioning web page elements with CSS and the headache that I had in doing it within a complex nest of tables I immediately choose the first method.

<<Graphics heavy sites tend to find it easier to place images with precision using tables. >>

My sites are crowded with graphics yet positioning them with CSS is really a gods gift.

 <<Many corporate sites use tables extensively.>>

So what ? Many underdeveloped countries still use the plough to do the farming work. Does it make them advanced and efficient ?
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by:Zyloch
ID: 11756531
CSS does have a bit of inconsistency if you get into truly programming with it and comparing between IE and Mozilla particularly.
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by:wisbin
ID: 11757523
It is not that easy to redesign a css-based website. I think You can't claim that css based redesign will be faster than a table based  html. You can easy change colours, fonts, borders, backgrounds, etc. but if you want to re-position and change dimensions -major layout change- it is a bit more complex.

And there are a lot of programs out their still producing table layouts when exporting to html, because there are a lot of users who want to keep that as their tool.

I am still pretty confident this will be a more intelligent way to layout and style webcontent.

I hope the experts layout-people (printmedia) will come online soon  ;)

 
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Accepted Solution

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COBOLdinosaur earned 50 total points
ID: 11757879
There are three primary reasons that tables continue to be used:

1.  Developers are not the ones who make the decisons on large sites.  Project managers who have not done hands on development for several years decide site design issues.  They are familar with the tables they used to work with.  They neither understand or appreciate the value of CSS.  As there is no CSS sales rep buying them lunch, and most of the tool manufacturers who do buy lunch have weak an limited CSS support.  So when a developer proposes using CSS to re-engineer the site they get turned down because the manager does not understand what a moron they ar being.

2.  CSS is part of the open standards approach the Microslop is intent on desstroying.  Therefore Microslop products use non-standard implentations to intentional crate cross-browser problems.  The cross-broser issues are not all that difficult to resolve, but it means not using Microslop tools to generate web pages and that scares managers who prefer to play safe by always going with MS.

3.  Most web page designs still follow a 2 dimensional model that is easy to understand.  Most designers come from print media backgrounds where layout is static and fixed.  They apply the same grid think that is used on th eprinted page and tables work very nicely for static two-dimensional layouts. When they come to special requires that require 3 and 4 dimensional thinking they cannot understand how anything can be more stable and easier to use than tables

For anyone who has done development using tables for layout; CSS look complex and difficult to use.  The hard part is NOT learning CSS.  The hard part is getting people to try CSS instead of tables. Every professional developer who I have ever convinced to give it a fair trail has become a convert to CSS.  I don't any who would go back to tables.  The hard part is getting them to try it.


>>>I am still pretty confident this will be a more intelligent way to layout and style webcontent.

There is absolutely no question about it. The next generation of web development will use xsl stylesheets, incorporating user preferences, and local overrides in standard generation tamplates.  However anyone who did not take the time to learn CSS will have an even bigger learning curve when they have to present XML datasets through XSL generated filter templates, on XHTML compliant pages.  All the technology necessary to cause that shift is ready to go. It is already being don on a small scale.  The change will not start on the WEB, but in Apps where it is already making waves.  Spending a month to develop a new section for a web site is not going to be acceptable anymore when complete intranet browser based apps can be designed develope and deployed in just a few days.  Some are already to do that, and those who don't keep up may find it gets difficult to make a living if all they know is layout using tables.

But I could be wrong.  I'm just a dinosaur; but I'm still not extinct, and don't intend to be so I stay ahead of the curve, not chasing it.

Cd&
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Author Comment

by:tedhill
ID: 11757916
Hi wisbin

<<It is not that easy to redesign a css-based website. I think You can't claim that css based redesign will be faster than a table based  html.>>

Yes, I can claim it because I did a lot of both.

<<You can easy change colours, fonts, borders, backgrounds, etc. but if you want to re-position and change dimensions -major layout change- it is a bit more complex.>>

You must be joking...

To re-position an element in the layout, you only need to change the values of left, top and z-index. With Dreamweaver it is a piece of cake, to change the position. The only thing that you have to do is, in the design mode, to DRAG the element.

<<And there are a lot of programs out their still producing table layouts when exporting to html, because there are a lot of users who want to keep that as their tool.>>

Just because there are dumb programs and dumb people wanting to stay backwards it does not mean that they are right or making a clever choice.

<<I am still pretty confident this will be a more intelligent way to layout and style webcontent.

I hope the experts layout-people (printmedia) will come online soon  ;) >>

Finally you admitted that the "tables-people" are inconsequent.
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Author Comment

by:tedhill
ID: 11758049
Hi COBOLdinosaur

<< But I could be wrong.  I'm just a dinosaur; but I'm still not extinct, and don't intend to be so I stay ahead of the curve, not chasing it.>>

Wise words.

If there are dinosaurs in the web development field then they are the "tables" people.

Your essay is enlightening and wonderfully answers my question.

Congratulations and thank you very much.
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Expert Comment

by:COBOLdinosaur
ID: 11758524
Keep up the good fight Ted.  The top-experts in this and the related topics are advocates of CSS and open standards technologies.  Slowly; very slowly one member at a time we are gradually convincing members who come looking for solutions to table layout problems to convert to CSS.  Thanks for the A. :^)

Cd&
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