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Re: Can we really deprecate tables?

From: Jason White <jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.EDU.AU>
Date: Wed, 5 Aug 1998 10:32:13 +1000 (AEST)
To: WAI Markup Guidelines <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.SUN.3.95.980805101528.17279B-100000@ariel.ucs.unimelb.EDU.AU>
The essence of my response would be to point out that CSS (especially
level 2) provides more layout options than can be readily achieved by the
misuse of table constructs and that people will upgrade their user agent
software as web sites start deploying the rich variety of possibilities
made available by CSS. In order for this migration to occur, browser
implementors need to provide support for CSS in a consistent manner, a
topic which, I would suggest, falls within the province of the WAI user
agent guidelines. Also, CSS is superior from the standpoint of the site
designer, since it then becomes easy to introduce global changes in style
without having to modify hundreds, or even thousands of of individual HTML
documents. Consequently there are strong insentivesincentive to adopt the new
technology, which also reduces the size and complexity of web pages, thus
saving valuable network resources.

Consequently, another good reason to upgrade will be that older user
agents can not display new sites, which deploy CSS, in a visually pleasing

I therefore fully support the approach taken by the guidelines, which
recommends that CSS be used so far as possible, and that the misuse of
tables be phased out over time as CSS implementations improve.
The education and outreach working group of the WAI will also exert
influence over this process. As a final remark, it is also necessary to
take into account the likely increase in the range of media and output
devices through which people will access the web as the technology
evolves: handheld devices, television, telephones, kiosks, etc. CSS will
provide better support for controlling the presentation of documents in
these different media. Also, printing will be much improved once CSS has
been properly implemented.
Received on Tuesday, 4 August 1998 20:31:58 UTC

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