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Re: The problem with tables

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-hwg@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 11:38:55 -0700
Message-Id: <>
To: Charles McCathieNevile <charlesn@sunrise.srl.rmit.edu.au>
Cc: WAI <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
At 04:52 p.m. 07/24/98 +1000, Charles McCathieNevile wrote:
>The alternative is to abandon the wholesale misuse of tables. My Doctor 
>tells me not to smoke or live on a diet of beer, fish and chips and 
>steak. My mechanic tells me not to drive my car as fast as it goes all 
>the time. My accountant tells me not to spend all my money on beer, fish 
>and chips, steak and car repairs.

On the other hand, I sometimes ignore my doctor, if the steak looks
really good, or if it's just more convenient to drive through
McDonald's on the way home (or less expensive).

I agree with you in principle -- and in fact, I've recently completely
eliminated tables from my personal web page.  (See for example
http://www.idyllmtn.com/~kynn/index.shm and contrast with oldindex.shm)

However, I haven't taken this approach with the CGU site (where I'm
the webmaster), with my clients' sites, or with the HTML Writers
Guild site.  Why?  Simply because the method I used for getting rid
of tables -- reliance on stylesheets -- is not supported by all
browsers, and in fact, my web page looks like crap in Opera, which
happens to be my browser of choice.

I don't really care about my own "image" on the web; the funny purple
bar and ugly award graphic won't be winning any awards any time soon.
However, the other sites named -- CGU, HWG, and people who pay me to
make web sites for them -- _must_ present a good image.  If I got
rid of the tables, then the pages would be more accessible to a
small number of people, but will look far worse for a larger group
of the audience.

As someone expected to maintain what is currently considered a
"professional" and "sophisticated" appearance for those web sites,
I just can't decide "well, this will only look good in MSIE 4 and
in lynx" and design that way.  I would most likely lose my job,
lose my clients, and cost the Guild its reputation.  Those are
not good things.

So for the time being, I'll continue to use tables for page
layout, even though I know it's not good for me -- just because
I don't really have much of a choice, at the present time.  The
alternatives are simply not acceptable.  (And my apologies to
those who can't access the information on the pages -- I try my
best to make sure the tables are relatively harmless and degrade

In summary:  We agree in principle, but in practice, I'm stuck
with the tables.  Thanks for a good post, Charles.

Kynn Bartlett <kynn@hwg.org>
Vice President, Marketing and Outreach, HTML Writers Guild
Received on Friday, 24 July 1998 14:29:53 UTC

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