W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > September 2005

Re: CSS vs tables for layout

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Wed, 21 Sep 2005 22:45:17 +0100 (BST)
Message-Id: <200509212145.j8LLjHS02344@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: www-style@w3.org

> I had not considered addressing "CSS table display types".  I'm assuming
> that browser support for this is minimal as practitioners rarely (if
> ever) address it in discussion.

That's not a safe assumption to make.  Whilst there may be some truth in
it the main reasons are:

-  the vast majority of practitioners who use tables for layout have never
   read the W3C specifications or the browser vendors' technical documentation.
-  the majority of them have not bought into the idea that web pages are
   structured documents and only want to use HTML/CSS as a means of achieving
   a particular visual goal (in some cases the practioner may have bought the
   idea, but it is unlikely that their client has);
-  for such practioners, HTML table mediated layout achieves what they
   want and there are plenty of examples to copy, so, in the absence of
   a desire for structure, there is no incentive to do things properly.

My impression is that most web page coding is done by copying examples
from other web pages, a little from cookbooks, which tend to be
compilations of questionable practice discovered by looking at how
web pages are coded, and only very few actually understand the languages
that they are using.  (This list is extremely unusual in that everyone
here will have had some exposure to the actual specifications.)

> My intent is to consider the costs and benefits of different layout
> development methods for practioners.  In addition to considering the

That sounds like working around current browsers.  That's definitely
off topic here.

> "CSS table model" as one of those methods, are there any other

I believe that is the only method of the two that you mentioned that is
within the scope of this list.

> methods/problems/considerations you feel are relevant, especially as

I think some consideration should be given as to why people have got
into the situation where they need to transmit several different documents
every time they send an HTML resource to the user.  I think navigation and
logos should be linked from the head section and merged into the display
by the browser.

> they relate to gathering data on the topic.

Re gathering data, you mustn't make inferences from what hasn't been done
into what is impossible.

> Do you feel such an analysis, or variation on this is relevant to
> practitioners?

I doubt it.  Most are totally unaware and those that are aware tend to
already be aware of the problems.
Received on Wednesday, 21 September 2005 22:03:01 GMT

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