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Re: more CSS and tables

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Sun, 6 Jan 2002 11:50:56 -0800
Message-Id: <a05101000b85e58cc6dfe@[]>
To: Denise Wood <Denise_Wood@operamail.com>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
At 10:15 AM -0500 1/6/02, Denise Wood wrote:
>Thanks David. I will check out the list for the examples you believe have been
>posted. The reason that I am keen to see exemplars is that I am not so sure
>that it is "trivially obvious" in that in a previous email Kynn argued that
>CSS was not friendlier to older browsers than tables:
>   "If you're talking about old, old browsers, and you give them
>   something like <div>s with CSS-P, it will flow it together in an old
>   mess.  If you're talking about old, old browsers, and you give them
>   <table>, at worst it does the same as lynx -- flows it together in one
>   big mess -- and at best it will lay out the page exactly as intended"
>So I am just interested in seeing examples that Charles considers have been
>coded correctly and therfore overcome all of the issues raised by Kynn and
>Joe. If it is trivially obvious why is there continuing debate over the use of
>CSS versus tables for layout?

By the way, just to clarify something:

In general, I think it's better to use CSS layouts rather than table
layouts, whenever possible.  CSS layouts are better in a number of

But the question was "which works better for older browsers?" -- not
"which is more flexible" or "which will give you more control" or
"which works better in newer browsers."  I think it's pretty clear
that if you're talking about older browsers, table layout is better
supported than CSS.

There are different types of older browsers:

(1) Those which don't recognize tables, don't recognize div, don't
     recognize CSS-P.  On these browsers, neither CSS-P nor tables
     have an advantage.  Example:  Old versions of Lynx.

(2) Those which recognize tables and try to do something with
     them, ranging from full display (such as Netscape 3) to
     breaking lines appropriately (more recent versions of Lynx),
     but which don't recognize CSS-P.

     (2a) Many of them will recognize <div> and break lines
     (2b) A few won't recognize <div> (it's not HTML 2.0) and
          may run things together, but this is more likely for
          type (1) browsers.

     For these browsers, <table> is superior to CSS-P (either

(3) There are older browsers which do tables appropriately, but
     which have buggy implementations of CSS-P.  For those browsers,
     <table> is superior to CSS-P.  Netscape 4 is a good example.

Once you're done with older browsers, you get newer browsers.

(4) Newer browsers understand both tables for layout and CSS-P,
     and so neither one has an advantage on these browsers.  Ergo,
     CSS-P should be used whenever possible, because of the inherent
     crunchy goodness of CSS.

Hopefully this is a more complete answer that explains why I feel
tables are superior to CSS-P for older browsers.  If I were creating
a dynamic transformation for various browsers, certainly the older
browser would receive a <table>-based layout rather than CSS-P, and
I hope that Charles would agree.  Assuming he does, that really
should be all the proof you'd need -- tables are better for older
browsers than CSS-P.


Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>                 http://kynn.com
Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain            http://idyllmtn.com
Web Accessibility Expert-for-hire          http://kynn.com/resume
January Web Accessibility eCourse           http://kynn.com/+d201
Forthcoming: Teach Yourself CSS in 24 Hours
Received on Sunday, 6 January 2002 14:58:29 UTC

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