[closed] What's so bad about tables? (83 posts)

  1. neoricen
    Posted 9 years ago #

    While learning and fiddling with CSS I've notices people seem to much prefer CSS to tables.

    However myself I would MUCH rather use tables but with CSS classes. It seems using soley CSS divs etc. causes alot of compatibility issues between browsers and really isn't worth the trouble. Also tables allow for somewhat more complex layouts much much easier.

    So my question is what's the big deal about tables, why shouldn't I use them if they don't cause compatibility problems and they're easier to make? I don't want to just avoid using them because CSS is 'the' thing to do.

  2. yosemite
    Posted 9 years ago #

    This is an old issue, but certainly not a WordPress issue: Tables were introduced in HTML to display tabular data. Not for layout.

    And you can use anything you want.

  3. vavroom
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Hmm, you're opening a bag of worms here :) There are many arguments for and many arguments against. Myself, I use tables only for tabular data, which is the reason the <table> tag was invented to start with.

    Tabular data being defined as data that is best presented in rows and columns. So each "record" shares the same "fields".

    But... Why is CSS better? For starters, it's usualy more accessible to people with disabilities (and bots... Google is "the ultimate blind user"). It is incredibly difficult to render tables properly through voice (trying to render a two dimmensional entity via a one dimmensional medium).

    It also makes sense not to hard code presentation on your site. If you use tables, you limit yourself, the next time you'll want to change your site, you'll have to completely recode all your theme's pages. Whereas if you have the site coded with css, you may just change the css file, and presto, you have a different layout.

    Also, it gives greater flexibility to users coming to your site on alternate medium. Say, someone coming on with a cellphone. If you have a site relying on tables, it's *really* hard to deliver the site in a different layout targetting small screen. If you have properly built divs, you can then assign an alternate stylesheet for the media="handheld", and you're away laughing.

    You can also easily prepare a print.css, which gives you control over what gets printed and how. You can strip out font colour, hide the sidebar and navigation (useless on a printed page), specify a good font size for print, etc. And you send it to media="print".

    So, to me, using just CSS for layout gives me greater flexibility, and accessibility.

    Now, granted, a poorly coded page relying on too many divs, with stuff all over the place is probably not a heck of a lot better than using tables.

    My latest project (and first wordpress site) is a good example. If you look at http://cook.becanz.net and look at the page with styles turned off (easier in firefox than IE), you'll see that I have content at the top (before navigation), which is arguably better for search engines. If you print a page, you'll see that only the content prints, etc. You can even click on the high contrast button, and get a high contrast version of the site (good for some people with low vision), albeit the contrast stuff is not so much about layout as about design.

    This thread may bring out a LOT of arguments... :) YOu can also of course look on the web, loads of good places to find stuff about it. http://alistapart.com is one, or http://accessify.com another.


  4. whooami
    Posted 9 years ago #

    well said nic :)

  5. frankpereiro
    Posted 9 years ago #

    I'm not too confortable using pure CSS also. But I guess you can use tables if you want to use them. I've seen WP templates that use tables.

    I guess you can use them as long as they don't cause compatibility problems.

  6. vavroom
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Yes, yes, of course anyone can use tables for layout. Just like anyone can use a knife to turn a screw in. Doesn't mean it's the best tool for the job ;)

  7. lhk
    Posted 9 years ago #


    there's nothing wrong with tables. Not for tabular data, not for layout - still.

    Reasonable backwards compatibility is nearly 100%, cross-browser compatibility is also nearly 100%. Positioning is quite a bit more exact still than CSS.

    If you create for users in certain geographic/political areas of this planet, you can completely forget CSS for anything more than basic coloring, if even that. Same goes for users who are not necessarily rich and on broadband.

    As to accessibility - indeed needed when doing public service/government sites, else it's again a question of users most likely interested.

    One already makes a choice to exclude users when one doesn't design for 640x480 and definitely excludes way more users this way, than when using tables for layout. OTOH if you publish a website specifically for the blind, you'd better choose the best option for this user group.

    It's always a choice of exclusion, as such a super-accessible CSS site will not be accessible for all users on old browsers and old computers (whose numbers are definitely much larger than those of blind internet users).

    As to search engines and ranking - some of the topranked sites I built use tabular layouts, and they stay topranked. Curiously Google & Co. have no trouble at all finding them and indexing them properly. At clients' order I have created frame-sites which also went toprank and still are right there. So much for such myths.

    Thus - if you feel better using tables, do so. There are very simple, very elegant and extremely (c)lean tabular layouts, which absolutely do the trick.

  8. vavroom
    Posted 9 years ago #

    lhk makes valid points, particularly in terms of "know your audience", but I'd like to differ on hiw statement that:

    "As to accessibility - indeed needed when doing public service/government sites, else it's again a question of users most likely interested."

    There are many aspects and layers to this.

    First, legally.

    In the US, under Section 508 of the Vocal Rehabilitation Act, only Federal Government Agencies, or those providing services to said agencies, or those receiving a majority of their funding from said agencies, are required to comply with the Accessibility Guidelines of Section 508 (which incidentally covers MUCH more than just website but access to *any* electronic data).

    There are arguments about non-governmental organisations and companies being included under the Americans with Disabilities Act. I think the jury's still out.

    More and more countries have adopted and are adopting online accessibility laws. Canada, UK, New Zealand, Germany, Australia, Denmark, Finland, India, Honk Kong, Ireland, Italy, to name a few...

    Second, wider audience

    Accessibility is not, contrary to popular belief, only about people with disabilities! It *is* about people using a wide range of devices, such as cell phones, PDAs, Lynx browser, etc, *as well* as those using screenreaders, voice driven input devices, etc. The most important thing for a website is its content, ultimately. Delivering content is important here, and if you have an unstyled page that delivers content properly, it doesn't *matter* what it looks like if the person gets the *content* properly.

    I completely disagree with the statement that only rich people on broadband can handle sites that are purely css driven. That's ludicrous! In fact, if anything, it would be the reverse. A table driven layout often sees pages that are two and three time bigger than a css driven one achieving the same effect!

    As to people in certain geographical areas of the world not being able to see the page, I assume you mean folks in places where they don't have access to computers that can run generation 4/5/6 of the netscape/IE/opera browsers. This *is* a valid concern, although, if you have a css driven site, it is *easy* to detect the browser and deliver the CONTENT without the styling to those browsers known not to handle CSS properly.

    Third, it's about money.

    While it may not be the law, it makes sense to have your site accessible to a wide audience, including people with disabilities. Ok, not everyone runs business websites, but for those of us who do, don't forget that people with disabilities buy stuff too, with good money. If they cant' navigate your site, they won't spend their money at your place, no matter how good the product is.

    If you are interested about this some more, which you probably aren't by now ;) I wrote the following article for Mezzoblue (Dave Shea from CSS Zen Garden, who incidentally created one of the default templates for WP)


  9. lhk
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Hi vavroom,

    there is no legislation forcing webmasters of private sites to provide accessibility to disabled persons in Europe. If this were so, that would close down 99,99% of all private sites at least here in Europe and this is not going to happen.

    Actually I don't see any need for that. Sorry, but I didn't build my house so that wheelchairs can navigate it easily, nor are there texture-coded switches for the blind in it. Why should I do just that in what is practically "my living room on the web"? Why should someone else? Why should anyone be forced to do something like this?

    As I said, I can understand governmental sites needing full accessibility (they won't ever get that, as I explained, perforce they will shut out those users with lesser hard- and software if they do), but private sites? No. All countries you cited only enforce government sites being accessible to the disabled. But then - it's also only government services which are forced here in Europe to provide actual real-life accessibility either.

    Then - on my own personal websites (as opposed to client sites, and I do have a few personal sites) I couldn't give less of a damn whether someone wants to access those by a palm pilot or via a cell phone. They are not selling stuff, they are purely informational and if the users can't be bothered to sit down at least at a laptop and read at leisure - well, ta-da and so-long!

    I never liked tapes reading books to you during driving, I dislike the idea someone just skims through information painstakingly gathered and represented while waiting at the bus stop. That's not the sort of users I write my personal sites for.

    With clients I usually sit down for a long time and discuss about the intended audience and practical effect of their site. If they need disabled and on-the-fly users, they get that. If they don't (and most don't), I don't bother bending over backwards for that, especially when there are perfectly good reasons to prefer a maximum of crossbrowser and backwards compatibility. It's also a question of budget. Few clients have the dough to pay for multi-level sites.

    Any of the tabled sites I built which currently are still up and raking in heavy traffic are way faster than the majority of recent, pure CSS-driven sites. WAY faster.

    For one thing most of them are static, for another a convoluted CSS file can be a tad larger and more cumbersome for a server than a single, static html page to render. And - as I already once explained elsewhere - CSS is properly rendered only on modern machines and using modern software. And with modern, I mean truly up to date. This *is* expensive, want it or not.

    As to content without CSS - I often browse with it off, it's - for 99,99% CSS-sites - a pain in the behind to even try to navigate from one article to the next. And it's mouse-abuse. ;-) Seriously, that argument is the worst one you made. Unless someone is so masochistic as to love cramps in his right middlefinger with all the scrolling he needs then.

    Lastly, it largely depends entirely on product whether or not you even have disabled people as potential customers. To cater to a minuscule minority which can't even in 10 years bring back in the money it took you to pay the webmaster to create that nifty accessible page for you, isn't very logical. Of course, if you sell Braille printers or glasses that is usually different.

    But on the whole the commercial clients I so far dealt with had (in their real shops) less than 1% disabled customers, and a potential of 1% is no reason to invest a larger sum in (unless you sell highend luxury goods).

    That's real, pure, down to earth business thinking and not even on my part, it's what clients say when asked about the topic. They can do without those customers and no one can twist their arms to serve them.

  10. yosemite
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Ok guys. Put down the Mountain Dew.

  11. marko
    Posted 9 years ago #

    I use both - tables and css - cause I can't get the layout to work properly in IE, the browser most of my visitors use - and ultimately, that's what it must come down to - if I only had a small number of IE users, if most of my visitors were using firefox, I'd ditch the tables no worries.

  12. lhk
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Hi marko,

    yes, that's for me one of the main reasons why tables still are and will be for quite a while yet a perfectly valid choice. IE7 isn't going to change this when you have a good look at the specs.

  13. neoricen
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Oddly enough I'm using tables because FireFox won't display my page properly.

    Whenever I have a CSS div with a background image set tp say 700 pixels wide if I add a padding to the left side of that div of say 15 pixels then in Firefox 15 pixels of the background image is sticking out the side of the page!

    That's not a standards issue, it's not an IE issue it's just Firefox being weird, it's better overall but it's not perfect by anymeans.

    Anyway thanks for all the great replies, I think I'll stick to using tables.

  14. Yngwin
    Posted 9 years ago #

    See this presentation: http://www.hotdesign.com/seybold/

    Your problem is not that Firefox is weird. IE is weird, and is not following the standards there. You should read up on the CSS box model.

  15. lhk
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Hi again,

    sorry, but half of this is absolute bull.

    The CSS file size alone e.g. of a medium-customized WP site is already 12kb. That's yet without graphics and text and called template files. Spliced all together an average index or category page has at least 40-60kb, still without any articles displayed, just with the bare bones (CSS file, index template, sidebar template, header and footer templates, site graphics) called from the server. And these bare bones get called from the server, want it or not, with each page. All of them.

    Using a tabled design I don't even need 30kb to reproduce those bare bones in one html page.

    Thus, what is saved isn't really bandwidth, it's server space and that's currently as cheap as peas.

    This article invalidly and illicitly meshes the good points of CMS with CSS. That's idiotic. You can OF COURSE use a tabular template for a CMS and are able to not only re-use it all across the site, but you can also re-design in a split-second as well. That's absolutely no thanks to CSS.

    It's not code which messes with search engines, it's stale content and little outside interest. I manage to get high and top ranks for tabled sites just as for CSS sites, and it's got nothing at all to do with code. I manage to drive the rank to tops even without SEO, solely through regular updating, good and quality content, and lots of serious and real backlinks. Unless you have a site competing with a gazillion of others of the same content, that's absolutely all you need to do to reach frontpage Google rank on your keywords. I even managed to drive non-self-hosted forums (actually hosted on free-forum-services) to the frontpage on Google that way.

    And once more, browsers of the 4.0-family and below will NOT display CSS properly - and this usually means 1 mile length of content tops, and somewhere far, faaaaaaaar below some snippet of navigation, with the user having to continuously abuse his mouse to jump from one item to the next. It means no illustrating graphics, no logical color scheme, no ease of nav. Depending on where you are and where your users are, this can amount to up to 50% of all visitors.

    So, if you use an argumentative stance, do use valid arguments - and not invalid or construed ones.

  16. Doodlebee
    Posted 9 years ago #

    lhk -

    I feel I must respectfully disagree with some of your opinions :)

    First of all, accessibility isn't necessarily *only* for the disabled. It's also for the elderly. The elderly (especially within the US) is quite a growing population. The need for text-resizing and screen readers, as well as other accessibility options are *necessary* for this growing population. Screen readers *do NOT* read through tabular websites well. Especially when the styles are mixed with the content. CSS makes accessibility *much* better because the readers (AND search engines) read, basically, the code of your site. Just like we read a book - top to bottom, left to right. In *both* cases of accessibility and SEO, the stuff at the top of the page is deemed most important - so if you can get your content at the top of the page, then that is best.

    This is something you *can* do with CSS, but not with tables (especially with complex layouts).

    I'm not saying that table-based websites *can't* be indexed and held in high rankings by Google (et al) BUT to say that going the CSS route is a "myth" in *assisting* with rankings is..IMO...bad form. SEO is *never* ONE particular thing you do in your site. Yes, content is king. But so are valid, incoming links and the way you arrange your page. CSS helps in the "page arranging" area better than tables. Valid coding also helps. But no one ever said that CSS, alone, will cause your site to shoot up the ranks. It's multiple things that bring up your rankings - table-based or not.

    As for cross-browser issues - that's mainly due to the fact that IE is a bad browser. Most other browsers you can name off the top of your head are *standards* compliant browsers - meaning they follow the standards as they are now. If you code for these browsers, then the sites you code in CSS *will* be cross-browser compatible - EXCEPT for IE. Then, all you have to do is apply - and I may note here, this is even an IE method that THEY THEMSELVES tell designers to do - a conditional comment with a few lines of code to fix the IE issues. Ie is only the "most used browser" out there because most people use PC's that come bundled with it, and aren't computer-savvy enough (or care enough) to get a better one. But, funnily enough, the number of people that *do* care is actually rising - which is probably why Microsoft is working so hard to make IE7 a lot like Firefox when it comes to these issues.

    As for other countries and people using 4- browsers - well, that's something *you* need to look into from your own stats. But as a general rule, browsers 4- are so far outdated that the percentage of the population using them is 1% or less. (http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp - for one example) But that's just generalitites - you should always check your own stats and see what *your* audience uses, and then apply your site coding in such a manner (for example, I code my sites to work in IE5+ - and yes, that includes the Mac - but in the last year or so, I've not seen a single person - other than myself - actually use a browser that old to view my sites, so I'm currently debating on even letting 5- browsers go).

    But marko - again, if you code for a standards-compatible browser, and *then* worry about IE, you'll have no issues whatsoever. It honestly only takes *very* few lines of code to "fix" a site for IE - mostly it's fixing margin and padding issues because that's the main thing that IE renders improperly.

    And on a personal note, for me, the real reason I use CSS-based design rather than table based is 1) my code is *much* easier to read, fix, adjust and navigate through when I'm designing, and my sites are coded and up in half the time it used to take me to do it in tables - it's just *cleaner*, and 2) I'm a true believer in standards. I know W3C isn't perfect right now (who IS?) but the idea that there is a goal to create standards for designers so that we *don't* go through these cross-browser issues. The end goal is to make all browsers that are created have a standard to work from, so that what you create in *one* browser will work as expected in *every* browser. I work towards that end result. Personally, I feel that if we keep relying on old, outdated methods then it just makes that progression to an easier base for ALL of us that much more difficult.

  17. ladydelaluna
    Posted 9 years ago #

    At the risk of watching this thread elevate to the argumentative state others of it's kind have - I have something to say.

    "Unless you have a site competing with a gazillion of others of the same content, that's absolutely all you need to do to reach frontpage Google rank on your keywords." - this is largely false unless your keywords are so specific that there is virtually NO competition. And to make a blanket statement like this one shows nothing but ignorance to the fact that search engines are consistently changing their algorithms, and that simply "good content" and "regular updates" is NOT enough. You might've been lucky, lhk, in a few instances, but trust me, if what you were saying is true, I'd be out of a job, and so would many other organic SEO experts I know.

    Back to the original question regarding tables vs. CSS - it's been concluded before that designing for your target audience is most essential. Not for YOUR ease, not for YOUR comfort - but for that of your target audience, regarding browsers, connection speeds, and so on. Fortunately for me, my target audiences typically have higher speed connections and when I design, I work on designing for IE and Firefox, using CSS (which does benefit ME as well as those of my site visitors) so that over the natural course of progression in browser standards and capabilities, I won't have to go back to a site I made 5 years ago and redo it.

    I can honestly say that on any given day of general "surfing", I run across at least a dozen sites that look borked in my browser of choice. That, I feel, is the saddest situation these days. And 99 times out of 100, it's on a site that's been created with table based layouts...

  18. ladydelaluna
    Posted 9 years ago #

    "Personally, I feel that if we keep relying on old, outdated methods then it just makes that progression to an easier base for ALL of us that much more difficult."

    Exceptionally stated, doodlebee... :)

  19. manstraw
    Posted 9 years ago #

    I thought I would add a few real world observations.

    I spend a lot of time coding sites for dialup users. I live in a rural community. By following modern standards, and pushing all style into a css page, I can make websites that load and display much faster. The files *are* smaller. I converted several of my older sites that used tables into identically displaying version that instead relied on css, and the resulting code was 1/5th the size, and did not rely on 'tricks' to get table cells display at the right size.

    When I want to change the layout of the site, I only have to change a single .css file. I might be unusual, but I have found it faster to change one .css file, than to change 40 html files. Yeah, I know, I must be weird. ;) Even with dynamically generated sites using php, it's much faster to redefine a couple of css values than to move a bunch of code around and rebuild new tables.

    In the end, css is also much more powerful and flexible. Radical changes in display can result from changes just a few characters in a css file. For a demonstration of what is possible with css, I generally recommend people visit http://csszengarden.com, where they can view hundreds (ok, 5 more and it's 200) of completely different websites that each have one thing in common. They all have *identical* html. Not a single change was made to the html data for each of those very cool designs. Some of those designs are *impossible* with tables.

  20. lhk
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Hi again,

    @ladydelaluna: It's experience I speak of, not assumption. I've designed and put to the web more than - counting all of them now - 400 individual websites these past couple of years - and ALL OF THEM reached page 1 or upper page 2 on keyword rank on Google and Yahoo. A high percentage (some 10-15%) by now are "standard of their topic" or primary link, quite a few I funnily found as standard info links in Wikipedia e.g..

    NONE of them used any tricks or other methods than

    - a good domain name
    - good content
    - regular updating (as in at least 3 times a week)
    - select backlinking by similar high-quality sites
    - a sitemap
    - no ads

    Nothing more, no SEO-optimized URLs, no special coding, in most cases no CSS-driven sites, quite a few framed sites, often enough not even META-tags. And most certainly I never asked a client to buy into a search engine, the most I ever did in this respect was ask someone to buy a domainname I fancied to be the best for the topic.

    The topics to name a few of the most common were: languages, books, psychology, animal breeds, food, wine, photography, light, online studies, author sites, fansites, dieting, writing, dance, discussion groups, etc. etc..

    None of this is in any way "exclusive". The worst ranking I ever raked in was a third page, which I managed to push to end of front page once I convinced the client to regularly update and provide better and continuous content.

    Whatever the search engines change, it obviously doesn't affect what I do - and as explained, I do little which is in any way special.

    @doodlebee: Font sizes can be set with the browser, and this more often than not works with html pages, whereas at least half of the CSS styled pages I encountered deliberately set size to a set size (pardon the pun, that was intended).

    Whether or not someone maintaining a private site wants to cater to the elderly or blind is his beer.

    Those elderly people I know over here who browse the web (at all) usually are savvy enough to change their browser settings. And my ex-boss (now getting on 60) sees no problem in adjusting his screen resolution to what fits his sight. Much more problematic than font sizes are - by the way - inverted color schemes.

    Same goes for screen readers for the blind. But I explained that in a post above already.

    I've yet to see site stats with less than 80-75% IE users, most are up somewhere around 95%. This won't change unless companies and shops cease to sell their computers with Windows pre-installed.

    And CSS files with all the "fixes" and "ways around this and that bug" are anything but clean, so sorry, but I regularly happen onto veritable monsters there.

    Some of our different experiences may by the way stem from design itself. It has been a longstanding issue for me that most CSS-driven-with-a-vengeance sites I have so far seen are technics-happy, overstuffed with gimmicks, literally non-designed (emulating and plagiarizing instead), way above their actual level in a mighty negative way and absolutely NOT designed simply and cleanly. And I do include most of the CSS themes here on WP in this, so sorry. I have yet to see many cleanly designed CSS-sites in a row to root for CSS as being "naturally clean".

    OF COURSE such an overstuffed site will be heavier when you do all that using plain ole html. But I never design a site in such a manner. I'm a firm believer in "stark, simple and elegant" and this you can easily have with html and be way leaner than anything nowadays usually CSS driven.

    By the way, what I don't believe in are standards. But that's a totally different discussion ;-)

    @manstraw: when I want to change the look of a table driven CMS I also change only one file. I know Zengarden allright, and there are indeed a couple of nice designs to be found there. But there are also quite a few designs which you can't write in CSS and many more which will never look the same in all browsers.

    And again... if you did your homework correctly and made a good simple, lean design, you can just as well change 200 html pages in a split-second simply by altering a few files, and I'm not talking about CSS files. I'm talking here about foresight and site-structure. :-)

    Be it as it is, I currently compared a Websitebaker-driven site (tabular templates) with a WP-driven site of nearly identical setup. Funnily Netmechanics quite neutrally concluded that the Websitebaker-site was faster and leaner. And that even though the basic design was practically 100% identical. Curious, que no?

  21. manstraw
    Posted 9 years ago #

    I have never found a site that could be layed out using tables that could not also be done with css. I would be interested in seeing an example of a site you can lay out using tables, but that can't done with css.

    Did you not read the part where I said I specialize in designing sites for dialup users? I only do "good simple, lean design". I am not saying that css makes up for bad design, as in poor site structure and lack of foresight. Those considerations are beside the point. When comparing the specific tasks of layout in css versus tables, and also changing the layout in the future, css wins.

    Again, I ask for an example of a site you can lay out with tables that I can't layout using css.

    Can you provide a link to the following assertion:

    Be it as it is, I currently compared a Websitebaker-driven site (tabular templates) with a WP-driven site of nearly identical setup. Funnily Netmechanics quite neutrally concluded that the Websitebaker-site was faster and leaner. And that even though the basic design was practically 100% identical. Curious, que no?

    On the surface, comparing two different content engines seems biased when evaluating render speed.

  22. ladydelaluna
    Posted 9 years ago #

    "I've yet to see site stats with less than 80-75% IE users, most are up somewhere around 95%."

    From some stats from a few of my sites:

    Top 5 (June)...
    1.MSIE 6.0-----59%
    3.AOL 9.0-----7%
    4.Firefox 1.0.7-----3%
    5.Firefox 1.5-----3%

    and another site:

    Top 5 (June)...
    1.MSIE 6.0-----66%
    3.AOL 9.0-----3%
    4.Firefox 1.0.7-----2%
    5.MSIE 7.0-----2%

    and yet, another... you'll love this one!

    Top 5 (June)
    1.MSIE 6.0-----40%
    3.Firefox 1.0.4-----4%
    5.Konqueror 3.4-----4%

    one more, for good measure...

    Top 5 (June)
    1.MSIE 6.0-----53%
    5.Firefox 1.0.3-----2%

    Once again, I think we can roll this all up into desiging for your visitors. I'm quite sure that your stats look VERY different, lhk.

    Also, regarding your comment about buying into SE's - I distinctly remember using the phrase "organic SEO" - which does not, in fact, involve buying into SE's.

    Regarding the "what you have done to get the results" thing - You've added a few things there that were lacking in your first statement. "select backlinking by similar high-quality sites - a sitemap - no ads" - and you know what? there's even more that can be done! all organically, without paying a dime extra... like i said, you've been fortunate, and by not going against what the search engines require, you've succeeded in not getting your sites banned. i'm not saying you're lucky to get the listings - i'm saying that you're lucky someone else hasn't consciously worked on beating you out... and trust me, that does happen, and all the "good content" in the world isn't going to help when that happens... sorry.

    "and ALL OF THEM reached page 1 or upper page 2 on keyword rank on Google and Yahoo"

    okay, but how long did they stay there, and are they still there? can you provide me with keyword examples and URLs where i can go do a manual search and find your sites there? it takes more than good content and updating to KEEP a site in the SE's good graces... hell, at one point all it took was keyword stuffed meta tags and 1000 links from an FFA... things CHANGE - CHANGE is GOOD.

  23. lhk
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Hi manstraw,

    I can come up with a couple of designs which would need looping back through itself when written in CSS, especially when written in browser-compatible CSS, whereas all it takes tabled are a few meagre lines of code.

    I recently had to write such a one in CSS for a client (oh, I of course DO write CSS sites, as anyone else, no one please misunderstand me), the resulting CSS file was horridly convoluted. And I *know* that these bugfixes won't hold for much longer than a year or so. Well, I told the client and he's going to have to pay me for the re-design in a while.

    Actually what by now amuses me is that there never were the sort of knowledge bases for tables as they now exist for CSS. And dontcha tell me that's because no one was interested formerly, it's exclusively because they are needed today. You never needed all this browser-specific stuff with tables ;-) They would look slightly different with different browsers, but they would still basically do the trick all right. If CSS fucks up with a browser it usually does so magnificently ;-)

    As to the "layout of the future", I'm sorry, but then every CSS guru has it wrong.

    What is currently being done is comparable to VideoBETA-format users forcing the whole VHS-world to change to their format.

    When close to 90% of all users use a browser which demands a certain way to deal with things, then any attempt at finding a standard has to go into THAT direction. This is NOT what's happening with W3C standards. Quite on the contrary. And so sorry, to me that's just plain nonsense.

    It's not IE which has it wrong, it's the rest. Whether or not that is good or bad is of no value, it's sheer majority which counts there.

    But I digress: I like crisp lines and edges, small files and very, very simple design. I never went for overly nested tables, usually the pure code for the layout does not exceed 700-800 bytes, 1KB at most, and this positions everything, for all browsers. I've never achieved such a small size with CSS positioning, not even with the leanest possible CSS code.


  24. manstraw
    Posted 9 years ago #

    I would appreciate some links to show me examples of what you're asserting. I'm curious about what you mean by "looping back through itself when written in CSS". I would appreciate you coming up with those "couple of designs".

    And I would still like a link to the websitebaker assertion.

    I personally don't believe that majority decides efficiency, power, and compatibility. VHS was inferior to Betamax. I don't know where you get that Beta users were trying to force the whole world to change to their standard. Beta format was developed first. VHS was a quality reduced version of the Beta format created to increase the amount of time the same length of tape would record. Standards are developed to improve compatibility, not undermine it. Why am I letting myself get side tracked?

    I would appreciate the links. Thanks.

  25. lhk
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Hi Ladydelaluna,

    err... this: "i'm saying that you're lucky someone else hasn't consciously worked on beating you out... " is exactly what doesn't apply to what I do, or rather not do.

    To me it's not a game, it's not even rivalry, it's pure logic, and this usually wins with all search engines. I can understand that you, if you sell SEO, can't but differ, but quite honestly, I only think of a good name, good, updated content and proper backlinking. The last of which by the way usually isn't something I do, it's something those other webmasters do on their own.

    I already a couple of times said, that I don't give away clients' sites here or anywhere else publicly. But to give you an example, if you do this search:


    (more than 14,800,000 sites)

    and this search


    (more than 21,100,000 sites!)

    a couple of sites will come up in both and both times on the first page. I'm not saying I designed one of them, but if I searched for one of my sites, the results would duplicate this sort of thing.

    More is not necessary, que no?

    As to duration, most sites are still online, the majority still rank among the first two pages. A decent number (some 15+%) have been tops of the first page since they were uploaded, for in some cases now 6-7 years at a stretch.

    And really, there is absolutely no trick, no gimmick, no magic to it.

    I have to concede one point though, I rarely do down and out commerce-only sites. Even for commercial clients I try to find that specific are of interest which can be exploited to provide top ranking content. To give an example: I built the selling site of a cattle breeder a while ago. While I talked to him he totally ran me over with his encyclopedic knowledge about cattle in general and his breed specifically. I talked him into writing a huge history, background knowledge, ancestry etc etc content part for the site, which nowadays is *the* one address online to look up this breed. He has lots of fun with this, he updates practically daily, he unearths paintings and photos some 100-200 years old and incorporates them, he has droves of regular visitors, all big large animal sites link to him, most online encyclopedias and vet sites link to him (no one asked them all to do that!), he has created an online community with lots of discussions, and somewhere - as an aside - there is that small part of his site, which shows his breed animals, those he sells, and the semen he sells. He is always booked clean out.

    No trick - all content.

    As to your stats - the only ones I have which are under 75% for IE are (computer/software) technical sites, in and out of Europe.

  26. manstraw
    Posted 9 years ago #

    links? I would like the links I've asked for. Surely you can provide the link to the websitebaker assertion in the very least.

    I agree that good content drives good search engine placement. I don't think css versus tables means squat in that argument. Does painting my car red make it go faster? Good clean code is good clean code, no matter what standards you follow. This thread was started with the question of whether or not css has an advantage in layout versus tables. I interpret that to mean correct display, render speed, and code efficiency. I wonder if we could keep our discussion with those parameters?

  27. lhk
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Hi manstraw,

    you misunderstood me.

    I didn't say that Betamax users did that. I said that what currently happens between W3C and IE when it comes to webstandards, is as if W3C (Betamax) forced IE(VHS) to marry their system.

    You can try it out yourself, write a 2 by 3 column table, marry a few cells and hit save. Then have a look at the size of that file. Then write the same positioning in CSS (cross-browser-fast), add to the size of that file the size of an empty html file and compare. CSS will lose out.

    Checking that is as easy as that.

  28. manstraw
    Posted 9 years ago #

    I still would like the links I've asked for.

  29. Doodlebee
    Posted 9 years ago #

    I agree with manstraw - I'd like to see a link to a table-based site that *cannot* be done in CSS. I've yet to see one done, myself (in fact, I just redid a site where the original designer made the exact same assertion - and I proved him wrong in less than 2 hours.)

    As for "browser-specific" stuff and "hacks that will cease to function"... again, I note that the *only* one I use is <b>set forth my Microsoft themselves</b> - the conditional comment - which is not a hack. I've never had to use another one - save an occassional one for IE5.2 on a Mac (which supports CSS better than IE6 on PC!). People who write bad CSS or convoluted code simply don't yet understand the power of it, and don't know how to manipulate it correctly. And again, even Microsoft sees the importance of standards - why do you think they're trying so hard to conform to them with the upcoming release of IE7?

    Yes, I agree that the majority of users are with IE (as I said - just as you did - because it comes with the PC), but that number *is* changing (by the way, my own stats are along the lines of ladydeluna's - I have nowhere *near* 90% of my users coming in with IE browsers) - so again, it's a simple matter of designing for your own audience.

    But I simply do not agree that CSS is going the way of BetaMax - especially when IE is even now conforming to standards - it's too powerful an option to use in design. However, time will tell, I suppose. :)

    But still, yeah - I'd like to see those links to sites that "can't be done in CSS"...I honestly have never seen one that can't.

  30. ladydelaluna
    Posted 9 years ago #

    "As to your stats - the only ones I have which are under 75% for IE are (computer/software) technical sites, in and out of Europe."

    Sorry, but not a single one of the sites I gave you stats for are "technical" - one's for a volunteer fire department, one's for a muscle car enthusiast, one's my business site (SEO and web design - people seeking my services are typically NOT seeking "technical" sites - but rather are quite disoriented when it comes to browsers and resolutions for the most part) and one's my own personal site about plus size modeling and weight loss. Nothing "techie" about any of those sites.

    Again - I'll repeat it - I see no reason for such a huge debate on this issue if people would just rely on their stats programs, demographics, et al. when choosing their design processes. To sit here and argue with such fervor about which is better has never done anything but rile people up. It's all about opinions, and we all know what they say about opinions... ;)

    To be progressive in the world of design, in my opinion, would be to avoid holding ourselves back by refusing to use "new" technology. CSS is NOT all that "new" when you think about the fact that the internet (as it resembles itself today) has only REALLY been around a little over 11 years, and CSS has been here for more than half of that. It's not going anywhere, it's not going to disappear because people who choose not to use it argue about why.

    Think about what happened to people who refused to install telephones in their homes when they were invented... if everyone in the world didn't take up this invention, we'd all still be writing letters that took 2 months to get to where they're meant to go. Think about technology in GENERAL over the last 100 years - the first ever computer took up an entire room, and now we have handheld PDAs that can do just about anything. If no one challenged the way the first computer was built, we'd never have what we do today.

    Not for nothing, but a refusal to change out of "just not wanting to" or "not seeing a need to" sounds like nothing more than a lack of acceptance for growth and change, and the "debates" that go on, sound more like just a temper tantrum in relation to that lack of acceptance.

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