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  1. #1
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    What's wrong with tables
    Other than they're the 'old way', what's wrong with using tables?

    I am making one unique page - not bunches

    1: I understand them...
    2: they set everything where I want it
    3: they fit the populating scripts I use

    Now the fur fight begins ...

    Charles

  2. #2
    Action Jackson - King of the World
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    whoever said anything was wrong with them? I swear by them.

  3. #3
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    Nothing wrong with tables if you use them in the correct place.

    Using css (in an external file) for formatting on the otherhand means smaller code. The css file is cached when 1st loaded meaning that each page load is smaller and quicker because it doesnt have to repeatedly load the formatting.

    When a spider visits its the same, or the spider doesnt even read the css file, meaning the spider will take more real information rather than formatting information.

    Its also much easier to make sitewide alterations using a single file.

    etc. etc. Have a search around for a specialised css forum and read.

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    I'm with Wayder. They make your HTML look cleaner and it reduces the number of bytes needed to download each of your pages. Plus they're much more flexible than tables. For example you can have a dynamic number of columns depending on the width of the browser. You just use a series of "float: left;" divs. With tables you always have to specify how many columns you want.

    - Scott
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  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador PatrickAllmond's Avatar
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    Not to split hairs but Wayder took the original topic and kind of broke it into two - the benefit of using DIVs for layout and the benefits of using CSS for site management.

    You don't have to use CSS to use DIVs, and you don't have to use DIVs to use CSS. They are exclusive of each other.

    But used hand in they make for very easy site management... just like Mr. Wayder said.
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  6. #6
    Visual Artist & ABW Ambassador lostdeviant's Avatar
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    Tables are good as .... tables showing numbers, data, charts of info.
    Tables are not good for page layout because they're messy and a pain to update.

    Here is a test: make a page using tables for layout.
    Make another page using DiVs and CSS for layout.
    One month later try changing the code to a new layout.

    Which was easier? (report your results in this thread)

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador PatrickAllmond's Avatar
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    Tables will win by far... for someone who has been working with tables. If you are transitioning it might take you awhile. I still have to go google CSS table layouts and borrow some code from time to time.

    You are always faster in what you already know, but you will get faster in what you need to know as you work with it more (Geek philosophy in play Not to be confused with the Greek kind)
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  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    Tables are good for what tables are supposed to be used for: tabular data presentation. The problem with using them for layout is not that they are any harder or easier than CSS-based layout, it's that different browsers *still* don't render them the same way. As much as you might wrestle with CSS-based layout, trying to get it to look the same in multiple browsers, the more complicated you get with tables, the worse the results get in multiple browsers.

    However...

    Going back to the original post here, if all you're doing is one page and you don't need to replicate it at all, there's nothing wrong with doing a table-based layout, because what trumps everything is the needs of the user. If all you're doing is one simple, unique page and the tables will display correctly across browsers, there is no reason not to use tables.

    Don't listen to anyone who is militant about one side of the debate or the other. There are those that will not allow a single table no matter what, and that's just foolish. There are those that will not touch CSS at all, and that's just as foolish. Both have a place, IMO.

  9. #9
    Member Jim Sprouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayder

    When a spider visits its the same, or the spider doesnt even read the css file, meaning the spider will take more real information rather than formatting information.
    This is why I decided to learn CSS for my first affiliate site, (which I am still working on) I had heard that search engines don't really like tables, but had not heard why until now.

    How much of an impact does it have with the search engines, whether you use tables for formatting or not?

  10. #10
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    There is generally a limit in the number of characters the spider will read. Would you rather it read your table / row / d code or your page's actual text content?

  11. #11
    Member Jim Sprouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Simmons
    There is generally a limit in the number of characters the spider will read. Would you rather it read your table / row / d code or your page's actual text content?
    TEXT CONTENT! Definitely.

    Thanks Phil, I didn't know that they limit the number of characters. Is this limit per page or entire site? I assume it is per page...forgive my ignorance

  12. #12
    Full Member Tech Evangelist's Avatar
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    From my perspective, the biggest problems with tables are when they are used improperly. I just re-worked a site for a client last week that was unspiderable because the tables were nested seven deep. That means a table within a table within a table within a table within a table within a table within a table. About 80% or the script was table code. Spiders could not get at the content. The site is now table-less and the majority of the script is content.

    If OK to work with tables as long as you don't let your WYSIWYG tools make them overly complex by nesting too many tables. If you want to work with tables, keep it simple.

    That being said, once you learn how to work with CSS designs, you will never use tables for anything other than what they were originally designed to do--which is as others have mentioned--for displaying tabular data.
    There's good, fast and cheap. Pick any two.
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  13. #13
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    All that being said, what would be a site to go to to learn how to use
    divs and CSS?

    Every time I need something like that, I have to spend too much time
    searching for it, and it sounds like I should just get the knowledge under
    my belt, an learn it the way I know tables.

    Bobby

  14. #14
    Yup, Sure ... now let me check ... Cagles Mill's Avatar
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    My first choice for learning new code or looking up bits of it is http://www.w3schools.com/default.asp
    Rick M.
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  15. #15
    Grandma broke her coccyx! Uncle Rico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bivie
    All that being said, what would be a site to go to to learn how to use
    divs and CSS?

    Every time I need something like that, I have to spend too much time
    searching for it, and it sounds like I should just get the knowledge under
    my belt, an learn it the way I know tables.

    Bobby
    But you only have to learn it once and then you can apply it in the future.

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    I second the nomination for W3Schools.
    Daniel M. Clark
    Tech Manager
    Greg Hoffman Consulting

  17. #17
    Full Member Tech Evangelist's Avatar
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    One word of advice with using CSS. You must test CSS sites in a range of browsers. IE6 and IE7 sometimes render CSS a slightly differently. Testing in FireFox is also a must. I'm also seeing more visitors using Apple's Safari. It's common to have to make adjustments until a site renders consistently across all browsers. Don't get frustrated and give up.

    CSS designs are a bit tricky to learn, but things get much easier once you understand how it works.
    There's good, fast and cheap. Pick any two.
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  18. #18
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    All CSS all the way (including layout) doesn't work for all sites, especially with all the browser hacks needed, though a modified tables/css combination can cut way down on code size, load time and ease of maintenance.

    It all depends on the site. Example: How long would it take to re-do the code from tables to CSS for someone using Shareasale's Makeapage - for each and every page?

  19. #19
    Full Member Tech Evangelist's Avatar
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    I follow the CSS design model used by WordPress. That version is very stable and renders pages almost the same for each browser without using hacks. There are some differences, but they are minor.

    That model uses margins and floats for positioning. It is a fairly simple design. The more complex the design, the more problems you are likely to run into. I agree with webworker. Not all designs work well with CSS.
    There's good, fast and cheap. Pick any two.
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  20. #20
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    I admit I'm addicted to tables... it's way easier for me than css, but I'm trying to learn (home page started to grow too big in size, needed to scale back). Tables still have a place in web design, they just shouldn't be a short cut.

    For the most stunning examples of css, check out http://csszengarden.com/

    Edit: in case the above url isn't clear.. here is a link to all designs.. the only thing that changes is the css file! http://www.mezzoblue.com/zengarden/alldesigns/

    This shows how a different css file can render the EXACT same page in a variety of stunning designs. I've been inspired me to ramp up my own css skills, which are improving every day. Except when I'm in a hurry, then it's a table

    (ps. no affiliation with these css sites!)

  21. #21
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teezone

    For the most stunning examples of css, check out http://csszengarden.com/
    Thanks for the link - this really points out the benefits in a dramatic way!
    I have made several sites using div css layout - it has it's own headaches and is not a magic bullet for page-rank (these sites don't rank overly well, but that's due to a lack of content). Conversely, I have an old table-based site that ranks in the top 4 for a very competitive keyword - it ranks high entirely due to its content.

    No doubt, to not use CSS at all for formatting text, links, etc. is crazy. And from the examples shown on the link, it is clear that I need to do a bit more homework on div layout sites.
    This World is Not My Home
    We're gonna go inside, we're gonna go outside, inside and outside. . . And then we're gonna go go go and we're not gonna stop til we get across that goalline! Quotes from the movie Rudy, 1993

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