Table Based Layouts Unnecessary (Part 1)

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More and more often as I develop websites for companies located around Niagara Region (Fort Erie, Niagara Falls, St Catharines, Welland) I am seeing table based layouts for websites. Table based layouts depend on an html table to do all of the layout and often have many tables inside of tables creating an extreme amount of html vs content.

Table based layouts should have died out: CSS has increasingly become more and more supported. It is very difficult now to find a web browser that doesn’t at least support large chunks of the W3C Starndards.

The use of tables is now actually interfering with building a better, more accessible, flexible, and functional Web. CSS is easier maintained and changed compared to a large table based layout: less clutter and a great separation between content and presentation.

Problems with using tables

  • Redesigns of existing sites and content extremely labor intensive (expensive!)
  • Large file sizes: slow loading pages & more expensive hosting costs
  • Pages aren’t very accessible to users with disabilities or different devices (phones, pda, ipod, iPad.)
  • Simple change to table layout may take hours across multiple pages.

Benefits to using CSS Layouts

  • Content is much closer to top of file.
  • Allows extreme flexibility in positioning
  • Allows graphics to load later while user views text.
  • Changes only need to happen in 1 file.

Author: Brian Cline

Brian is a programmer living in Niagara Falls with ten years of development experience. He is passionate about automation, business process re-engineering, and gamification. For the last six years or so, he has been working with Salesforce and JavaScript.

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