[thelist] Tables vs Layers

Andrew Forsberg andrew at thepander.co.nz
Thu Sep 14 19:32:12 CDT 2000

I agree totally with Steve.

But, in my opinion *the* most irritating thing about <div>s as a 
replacement for tables is their lack of support for proportional 
layout. By the time you add all the javascript (and branches for 
differing browser support) to calculate div widths and placements so 
that you can emulate a simple <td width="66%"> you have a thumping 
great code overhead that'll bring your average pentium to its 
trembling knees.

I don't at all dispute that css-p is useful for dynamic content, or 
that it's easier to interpret and update. But it's definitely not the 
user-interface designer's dream it's promoted as.


>Sack the bloody lot of em! <grin> It sounds like these people are totally
>stuck in the wrong medium! Surely one of the key responsibilities of a
>designer is to learn about how the medium one is using actually works!
>The biggest problem with the layers approach is the one you have named -
>cross browser compatibility. Another will be file size (a simple table will
>take up less code than a layered layout. Maintaining the code later could
>also be a problem - as long as Dreamweaver is your central tool, it should
>work OK, but if someone needs to hand tweak a page it becomes very difficult
>to puzzle through what the hell is going on with a whole bunch of
>Dreamweaver layers.
>How about taking one of their layouts, hand-coding it in slim, fat free,
>tables and showing them the size difference? How about showing them just how
>badly their pages break for browsers that don't support layers? How about
>getting the boss to kick their lazy asses? (Sorry, that just kinda slipped
>At the end of the day, I guess that the biggest problem you'll face is that
>they don't want to learn how to hand code or to understand the mechanics of
>a page. In which case, someone has to decide how serious a factor it is and
>either force them to learn HTML (how embarrasssing - designing for the web
>and not knowing what makes it work!) or employ HTML coders to turn their
>grand creations into something accessible by the widest target audience
>possible, or ignore the problem until the CEO of a client company comes back
>and complains that they can't see the broken site they paid lots of money
>Ermm, - I think I'll go and have a beer now to calm down a little! This mail
>riled me more than anything I've read in a long time. I wish you luck!
>    WapWarp - http://wapwarp.com
>  Wap-Dev - http://www.wap-dev.net
>  Cookstour - http://cookstour.org
>>  -----Original Message-----
>>  From: Eduardo Dominguez [mailto:edmz at emonterrey.com]
>>  Sent: den 14 september 2000 16:23
>>  To: thelist at lists.evolt.org
>>  Subject: [thelist] Tables vs Layers
>>  At work, we just got new designers. They are very good at
>>  what they do, but not when it refers to html. The problem
>>  is that they  are so used to move things around, that all
>>  they use are layers. And lots of them. They cant think
>>  tables.
>>  If anyone can clear me up the advantages/disadvantages
>>  of using tables vs layers and what you recommend, it would
>>  be great, so that i can have a reason to debate with the
>>  designers.
>>  For now, the designers refuse to do anything in tables,
>>  they think thats an engineering job :( All they use
>>  is the "convert layers to tables" in Dreamweaver. Can
>>  anyone recommend how you guys convert a design to html
>>  with tables ??
>>  Thanks in advance.
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