[thelist] Re: Advice on using Tableless CSS layout for large eCommerce sites?

Diane Soini dianesoini at earthlink.net
Tue Sep 16 23:16:49 CDT 2003

Thank you for explaining so eloquently the world I work in. That's 
exactly how it is. When people say there is no excuse for not writing 
perfectly validated, perfectly written, 'sematic', tableless, code it's 
pretty clear they aren't living in the same world that I work in. Java 
programmers are not expected to know the bleeding edge of CSS, and yet 
they are expected to work on the UI layer. If you can't write code that 
they can understand, the whole project is in trouble. I've found if I 
can move most of the presentation into the CSS and leave behind only a 
few layout-by-table html structures to memorize (or cut and paste), I 
can create an exquisitely maintainable UI layer.

On Tuesday, September 16, 2003, at 02:00 PM, 
thelist-request at lists.evolt.org wrote:

> What about the raising of the barrier to entry?
> Going with a CSS layout moves complexity out of the html into the CSS
> (hopefully). Most of the time no-one need even look at the stylesheet -
> it just works. But when it doesn't, and new requirements get added,
> anyone who has been used to be able to edit or work with the html, now
> has to become comfortable with quite complex CSS. That rules out maybe
> 80% of the web developers I know - programmers and server-side
> specialists who know enough html to get by, but wouldn't consider
> themselves front-end, client-side experts.
> In an organization where there are many contributors to a website, it's
> just not practical right now to ask everyone to re-learn they way
> they've been working with html. With a table-less layout, yes the code
> is much cleaner and nicer, but it can require some serious detective
> work to figure out how to edit or change a layout - if it's even
> possible at all.
> If you are the designated css expert, all those problems become your
> problems, and you're in trouble if you can't turn it around in the time
> people have become accustomed to.
> I'm not just playing devil's advocate here. Table-less, page-layout CSS
> is not simple. For neatly encapsulated page components it can be a
> beautiful thing, but applied to page and content layout IMHO it breaks
> the KISS rule.
> Remember complex table layouts? I spent years making them and then
> helping people maintain and extend them. Some best practices emerged 
> and
>   people slowly learned the 2 or 3 tags, and basic concepts necessary.
> For the last 2 or 3 years I've increasingly been able to hand over code
> and expect developers to get it and be able to work with it. That's the
> benchmark for success - do other developers and designers understand
> your code, and when they extend it to make it fit what they need to do 
> -
> does it still look good and work out right? CSS layout isn't there yet.
> Doing the obvious, the "basic" stuff like 3 column templates with
> masthead/footer is full of pitfalls and tricks that are just too
> bleeding edge for widespread adoption at this point.
> Sam
>   - who is not a tables zealot, but will play one on tv if paid.
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