Ashley Sheridan wrote:
On Sat, 2009-05-16 at 09:15 -0400, Robert Cummings wrote:
On Sat, 2009-05-16 at 10:48 +0100, Ashley Sheridan wrote:
On Sat, 2009-05-16 at 02:25 -0400, Paul M Foster wrote:
On Fri, May 15, 2009 at 01:25:42PM -0400, PJ wrote:

I know of no better place to ask. This may not be strictly a PHP issue,
I am busting my hump trying to format rather large input pages with CSS
and trying to avoid tables; but it looks to me like I am wasting my time
as positioning with CSS seems an impossibly tortuous exercise. I've
managed to do some pages with CSS, but I feel like I am shooting myself
in the foot or somewhere...
Perhaps I am too demanding. I know that with tables, the formatting is
ridiculously fast.
Any thoughts, observations or recommendations?
I think it's pretty telling that on a list of professionals who create
websites constantly, the overwhelming concensus is that for forms,
tables are the preferred solution.

I liken this sort of discussion to the dichotomy between movie critics
and people who actually go and see movies. The critics inevitably have
all sorts of snobby things to say about the movies which are best
attended. I'm not sure why anyone listens to any critic on any subject.


Paul M. Foster

I think the argument of tables vs css can go a little deeper too. These
days, sites should not only be developed with good clean code that
validates, but semantic markup. If your client doesn't like/know what
this is, just give it to them in terms of seo!
FWIW, everything I've read indicates that tables don't affect SEO.

Application and Templating Framework for PHP

SEO is not the be and end all. Accessibility is a legal thing in many
countries; UK and Australia especially (they are the two most prominent
I know) so there's no excuse for shoddy coding. I'm not saying that
using tables inevitably leads to that, but more often than not, tables
are used in such a way that the reading of a page is wrong because the
elements appear in the code in the wrong order, even though they
visually appear correct. It's not the responsibility of the
speech/Braille browsers to interpret code designed for a seeing user.
They should only have to interpret semantics.

Rob; sorry, this isn't a pop at you, I just wanted to explain to anyone
who got hooked too much onto the SEO line you mentioned. I agree with
you in that respect though, I've never seen any evidence for tables
having any impact on SEO, and I've done a lot of SEO research!


here's what I do..

I open the page in firefox, using chris pederick web developer toolbar I hit ctrl+shift+s (to disable css); and if the page doesn't look and read like a well formatted general document then I consider it to be made incorrectly.

ash's site is a good example of it done properly, the only think he's missing is either a space between his navigation elements at the top of the page, or they could be popped in a ul.

Really there is no excuse, I've never seen a layout yet that can't be created without tables, and haven't for many years - and the old "I don't have the time / resources" doesn't really float either, as once you've done it 2 or 3 times you can make table-less layouts at the same speed if not faster, not only this but they are far lighter (as less html).

It's the equivalent of somebody coming here with ancient PHP 3 and advocating that they use it because they don't have time to learn or change to a newer version - only difference is that table based layouts are older than php 3 :p


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