Sunday 5 September 2004

faux tables?

ERIC AND DOUG got inspired to figure out a way to create a table-less grid layout using CSS only. My own verdict: Sometimes, a table really is the way to go.

Eric describes the process that he and Douglas Bowman went through to work their way into creating a table-less layout where all columns are the same height (regardless of content) and the layout is fluid.

You can read Doug’s take on it in his piece “Liquid Bleach.” If you haven’t visited Doug’s site in a while, he’s redesigned again! You can read Eric’s take on it in his piece, “Sliding Faux Columns.”

After reading both articles, I’m far less ambivalent than Eric. If you really need this effect, I do not see any problem with using a light table and then relying on CSS to style it in every other way.

Sometimes, trying to work around limitations is far more time consuming and frustrating than the obvious solution.

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 13:04 | Comments (13)

Comments (13)

  1. Eric and Doug are totally aware of the fact that using tables is necessary, and sometimes the only option, in some cases. If you ask them their opinion, I’m sure they’d say exactly what you said:

    “If you really need this effect, I do not see any problem with using a light table and then relying on CSS to style it in every other way.”

    They know this, that’s for sure.

    I think they only reason they are attempting this is because they are always inspired by such endeavors. They (among many others) are CSS fanatics, and they are always “pushing the edge.”

    Plus, imagine if they did find a completely useful solution – one that is usable, extensible, and fully accessible. Imagine the notoriety then.

    Also – I would LOVE to see that happen. These guys are great. They are the future of the web. We need these types of experiments. I hope they find a way.

  2. I’d agree with Matthom.

  3. I agree. When it comes to a technology – one incapable of physically harming anyone – we should continuously push the edge of the envelope. I admire their passion for problem-solving and believe the world would be a better place if more people left our schools with such determination.

  4. I agree that sometimes using tables is the lighter, easier solution. THe only problem with using a table for layout is when it comes to using print and other media sheets, you have extra code in the html you have to either hide or worry about. It also becomes an issue when redesigning a site.

    I’m not a CSS guru or zealot but I’m responsible for the tech/design on a few different sites that have thousands of articles. Even limited use of tables becomes a headache. Don’t use them unless you have to support older browsers in your design.

  5. It’s amazing what a holy war the use of tables has become; it’s also laughable. A quick cruise through the WordPress Support forum will yield at least a couple of snobbish swipes at any site that dares use tables.

  6. I agree with Eric and you about the fact that it really isn’t worth the trouble yet to NOT use a table for this specific application, but there is one benefit that you guys forgot to mention concerning table-less layouts, including this one.

    Actually, Sheldon Kotyk above has touched on it. Accessibility! Not only for handicapped/blind users either, what about people with handheld wireless devices? Take away the css from a table, and you still have a table, take away css from a div, and you have default document flow. This is an important thing to consider, and therefore, someone who needs to focus on this audience within their site may prefer to struggle through getting this to work.

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