CSS vs tables

I’ve often been criticised for using tables in my website. I only really use them where I’ve found it necessary, but never-the-less, one table is often one too many for some. “Bad design”, etc, etc.

Well, I’m working on a re-design of the Copy+ site and have been attempted to banish tables from the site entirely. All looked well as I tested it in IE. Then Firefox. Oh my. It was a real mess. I tried to sort it, I really did, but eventually became stuck.

A post to discussion board yielded the following answer.. “the top menu ‘catches’ on your logo_box DIV.” The answer is to add “clear: both;” to my DIV.

So I asked how I was supposed to know this. The answer…

Same way as me. You do something, it doesn’t work, so you google it!

I use it so often that I have it defined as a constant in my PHP.

The other thing that I have done is that I get so fed up of fudging inconsistencies between browsers that I now detect the user’s browser and give them an appropriate css file, not a jack of all trades with indecipherable hacks in.

The conclusion… I’m not supposed to realise this. Instead I have to hack about to get the DIV’s right, probably losing sleep and hair in the process.

But, if I use tables I can get it right first time, without any of the above. Hmmm. Guess what I’m now doing to the new site??

Posted by David Artiss

Enterprise Happiness Engineer for the WordPress VIP team at Automattic. Gamer, film lover and general fan of all things Marvel, Star Trek and Star Wars. Failed comedian. Writer for The Big Tech Question. World's Greatest Grandma.

2 Replies to “CSS vs tables”

  1. I can completely relate. I am finding that CSS is extremely powerful and useful, but when it comes to browser compatibility, it can be a programming nightmare. I use tables and css together, to create a crisp, modern yet compatible look.

    It is really the method that best gets YOU from point A to point B. Don’t let others tell you how you should develop your sites. I have developed many sites using tables and many sites using mixes and a few strictly css. The most variation between browsers came from the later.


  2. Thanks for the response. Glad I’m not the only one.

    I do agree wholeheartedly with out, but I was wondering if I was maybe missing something.

    I feel similar with XHTML. I haven’t yet seen the advantage of it, except that it’s new and shiny, but can break your site with older browsers.


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