Table-less design rant

March 2, 2005


Table-less design rant

I have had it with designing cross-browser web pages without tables.

OK, I get it. An HTML table was never intended to be used for pixel-perfect design layouts. For that matter, HTML was never intended to be used for pixel-perfect design layouts, period.

But, I have tried to go with the flow. The design gurus say, don’t use tables…use CSS. But from a productivity standpoint, that stinks. I have spent countless hours trying to get CSS-based

elements to do my bidding. And you know what. I am done. I will try and use CSS-based layouts when possible, but if I have to spend more than a few minutes trying to get things to position properly, I am back to using tables.

Now, I am no designer, but then I am not completely clueless about CSS either. I tell you, with the number of workarounds/hacks that you have to use to get cross-browser layouts to work using CSS only, I am surprised that people still continue to pursue this type of design. Doesn’t productivity matter more than “View source…”?

There is nothing inherently wrong with tables in HTML unless your overall page is one giant table. Then the user is going to wait until the browser can figure out how to lay the table out. For intermediate content, I don’t see how using tables is a big problem if my targeted browsers are IE and Firefox and I use them for layout of elements within the page. (Yes…I am aware that there are other browsers, but just as people have a choice of browser, I have a choice of the browsers I will support.)

I develop web applications. If my app enables the user to complete the task it was intended for quickly and easily, then as far as I am concerned, tables or no tables, my app is a success. So until all the browser developers get their act together, I am going to keep my tables.



Founder NftyDreams; founder Decentology; co-founder DNN Software; educator; Open Source proponent; Microsoft MVP; tech geek; creative thinker; husband; dad. Personal blog: Twitter: @techbubble
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