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I am forced to do table-layouts and I don’t know why

  • # July 30, 2008 at 9:19 am

    Hi everybody,
    This is just a little venting, please forgive me.

    I just had a new project from a client, just a very small intranet-like site.
    The guy who integrates the markup with the CMS code wants me to -not- use divs for the layout blocks (instead he wants me to use tables) and -avoid- IDs in favour of classes. (he is not a css expert, in case you’re wondering)

    This is ridiculous, because he doesn’t seem to be able to explain to me why. And hey, I’m enough technical to understand a developer’s point of view, at work the perl/php guys and we xhtml/css people are constantly talking and exchanging views on how to do each part in a way that facilitates the other, and we usually understand each other’s reasons and needs perfectly and do great work together… But this guy is just hostile.

    Maybe I’m looking at it from a wrong angle, so I’m here seeking advice from you fellow coders and designers.

    (I know, in the end I’m going to do it because I have to pay the rent… but it won’t be something I’ll put i my portfolio.)

    How do you deal with having to do a job in a terrible way, not even knowing why?
    This is my second experience in freelancing, so maybe some of you out there can give me some advice.

    Thank y’all for letting me share this. :)

    # July 30, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    You need to explain why tables are not so great for layout. Contrary to what many people say tables are standards compliant so is not a legitimate argument.

    tables shouldn’t be used because:
    – They make larger files than <div> style files this is because there is more lines of code involved in creating a page
    – If someone want’s to print the page it most likely will not fit on to a piece of paper well (it’s easier to to a print specific style sheet for divs as you can hide the menu etc)
    – They are less accessible particularly for mobile devices and those who like larger text etc…
    – There are rumblings that tables are not as good for SEO than standard divs and certainly H tags
    – Tables make the site look less professional to those that know about web design (could potential clients of your client know about web design?)
    – Tables are for data NOT content!

    As for IDs explain to your client that because each news item will be able to have a unique id they can be linked to directly like anchor links so is easier for clients to bookmark exactly what they need.

    # July 30, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    in addition to the last poster’s advice, I’d also recommend pointing out that a CSS driven layout will just look a lot better than a layout done with tables, not to mention that CSS layouts are much more customizable than a table layout. I recently did a website with tables for myself (before discovering CSS-Tricks and really learning about CSS), and I absolutely hated it. I’ve remade it with CSS and it looks a lot better. Sure, tables are standards compliant, but so are DIVs – and they’re a lot more flexible.

    # July 31, 2008 at 6:34 am

    Thank you for your replies :)
    Actually I already explained all of this to the guy (and well… he doesn’t care about standards or accessibility or whatever…), he just keeps saying that divs pose problems with the CMS integration, with no further detailed explanation (which is the thing that drives me nuts).

    If the page markup is structured in a sensible way, I really can’t understand what’s the problem with divs.

    Anyway, I’m afraid I’ll have to comply. It’s a shame though, because when starting a new project I look forward to the challenge and fun of planning a good solution for code and presentation… :)
    Well, I’m confident there’ll be more challenging projects in the future… Now I just have to remember how to code a design with tables and this will be a challenge in itself, haven’t done table-layouts since early 2000’s… :D

    # July 31, 2008 at 7:10 am

    As I said, I did one recently. Shouldn’t be too hard, almost like riding a bike. TD, TR, and TABLE tags abound. Joy!

    # July 31, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    I wouldn’t allow a client to tell me how I build my websites – and I would refuse to accept the job. It’s one thing to have a client providing (too much/unwanted) input into the look, feel and even functionality of a site – but you must draw the line at taking instruction on how it’s built! Do yourself a favour, refuse the job.

    # August 1, 2008 at 12:30 pm
    "Flavia" wrote:
    The guy who integrates the markup with the CMS code wants me to -not- use divs for the layout blocks (instead he wants me to use tables) and -avoid- IDs in favour of classes.

    What content management system is he using that requires content tables and classes?

    So we can avoid at all costs! ;)

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