seanmonstar

Apr 9 2009

Tables vs CSS? Really?

I’ve seen several big name web-sites point out this argument about whether or not CSS is worse for making web-sites than tables were, and I’m honestly getting sick of it . Some (self-proclaimed?) bigwigs in the web industry are even saying it’s easier to use tables and that’s what they’re going to use for now. I assume everyone knows the reasons for using standards, semantic html, cascading stylesheets, and the like instead of tables. The benefits are enormous. But is it really too hard?

First, No, It’s not hard.

Honestly, writing HTML semantically is super easy. All you’re doing is defining content. That block of text is a paragraph. The first line is a heading. That list is, gasp, a list! That’s the easiest part. Then, after you’ve defined content logically, you open up a CSS file and style away.

Anyone who’s had to transform a design into CSS a few times and knows most CSS properties available knows it’s not hard at all! It takes a couple hours to turn a design into a web-site. But perhaps I’m biased - I get it . I get CSS. What about people who don’t? I can see that, certainly not everyone excels at the same things. So some people might have much more of a difficult time wrestling with the browsers box model. For people like that, here’s what’s up:

Web-sites Aren’t For You

If you can’t understand or work with the new technologies of an industry, then likely, this industry isn’t for you . Can someone honestly call themselves a web professional if they can’t use the tools the web requires?

It’s equivalent to someone learning programming, and asking them to build a game in Java, for instance. If they could not wrap their mind around Object-Oriented design, would it be sufficient for them to say “I’m just going to write one gigantic function, because it’s easier than trying to understand all that Object junk.” …. Fired.

But You Love Web-sites

Perhaps you can’t work with CSS very well, but you still love web-sites. Ok, so you don’t have to leave the industry, but realize what you can and cannot do! If you’re a designer, and you make pretty things, don’t bash CSS because you find it easier to just press Slice in Photoshop. Stick to making pretty combinations of pixels, and let someone else do it.

Or maybe you’re a developer (I’d find this much rarer, but who knows), and you can’t be bothered with the stupid standards of browsers. It’s too non-standard or non-programmery for you. That’s fine. Stick to optimizing the database and give the front-end people quick and efficient queries. Stick to your thing.

But just because something is hard for you, doesn’t mean the proper response is do it the stupid-er way.