I Hate Tables

My post from yesterday seems to have been kidnapped by the internet mutants. So here we go again.

Everyone must know that I hate misuses of tables. “Table layouts” are the most common example: website owners use the HTML table element to create their layout. I never really got it—including way back then, when I tried making one and just couldn’t make something interesting. Using a table sounds not only terribly wrong, but also terribly limiting and, I must say, strange.

When I think of a table, I think of a series of rows and columns that hold and display information. They belong to the “scheme” area of our brain, the little part of us that synthesizes everything. Layouts, on the other side, are part creativity part scheming—the layouts I make, at least, although the one currently here isn’t exactly creative. Anyway, back on topic: a layout is the way you organize the different areas of a web page. This organization will ideally take into consideration usability, accessibility and aesthetics. In order to create a layout that will have all of these qualities, one should, inside one’s mind at first, divide the contents of said page into various sections: the main content area, the navigation, the footer, the extra stuff and, in some cases, the main decorative image, most of the time a “header image”. After this division inside one’s mind, one can proceed to actually divide the page the same way through markup in order to achieve the three points mentioned above.

Where would a table come into this process? A layout doesn’t display tabular data. You aren’t looking at statistics, at a list of phone numbers or whatever. You are looking at a bloody website.

Anyway, that said, there is something even worse. There is the use of tables for absolutely every single element of the website, like tables were the atoms of the web.

I was reading Rhiannon‘s latest reviews and I discovered a website offering tutorials for which I cannot think of a soft adjective that would describe how much I was ashamed to think that some people actually write this. It is not even a tutorial, actually, just a snippet of markup with an explanation of what it does. Or rather, part of what it does, as I will demonstrate. In order to create glowing text:

<TABLE STYLE="filter:GLOW(color=COLOR NAME, strength=3)">
<TR><TD><center>
YOUR TEXT HERE</TR></TD></TABLE>

I’ll skip the fact that it is in uppercase and is displayed inside a textarea which, in the end, doesn’t matter compared to all of the crap you can find in this. First, it is proprietary to Internet Explorer (and a rather pointless effect). Plus, the markup does two major things that are not even mentioned by the creator. First, it centers the text; and it does it with a deprecated tag that is not even closed. Then, it is inside a bloody table. Why the fuck is there a table around there? What, tell me, is inside this tiny little piece of markup that could resemble something you’d expect to find in a table?

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1 Comment »

  1. Rhiannon Said:

    Hey Julie, how’s it going? I’ve been here before actually šŸ™‚

    Hmm – what tutorial site was that? Inobscuro? I can’t think of any other tutorial sites I’ve mentioned in reviews.

    You should let Jem know whatever site it was, she’s on the lookout for crap tutorial sites!

    Take care šŸ™‚


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