April 17, 2011
Tables, DIVs and the Future
I'm coding again, and that will also mean I'm writing again. I want to write
about what I'm doing, and I think what I'm doing is exciting, so maybe this
blog will return to that, too. Or not. We'll see.
When I first started web design, everything with rigid formatting was done in
tables. We didn't have CSS yet, so if you wanted positions, you made a table.
If you were graphically inclined, you drew your tables in Photoshop (or
Fireworks, or Illustrator) and sliced it up, repeating portions that were
worth repeating. It was fun, but it was tedious. Most importantly, it worked.
With the rise of CSS (except in IE6, still a problem), the Internet Hivemind
commanded we stop doing that. Instead, we switched to DIVs. Everywhere. Tables
were only useful now for tabular data, as the name would rightly suggest.
Frameworks sprung up (I'm fond of Blueprint, myself) to make it easier, and
that's how we went. Hacks existing to do special things, but you made a
semantic DIV to encapsulate content. It's good, readable code, and tedious to
What's next then? I have no idea. HTML5 was rumored to bring semantic sections
(header, footer, navigation, content), but it's not adopted. I'm working on a
new layout for a site – not this one, sorry – and I'm finding that I'm four
divs in before getting to content. It's absurd, but it works. I supposed if I
was really troubled I could lobby the W3C, but it's not worthwhile. I'd rather
fuss. At least I write moderately reusable code that I leverage (read: cut and
paste) to new projects.
Oh, and I blog at midnight. That never helps me not-complain.