[development] Tables in Themes in Drupal 7

Carl Wiedemann carl.wiedemann at gmail.com
Tue May 3 20:40:52 UTC 2011

> Stop trying to hold onto tables.  You're only harming yourself... and your
> clients... and your visitors. :-)


On Tue, May 3, 2011 at 11:22 AM, Larry Garfield <larry at garfieldtech.com>wrote:

> I had already long-since abandoned table-based layout as an unmaintainable
> mess by the time jQuery came about.  Certainly manipulating the page at
> runtime will be easier if you have semantically useful markup rather than
> presentational markup.  That way you can vary the presentation by just
> flipping some CSS settings rather than screwing with the DOM (which is
> harder, more error prone, takes more code, and makes the browser work harder
> which results in slower pages).
> Really.  Stop trying to hold onto tables.  You're only harming yourself...
> and your clients... and your visitors. :-)
> --Larry Garfield
> On 5/2/11 6:47 PM, Warren Vail wrote:
>> Larry,
>> I Did a little more research that generated a new question, would love
>> to get your input.
>> I did find several sites designed for mobile devices that are being used
>> successfully with tables so that bit may have been speculation, but I
>> did discover, I think, two modules within Drupal that might not work
>> well with Tabled layout, jQuery and RDF. jQuery alone is probably worth
>> my learning CSS layout, just to be able to crank out all the possible
>> features there now and in the future. RDF, unless I miss-read something,
>> seems to be designed to make the search engine job easier by providing a
>> mechanism for you to tell the search engine the entire story of a page,
>> something normal text scanning could (and does) occasionally miss. My
>> only reservation about RDF is the potential for abuse, but then I
>> probably will find they’ve fixed that when I read a bit more on the
>> subject.
>> Is it true that jQuery has problems with tabled layout?
>> /*/Warren Vail/*/
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> *From:*development-bounces at drupal.org
>> [mailto:development-bounces at drupal.org] *On Behalf Of *Larry Garfield
>> *Sent:* Sunday, May 01, 2011 10:45 PM
>> *To:* development at drupal.org
>> *Subject:* Re: [development] Tables in Themes in Drupal 7
>> Table-based markup:
>> 1) Is worse for search engines. Search engines handle semantic markup
>> better, because they can extract useful information about the page from
>> the markup. Tables confuse them and they cannot rank the data on the
>> page as well.
>> 2) Is more verbose. While your eyes may have grown accustomed to it,
>> that makes the page load more slowly. With the proliferation of the
>> wireless web (back to dialup speeds we go!), that is a significant
>> problem. The usual example I use here is Slashdot, which switched from
>> table-based to pure-CSS layout back in the early '00s and saved multiple
>> *gigabytes* of data transfer per month. That translates into $$$, as
>> well as a faster user experience.
>> 3) Is harder to maintain. Really. Even in a CMS.
>> 4) Is not accessible. By "accessible" I mean "makes sense to something
>> other than a pair of human eyeballs". Screen readers, search engines,
>> assitive technology (for people that are partially disabled), etc. all
>> work better with intelligent, semantic markup than with purely visual
>> markup.
>> 5) Is harder to build. Really. Especially in a dynamic system like
>> Drupal, table-based layout makes it harder to build a flexible page.
>> 6) Doesn't scale down to mobile browsers. Mobile browsers will be the
>> majority of web traffic within 2 years or so by some estimates. In some
>> parts of the world it already is. Good semantic designs scale down to 4"
>> screens far more easily than tables. I'd go as far as saying that
>> "adaptive design" (where the layout changes depending on the size of the
>> screen automatically) is simply impossible with tables.
>> 7) Doesn't offer anywhere near the expressive power of CSS. If you're
>> trying to get a visual effect fancier than three columns with fixed
>> rectangular color regions, you need to use CSS for styling. Tables just
>> can't do that.
>> Not to put too fine a point on it, but if all you're thinking about is
>> "a good looking theme", use Photoshop, not the web. Building a web page
>> is about far far far more than simply painting a picture, and if you
>> want to do more than paint a picture that has columns in it you need to
>> use CSS-based layout.
>> "Personal preference" is not even on the table (no pun intended) for why
>> CSS-based design is better than table-based. It's not a "prejudice of
>> the lazy". It's a prejudice for using the right tools for the job they
>> were intended for, and using them properly. That's not a subjective
>> statement, nor one simply based on which one learned first.
>> Yes, it's time for you to learn CSS. Fortunately, it's much easier than
>> it used to be since modern browsers finally support CSS properly (now
>> that IE 6 is a virtually non-existent player in most markets).
>> --Larry Garfield
>> On 05/02/2011 12:07 AM, Warren Vail wrote:
>> I was just getting ready to tackle my first theme in Drupal 7, and is my
>> practice, looking through the themes to find for one to hack into being
>> mine, when I found that none of them used tables for layout. Now I have
>> heard many people voice the opinion that tabled layouts (which I’ve been
>> quite successful with) are bad, and CSS (which I am less prepared to
>> deal with) are good. And in my ages of experience I have, up until now,
>> assumed that the expressed choice between good and bad was based on (as
>> it often is) what people had learned vs what they had not, and did not
>> want to have to bother to learn, so I said nothing until now
>> Now I see that Drupal 7 (a product I have some respect for) seems to
>> have none, in those that I have looked into, at least. Did what I had
>> perceived to be merely a prejudice of the lazy make it’s way all the way
>> into the D7 Platform, or is there some legitimate reason for abandoning
>> tabled layouts that I have missed (must I finally buckle down to my own
>> laziness and tackle CSS to that depth)?
>> Why are Tables BAD and CSS GOOD (keep in mind, I’m after a good looking
>> theme, and not good looking code, necessarily, since none of my end
>> users will ever look at the code). I am looking for some reason other
>> than good looking code (or someone’s vision of correctness) to get
>> behind CSS for my themes, and believe me “being easier” won’t convince
>> me much either. I’m guessing there must be some other good reason I’ve
>> missed.
>> What would that be?
>> /*/Warren Vail/*/
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.drupal.org/pipermail/development/attachments/20110503/66dd8f24/attachment-0001.html 

More information about the development mailing list