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<< Aug 1, 2008 @ 19:10 >>

So over at Neatorama they have this post bragging about their table based web design, followed by a chorus of self reassuring hacks. This is my response:

Maybe you are a writer, or an artist, or you make cars, or you write software -- and you want to market yourself on the web. So you go and get Dreamweaver, or you copy and paste some table based layouts from 1995 into a text editor, and you make yourself a website. Good for you. That's great. It is fine if professional web development isn't your thing. I can understand where you are coming from.

You can be a hobbyist web developer, just like I can be a hobbyist bridge maker. I can build a little wooden bridge over the creek in my backyard. That works for me. But you know what? I'm not going to tell somebody who knows how to build a concrete and steel freeway bridge over a river that wood is a better bridge building material just because I can build my wooden bridge faster and cheaper. I'm not going to tell them that 99.9% of people who use the bridge could care less about the chemical properties of concrete. I'm not going to call a REAL bridge engineer a "holier-than-thou, loudmouthed wanker" just because I don't have to worry about whether semi tractor trailers can make it across my little wooden bridge safely.

So maybe your hobbyist table based web design works great for you. Maybe 99.9% of your visitors don't notice or don't care. But that's your website. That's not a professional website.

And maybe there's a bunch of users coming to your website on a mobile phone, and they can't use your site because you chose tables instead of CSS layouts.

And maybe Google bot comes to your site, and wants to build a smart list of keywords, but it can't because you aren't using semantic tags.

And maybe, oh I dunno, a blind person comes to your website because they want to buy your product or read your article. But guess what? Their screen reader doesn't work worth a damn because you are using tables instead of CSS layouts. Did you know Target is in a class action lawsuit right now because their website is inaccessible to the blind?

I bet 90% of you folks defending your use of tables don't know about semantic markup. I bet you've never seen a label tag in your life. I bet you don't give your images alt attributes. Those validation errors are there for a reason.

If you are still using tables, you are doing twice as much work, with half the return. And that might be generous. If you ever were a web professional, you aren't anymore.

And yes, again, I concede that tables vs CSS doesn't matter for your personal blog, or any other website that nobody cares about. But if you fancy yourself a major web player, if your website is a major piece of your business, then hire a real web professional who can give you a website design with semantic markup using CSS layouts.

And if you have a job as a web developer, and you code using tables, keep your mouth shut. Stop talking about things you know nothing about. Stay as far under the radar as you can, and hope that the next 20-something employee at your company doesn't expose you for the fraud that you are.

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Reader Comments...

August 1, 2008 @ 19:29:32

coleco.pngxopl (#001)

I suppose it would have been shorter and made the same point to simply ask if any of those pro table layouts people could actually name a single benefit.

August 18, 2008 @ 14:04:28

suits.png74 (#074)

you are an angry bald old man, you need a lawn and a stick to shake at passerbys.

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