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Any web designers here? Web page layout question

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6 replies to this topic

#1 of 7 OFFLINE   Joe Spratley

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Posted August 30 2004 - 03:21 AM

I'm getting ready to make a new website. I've already created one with Yahoo sitebuilder www.jjstech.com and now I would like to move to Dreamweaver since it offers more features. I am wondering about CSS layout. I've been reading about it and it seems to be better than using tables. Are designers using mostly CSS now or are they still using Tables? I know some of the cons to table layout but are there any cons to CSS besides some of the older browsers not supporting it?

#2 of 7 OFFLINE   Tim K

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Posted August 30 2004 - 04:38 AM

I'm not that familiar with CSS, but I was under the impression that they are more for maintaining consistent styling and for rolling out overall site changes than for actual layout. External CSS files are typically called upon in the header of a page and instruct the browser how to handle information on that page. For example, the browser will refer to the CSS file to determine background colors, font colors, font sizes, etc. These properties can be applied to any or all of the page that you are working with. In other words, if you have a two column page layout you can make the text in the left column green and text on the right bold red.

The purpose of doing so is to make site changes easier. For example, if you decided to change your site's color scheme, instead of having to alter the code on every page, you just change the CSS file.

#3 of 7 OFFLINE   Don_Houle


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Posted August 30 2004 - 05:00 AM


I am a web programmer by day (using mostly PHP, MySQL, Linux, etc) - not a web designer per se, although I end up designing the majority of the "look and feel" of my company's internal web applications just because there's no one else to do that sort of stuff! Anyway, I used to rely on HTML tables to provide the formatting for our pages but over the past few months, I've been moving steadily towards more CSS formatting. Tables are still part of our pages, but I use them more appropriately - to lay out data in a structured way - not for page formatting.

The use of CSS is increasing as the push to move towards web standards becomes and the desire to separate content from presentation on the web becomes stronger. Do a Google search for "web standards" and you'll find a lot of very informative sites about this. CSS can provide a lot more functionality than just changing the font size and color on a page, although that's it's major use right now. CSS is also important in providing usability features for disabled web surfers.

As you stated, the major downside to relying on CSS is the varied browser support. This is not something that I've had much problem with because we force everyone to use IE for our internal sites, but in testing I've run into all sorts of difficulties. There are workarounds for most problems, but these can really be headache inducing!

About the only other con is the learning curve that comes along with implementing CSS. If you're used to writing HTML in any old way or using a WYSIWYG editor, then it will probably take you a while to get used to the < div > and < span > tags as well as CSS's use of classes and selectors.Once you get the hang of it though, you'll love the control over presentation that CSS provides.

If you have any specific questions, feel free to PM me!

#4 of 7 OFFLINE   nolesrule



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Posted August 30 2004 - 05:24 AM

CSS layout works well, but it's a little more difficult to tweak if you are using a graphics-heavy layout, especially if you want a site that can go all the way to the edge of the browser.

It takes some time getting used to. You also should see how it makes the site look with variosu browsers and with CSS turned off.

#5 of 7 OFFLINE   Joe Spratley

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Posted August 30 2004 - 06:21 AM

Thanks for the replies guys. I am still fairly new to web design. On my other site I have about 100 pages and every time I make a new one I have to play with the positioning of the various elements which can be frustrating, because if something is off by a little bit it makes things look unbalanced. I also tried the tables approach which can get very annoying, so when I read about CSS that seemed the way to go.

Don, Thanks for letting me know what term to search on. I didn't know what the terminology was so I was having a hard time finding the info on the web.

#6 of 7 OFFLINE   cafink



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Posted August 30 2004 - 07:31 AM

As has been said, a lot has been written on this subject. The HTML "table" tag is made to lay out data in a tabular format, and ideally, you want to avoid using it as a design tool.

For a really impressive example of what CSS can do, check out CSS Zen Garden.


#7 of 7 OFFLINE   Don_Houle


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Posted August 30 2004 - 07:38 AM


That's a great site. I was going to point that out, but I figured that anyone doing any research on the web would eventually run across Zen Garden.

The diversity of interpretation and display of the same content is really amazing.