Tables, Div Tags and CSS – CSS The Way Forward!

March 29th, 2010 | 1 Comment »

Hi guys, gals, regular readers and any newcomers to our site. This week’s blog post is a special request, a follow on to our previous post: CSS, tables and div tags.

To clarify, times change in web design and best practice for designing websites does too, so here come some ideas, tips, thoughts, reflections, and guidelines if you will, on this very important subject for budding web designers, prospective website owners and pro web gurus alike!

Let’s hit it. Tables are about presenting info, usually of a statistical nature in a way that makes it all easy to digest and compute!

They are especially good for numbers. You find them in science reports, business data and the like. Tables are sometimes used in websites too, and were quite commonly used for a while whenever designers and webmasters wanted to present lists of information, for example, say types of computers on an e-commerce site, with their specifications, memory capacities, features, etc listed in neat, little, easy to read rows.

Also using tables helped designers to control elements on a page. Fast forward a few years to the present and web designers and web masters who are in the know now prefer to use CSS for their layout requirements.

Some experts in the SEO Search Engine Optimisation field suggest that tables should be avoided as much as possible to lay out pages because search engines have had difficulties indexing such pages.

That may be less the case now, but still tables have become increasingly rare in web design, especially as layout tools, due to the advent of CSS – Cascading Style Sheets.

CSS is style sheet language used to describe the look and formatting of a document written in a markup language, most commonly to style web pages written in HTML and XHTML, but also any kind of XML document.

CSS has revolutionised web design, enabling more creative, easier to develop and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) friendly websites.

One of the main advantages of CSS is allowing multiple pages to share formatting, and reducing complexity and repetition in the structural content. CSS can allow the same markup page to be presented in different styles.

CSS uses a priority scheme at the top of the page to determine which style rules apply, and as such gets its name: CSS coding, i.e. Cascading Style Sheets.

With CSS, questions often begin with the difference between div and span and their use in CSS. In standard HTML a div is a block-level element whereas a span is an inline element; however this feature can be developed with the use of CSS where span and div elements become used to imply a logical grouping of enclosed elements on the web page.

So when styling with CSS sheets the common uses of span and div elements are to apply layout, type, colour and other presentational features to the page content.

While at first for some a little difficult to get your head around, CSS has actually made design more creative and removed some of the leg work involved in creating dynamic, SEO friendly and stylish pages. Basically, the current best practice and the way forward to create great websites.

Anyone interested in working professionally as a web designer

needs to get on the case with CSS as soon as possible.

CSS best practice is maintained by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), who provide all the info you need on becoming an expert CSS practitioner!

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