Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Wanted: Layout System


All this is why the old "only use tables for layout" argument keeps coming up over and over: strip away the overheated rhetoric and obvious link-baiting, and you find the core of a real need. Because as powerful as CSS can be, table cells do certain things very easily that CSS makes very, very hard. Cells stretch vertically, keeping equal heights as a matter of their intrinsic nature. They stay out of each others' way, while still being allowed to sit next to each other and use any sizing dimensions. They tie their layout to their parent elements, and vice versa.
There are no equivalents in CSS. There have been various very clever attempts to replicate bits and pieces of those capabilities using CSS. What CSS does, it does very well: if you don't need equal-height layout blocks, then no problem. If you do, it's a massive pain. Clever techniques provide substitutes, but can't replace what tables already do.

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