Interview for CSS and Tables
"CSS and Tables" interview with Sandra Clark
Michael Smith: This time we are talking with Sandra Clark about her CFUNITED-05
talk "CSS and Tables". So why should a developer come to your session Sandra ?
Sandra Clark: Well Michael, while the debate over styling a web site using
either Tables or CSS is a hot topic, there isn't that much focus on how to style
tables for tabular data using CSS. Styling tables for tabular data is different
then styling other HTML tags with CSS, different rules apply. As programmers, a
lot of our time is spent working with tabular data and the more that is known on
the rules of styling a table the easier it will be.
MS: Why does it make any difference whether you layout using HTML tables or CSS?
Isn't the result the same?
SC: It depends. Visually, there shouldn't be that much of a difference between
the two. But the difference is readily apparent when someone is accessing a site
via dialup (nested table layouts are very bloated and take longer to download
then CSS layouts) or when accessing a web site from something other than a
visual browser. People are accessing sites in various ways now, Screen Reader
for those who are blind, mobile phones, PDA's. One of the nice things about CSS
layout sites is that the same content code can be used by all User Agents, not
just the visual browsers we think about when we think about the web.
MS: So it is easy to layout a table in CSS? What issues occur?
SC: Basically you are asking for my entire talk! So if you want to find out all
the issues, you will have to come to my talk. Tables are easy to layout in CSS,
they lay themselves out based on the HTML, but do you want to have cell borders
touch each other or separate? Do you want different borders on each cell? If so,
if there are two different borders touching and the borders touch each other,
which one will be displayed? How do you control margins and paddings within
MS: Hmm, sounds complex - are there any tools to help with this?
SC: Not really, and its not that complex. The best overall tool that I have
found for CSS editing is TopStyle Pro. Coincidentally, Nick Bradbury, the
creator of TopStyle is also the original creator of HomeSite.
MS: What is the future for CSS?
SC: CSS version 3 is currently undergoing development within the W3c. People on
the committee are currently really looking at what works and what doesn't. Also
CSS is being used more and more outside of HTML. Flash uses some CSS for
styling, and you can style XML using CSS as well through XSLT. I will
talk more about CSS at my one day class before CFUNITED
MS: That is good news. I will look forward to seeing you at CFUNITED if