Better safe than sorry

by Joe Gillespie — May 1, 2002

Now, I have to point out that taking this 'table and style' approach is frowned upon by purists who are only too keen to highlight its disadvantages.

1. It mixes and confuses structure and style.

2. It doesn't work for non-desktop computer-based browsers such as those in cell phones, PDAs and other such devices that are increasingly being connected to the Net.

3. It is more difficult to maintain and bloats page sizes unnecessarily.

Yes, there is a lot of truth in these arguments. On the other hand, it is almost impossible to design a Web page today without making some compromises. Some of those compromises affect the 'look' of the page, some of them are more to do with the 'correctness' of the underlying markup and some are about reliability and dependability.

If you accept that the purpose of a Web page is to communicate, then what you see must be more important than what you don't.

If you can't see the page because the markup is broken that is a serious obstacle to communication. If you are not communicating what you want to say, subliminally, because the 'look' is broken, that too is a problem.

Obviously, your viewpoint will change depending on who you are, your own set of priorities and what exactly it is that you are trying to achieve. There is no absolutely correct answer just as there is no absolutely definitive browser.

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