Div Layers Versus Tables

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I've been developing web sites since the mid nineties. In those early days life was a lot simpler than it is today. When I look back at sites I developed then, I'm surprised at how plain they look, although I was very pleased with them at the time – and I guess I still am really.

In those days it was simply a case of putting HTML tags around bits of text. There was no talk of CSS files or Div Layers or anything complicated like that. Nowadays, a lot of the techniques we used then are fried upon, and we are all encouraged to use the latest techniques – I suppose there's nothing wrong with that though.

Up until recently I had always used tables to lay out blocks of text, etc in a browser window. But for the last site I did, I decided to take the plunge and use Div Layers (defined within a CSS file) through. My reasons I guess were peer pressure – ie people telling me that I should do it – and the belief that I would be able to lay out items very precisely so that things appeared the same from browser to browser.

It's true that the code you need to enter onto individual web pages is a lot simpler than if you use tables, but I have to admit I found some of the CSS coding a bit tricky. For example, I had real difficulty in positioning layers inside a centered container layer. Now I've got it working it does not seem too bad, but I had to scratch my head for a while in order to get it to work.

I'm just about to start on a new site and, yes, I'm planning to use CSS layers again. I'm not anti tables though – I'm a firm believer in developers using whatever techniques work for them. Tables have served me well over the years and I guess I will still use them from time to time.

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