89
kurtr
3y

TABLE BASED WEB DESIGN

I was surprised there were no rants about this topic before I realized it was more than a decade back 😳

We've never had it better! So to help add a little perspective for all those ranting about what is unarguably the golden age for web developers... let me fill you in on web dev in the late 90's;

JavaScript was a joke. No seriously! - I once got laughed out of the room for suggesting we try use it for more than disabling a button - (I wanted to check out the new XHR request thingy [read AJAX]).

HTML was simple and purely a markup language (with the exception of the marquee tag). The tags were basically just p,ul,ol,h*,form inputs,img and table and html took 10 minutes to learn. Any style was inline and equally crude - anything that wasn't crude could not be trusted and probably wouldn't render at all in most browsers (never mind render correctly).

There were rumors of a style TAG and something called a cascading style sheet which were received with much skepticism since it went against the old ways and any time saved would be lost writing multiple [IE version specific] style sheets for each browser just to get it to work - so we simply didn't.

No CSS meant the only tags you had to work with to create a structured layout were br, hr and table... so naturally EVERYTHING was in nested tables! JS callback hell can't touch this! - it was not uncommon to have 50+ nested tables all with inline style in a single page which would be edited without any dev tools or linting.

You would spend 30 minutes scanning td tags until your eyes bled to find something, make a change, ftp the file to the server, reload the web page and then spend 10 minutes staring at the devastation on your screen convinced you broke
the internet before spotting an un-closed td tag with your bloodshot eyes.

Tables were not just a silver bullet - they were the ONLY bullet and were in the wild west!

Q: Want an inline form or to align your inputs left?
A: Duh table!

Q: Want a border with round-corners, a shadow or blur?
A: That's easy! Your gonna want to put that table in the center cell of another table then crop a image of the border into 6 smaller images to put in the surrounding cells... oh and then spend 10 minutes fucking with mystical attributes like cell-padding and valign to get them flush.

...But hey at least on the bright-side vertically & horizontally centering stuff was a breeze!

Comments
  • 35
    There’s a reason we don’t bring this topic up any more, the horrors and nightmares have been suppressed for years.
    Thank you for sending me down memory lane and giving me another heart attack.
  • 17
    Hahahahaa. That's how I lost my virginity. I don't wanna talk about it. 😐
  • 6
    The company I work for still has many legacy apps that use tables as layouts 👌
  • 5
    @cursee let's talk about it
  • 3
    @fuckWindows I was so young back then 🙁
  • 7
    @fuckWindows Who do you think invented the standing desks? That's right, it's @cursee.
  • 1
    @cursee need more details 🤣
  • 7
    @deflox legacy apps? some of my colleague still uses it for laying out website
  • 7
    Also, half of the devs were on Ecstasy on the weekends which was big in the 90s, that's where those neon colour flash websites came from.
  • 5
    now i feel self conscious for recently using <table> ..not as layout but to represent data. Table isnt always bad, right?
  • 1
    @devTea yeah there are probably also new apps released that are using table layouts but I didn't want it to sound that bad 😂
  • 2
    @BurnoutDV Table is fine if you are using it to create/show a table, its when you start using it for layout and styling that you need to reevaluate the importance of IE4 support for your customers.
  • 5
    I still see tables when we make email templates. It's horrifying.
  • 1
    @devrocket yeah, email is still a bit of a special case since some mail clients have old and/or horrendus built in browsers, + mail templates tend to have reasonably simple layouts so you usually don't need to nest the tables too deeply.
  • 3
    I hate HTML emails anyway.
  • 1
    @devrocket you are excused, for emails there is literally no other way
  • 1
    @BurnoutDV ya I wouldn't use it anywhere else.
  • 3
    > (...) JavaScript was a joke. (...)

    It still is...
  • 0
    Your topic triggered my PTSD
  • 0
    @devrocket yeah, but you can still use SOME inline styles
  • 0
    @tooMuchCoffee Originality 100
  • 0
    @BurnoutDV wrong, you can't really mix and match a <table> for the responsiveness, you're better off with flexbox and grid to keep data presentation sanely manageable between different screen sizes U_U
  • 0
    @smb26 *ouch* ✨😵
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