Design Direction

  • lotheria
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Long time lurker, first time poster.

When I was hired by my company I inherited an asp website built with table elements. Incorporated by a number of include files so you never see the whole picture… I’ve been tasked with the job of reworking the website and giving it a new look and feel.

I have to come up with an easy to use format... for the simple reason I am forced to work with someone that likes to make edits that include deleting a TD or TR here and there, and the concept of COLSPAN or COLROW is just too much to grasp, no matter how many time and how many ways I try to explain their use. So I think the best bet is to get away from tables…

I’ve been told that PHP isn’t an option and ASP.NET is out because I can’t gain access to the database tables. Some pages are very database heavy, so I need to use the current vbasic code that is currently on the pages. We use a number of scripts, as well as a few virtual include files.

So, no PHP, no ASP, and I want to drop kick tables… I’m pushing a CSS & Flash website. However, we have a traffic base of 87% IE, followed by 11% Firefox with the rest using anything from Safari to Konqueror. So do I create a CSS site that I know looks great in IE, decent viewing in Firefox and hit or miss for the rest? What are the chances with each browser release it will break more and more of my site? Is it worth the time and effort to go the route of heavy CSS pages?

Is it best to stick with tables, or should I push into the CSS land. Is there another viable option that I’m just overlooking?
  • digitalMedia
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I think you can do anything you want to do within the contraints you mentioned. You can build a non-table site that looks identical in all browsers. You can rework the tables if you have to. I'd say you really aren't faced with big dilemma here. :)

I'd get rid of the tables, though. ;)
  • spork
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Post 3+ Months Ago

lotheria wrote:
So do I create a CSS site that I know looks great in IE, decent viewing in Firefox and hit or miss for the rest? What are the chances with each browser release it will break more and more of my site? Is it worth the time and effort to go the route of heavy CSS pages?

Yes, it is worth the time and effort. Writing your page in XHTML and CSS doesn't mean that it will only work with certain browsers. If you use clean markup and proper CSS, you can achieve a site that looks identical in almost every browser.

New browser releases usually don't have much of an impact on your site design. Often, new browser versions turn out to be more standards-compliant, so writing your site using strict XHTML and CSS standards should help to maintain cross-broswer compatibility.

If you have the time and resources, rewriting the site from scratch will give you the best results as far as "giving the site a new look and feel." If you're set on just modifying the existing table-based site, you're going to have a much harder time with it.

The big advantage CSS gives you is the ability to keep your presentation/design separate from your content. If you want to make a slight change to your pages, you merely have to edit the appropriate CSS files that determine that style. Down the road, if your boss once again decides that the website needs a new look, your content will still be in tact, and all you'll need is a new stylesheet or two.
  • lotheria
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I apologize I’ve not had an opportunity to respond until now… been busy with CSS. =p As far as standard compatibility goes… I’m not really all that worried about that at the end of the day.. Been reading the IE8 drama the last couple of days, will be interesting to see how that all turns out in the end.

I am planning to write the site from scratch, if I want to get away from tables I don’t have much choice. I did look at a couple convert programs from tables to CSS but they put in a ton of code I don’t want… makes me think of a blow back from FrontPage. No thanks.

Thanks for your input, just wanted to make sure there wasn’t an option out there that I’m overlooking.
  • kbergmann
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I would go the CSS route ... once it is set up right with padding and document margins I have the same results in both FF and IE.

Just too bad rounded corners are not accepted by IE or FF.

If I were you I would avoid the before and after abilities of CSS for inputting text automatically. IE 6 does not read them ...

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