Let’s do the time warp again!

Ξ January 25th, 2010 | → 0 Comments | ∇ School, Pedagogy, Design, Development |

I’m taking a beginning web development class for my degree. I already expected to be extremely bored in this class, especially since it focuses on Dreamweaver and not having any knowledge of code. Dreamweaver can be handy, mostly the code view since it’s color coded and lets me see syntax much easier. So this class should be easy, right? Just ignore the stuff about using the design view and build the assignments by hand in the code view (because to me that’s easier). Then I looked through the course schedule and found something interesting. It was almost offensive, yet comical at the same time.

It reads, “Assignment #9 – Abstract = Design: Nesting Tables.”

My first reaction was “LOL”. Really? Did we time warp back to 2004 when people were using tables for layout purposes? I actually asked someone what year it was and checked to see if Bush was in office. Honestly, teaching this seems like a huge disservice to the students considering it’s an extremely outdated technique.

Let me go over the reasons why this is terrible:

  • It’s semantically incorrect markup.
  • It’s terrible for screen readers. We’re supposed to be learning about accessibility, and this contradicts that.
  • Tables are more bytes per markup than other options.
  • We have CSS. Using a table locks you in the table for good. If you use Divs and CSS, then you have much more flexibility with your layout. Should you ever choose to change some part of it, it’s much easier, not to mention that building the page in the first place would be easier without using tables.
  • Last but not least… TABLES ARE FOR TABULAR DATA ONLY!

To be fair, using tons of divs, ids, and classes just for styling is also semantically incorrect markup. But that’s the best we’ve got for design until HTML5. I’d rather use the better of the two options.

Fortunately, the professor teaching the first half of the class doesn’t seem to be teaching this, which is awesome, because I like her a lot. But come on, why is that junk part of the curriculum anyway? I still haven’t decided if I should quietly do the assignment or challenge the teacher on the terrible way she’s teaching us how to make a layout. At least she’s not teaching us to use framesets.

Original post by Sufjan


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