Mostly about Javascript, Ruby on Rails and other web stuff

Sebastian's Blog

Don't Hate Tables

Recently I was maintaining a project were the original developer did everything using lists to present data in rows and columns like a table.

So to present something like this:

        <th >Cosher </th>
        <td>To treat with special fondness.</td>
        <th style='padding-right:12px;'>Flamboyant </th>
        <td>strikingly bold or brilliant; showy: flamboyant colors.</td>
<br />

they were using a ul like this:

    <li>Cosher <span>To treat with special fondness.</span></li>
    <li>Flamboyant<span>strikingly bold or brilliant; showy: flamboyant colors.</span></li>

And then styling the list using CSS to make it look like a table.

This is a little less markup than a normal table but what for? It seems to me like the ‘no tables’ mantra taken to the extreme. This is perfectly appropriate content for a table. And using a table makes better sense because:

  • Developer looking at the code will immediately know what the intention is
  • The code is easier to maintain because you don’t have to fight with the css to make something look like a table when it is not
  • The display is consistent in any browser
  • People disabling CSS will still see a table

So please use tables when appropriate, don’t hate them.