Council Of Evil Tables

When I started learning web design, the process was moving away from table based designs (though I doubt any were actually in The Council of Evil Tables). HTML tables could have a picture as a background image with text written into the cells. Since designs were often created with photoshop, it was quite easy to slice them into chunks and put them into tables. Download speeds were much slower than so this would allow the background pictures to be loaded in pieces rather than having no background until the whole picture loaded.

CSS provides style rules in one or more separate documents referenced using a link tag of your HTML page. The typical format of a CSS rule is the name of the element followed by a list of semi-colon separated rules within curly braces.   As an example  p { margin-top: 20px; background-color: green; } would make all paragraphs have a 20 pixel margin at the top and a green background color.  If there is only one rule, it is followed. If there are two rules of equal weight repeated, the last iteration of this rule is used. One difficulty is that an entity may be referred to by more than one rule. In this case, the most specific rule wins. This can get confusing. The Firefox browser with the Firebug plugin can be very helpful for isolating elements and determining which rules are actually being applied.

The practice of using HTML tables for layout bothered some people as the HTML table tag were intended to convey tabular information. The development of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) helped this situation enormously. It allowed the separation of information and decoration. It also provided a means to make sitewide changes in appearance in one place rather than having to change each and every page. I understand that HTML tables for layout may be making a comeback with the latest iteration, HTML5. It does not sound like a good idea to me and it seems others agree as seen at


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About Robert

Robert is a novice web site developer. A lack of professional training has not prevented him from creating some very nice websites for small businesses who would otherwise have gone without a web presence.


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