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Re: HEADS UP: Website Overhaul

From: Gary Thorpe <gathorpe79@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 10 Mar 2004 22:53:14 -0500

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Rahul Siddharthan wrote:

> Increasingly OT: I'd suggest moving this to -chat except that there
> isn't a chat list yet... 
>>>>Using tables to format text is bad style and the ugliest but most 
>>>>popular hack on the internet. It doesn't "look" that fancy when you 
>>>>have to use a text browser (instead of the memory gobbling mozilla).
>>>What should one use, then?  Frames?  Divs?  Neither of those look all 
>>>that great in lynx, either.
>>How about paragraphs and subheadings? Unless it is tabular data, it 
>>should not be tabularized. The only reason people do it is to get a 
>>magazine-like side list os links: its too bad a web page isn't a magazine.
> Actually, many webpages are (online versions of) magazines, and I
> don't know about you but I'd rather have a sidebar than scroll up and
> down hunting for links, thank you very much.  And if lynx can't
> display tables that's lynx's problem: this is 2004, even other
> text-mode browsers (w3m, links) display tables nicely.

Lynx does display tables: just not in a visually tabular format. That's 
my point. If you put the links at the top, many browsers will let you 
get there with a single key stroke. Web pages are NOT printed paper: the 
monitor displaying the content may be completely different from what the 
page was "developed" for. This is common knowledge and the problems with 
  the "paper look" are well known (like hardcoding table widths).

And 'links' sometimes displays tables OFF the damn screen as well as 
some text that the authors put in some fixed-width element. This is 
really annoying and it makes browsing _harder not easier. KISS.

>>WYSIWIG sucks. Thats why latex is still used widely for articles/papers 
>>and not MS-Word.
> Apart from old-time computer geeks, latex is used only in communities
> that use mathematics heavily, and that's because everything else sucks
> at typesetting math.  Latex typesets non-math stuff better too but
> nobody cares about that and people actually prefer WYSIWYG.  Hence the
> market for things like Scientific Word.

It has been suggested that one should seperate typesetting from 
writting. And you are inaccurate: latex faciliattes the latter, while 
tex handles the former. The combination is powerful enough to create 
your own "templates" for document creation (which could end up on a 
number of different paper sizes etc. in which case WYSIWYG is completely 

> (Never mind that most of the stuff you're complaining about, like
> tables and CSS, are not WYSIWYG at all: they're logical markup and
> style sheets just like latex's tabbing and tabular environments and
> style files.)

I am advocating that people should use _logical_ markup and not do 
things like using hardcoded fonts or tables to represent non-tabular 
data, etc. to get a "look". Those are the things I am "complaining" 
about, although I don't see it as illegitimate to point out that the 
"best practices" in the field suck.

The worse thing about tables is that people _still_ hardcode width into 
some of them. Since you cannot control the width of the browser's window 
(if it has a window), the size of the fonts the client will use, or the 
style schemes that the users will use to override your "look"; I really 
cannot see why engineers and designers continue with infeasible, 
unsustainable design. KISS.

> R

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