5.1 : Uses for Tables
Tables are so useful, they are ubiquitous on web sites.
With tables you can arrange your content to appear
the way you want it to. They give you a simple form of direct
control over the arrangement of text, images, and links on your page.
You can use tables to arrange your entire page, like this:
A WEB PAGE
Table of Contents
Or you can use tables for more traditional uses, like arranging data:
Table borders can be made "invisible" to the viewer, allowing
you to layout pages with horizontal or vertical devisions appropriate
to the design you want. If fact, this page you are viewing is contained
in one large table, allowing for the alignment of the Heading above ("Chapter 5: Tables"),
the navigation tabs you see to the right and left, and the footer below.
(Click here to see this page WITHOUT the table borders visable.)
You can also arrange
tables to accomidate the different sizes that a visitor will be viewing your
page by utilizing the percentage commands and bit-width commands that are available
Additionally, tables can be used to break up text further, and create columns, as you can see
here. Tables also allow for creativity in aligning text and graphics, either to the
right, left, top, or bottom of a cell.
Given that this page is one large table, the examples above also show that
tables can be "nested" inside each other to produce tables within tables.
To summarize, tables can be used as the primary layout tool for your Web pages. Once you
learn the basic tag commands, tables are quite easy to use, and the results are only
limited by your imagination.
If you come across a well-designed page on the Web, take a moment to view its source
code. Chances are it will be using tables (or their close cousins, "Frames", which we will
be covering later), and will probably give you some design ideas for your own pages.