Usage of tables in 3.1

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Dragosvr92
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Usage of tables in 3.1

Post by Dragosvr92 »

For about four years i keep hearing that tables arent well recommended in webdesign anymore.
So i was wondering, why is phpbb 3.1 still using tables in the memberlist ?

The memberlist layout resembles much the forums list layout which uses li > dl > dt elements instead of table > tr > td to do exactly the same thing. I think the memberlist should replace the table with the first elements above and arrange it with css.
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DarkBeing
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Re: Usage of tables in 3.1

Post by DarkBeing »

My guess would be because the memberlist is tabular data. As the original purpose of tables was to present tabular data, they are probably still used for this reason for the memberlist. Before you ask or say it, I do not think that the forum list is tabular data.

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DavidIQ
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Re: Usage of tables in 3.1

Post by DavidIQ »

Forum list is not tabular data because each column can have multiple pieces of data.
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Pony99CA
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Re: Usage of tables in 3.1

Post by Pony99CA »

DavidIQ wrote:Forum list is not tabular data because each column can have multiple pieces of data.
I disagree on three fronts.

First, who says tabular data can't have multiple pieces of data in a column? Try presenting a three-dimensional table without either having multiple pieces of data in column or having one table for each "plane" of data.

Second, HTML certainly allows sub-dividing columns in tables. I don't think the HTML designers gave it that capability for page layout reasons.

Finally, the Member List has columns with multiple pieces of data (Location, Website). So by your definition, the Member List isn't tabular data, either.

In my opinion, the forum list, topic list and member list are all tabular data.

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hanakin
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Re: Usage of tables in 3.1

Post by hanakin »

sorry completely inaccurate. First inorder for it to be strictly tabular everything in the table depends on everything else meaning its all required information to see the full picture of the information being presented.

by "Required" I mean explicitly in that it can not be removed without extreme hinderance.

Forumlist: the only required information is the title which lends it self better to a list. Add to that the fact that their is a specified order to the "rows" other than alphabetically further compounding the fact that its a list as tabular information is sorted alphabetically by column. Everything else in the forum "row" is supplementary information for connivence. "Last post" for example is not really even relevant on the forumlist, just their because individuals think its convenient which its not if you look at it logically.

Memberlists: is a table because all the information presented is their to give you the full picture and best presented alphabetically by a specific column!

Topiclists: is more open to interpretation as it needs to be sortable. It also has additionally required information to make your decision in the form of a timestamp. However not everything that is tabular information is best presented in a table. As their is really only 2 pieces of required information for them the title & timestamp its open for interpretation the best way to present it.
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Re: Usage of tables in 3.1

Post by PayBas »

hanakin is correct. The use of tables may have decreased considerably in web design. But they are still very much valid in many use-cases.

I think our choice of tables/lists for the particular templates has been a correct one.

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Re: Usage of tables in 3.1

Post by DavidIQ »

Pony99CA wrote:
DavidIQ wrote:Forum list is not tabular data because each column can have multiple pieces of data.
I disagree on three fronts.

First, who says tabular data can't have multiple pieces of data in a column? Try presenting a three-dimensional table without either having multiple pieces of data in column or having one table for each "plane" of data.

Second, HTML certainly allows sub-dividing columns in tables. I don't think the HTML designers gave it that capability for page layout reasons.

Finally, the Member List has columns with multiple pieces of data (Location, Website). So by your definition, the Member List isn't tabular data, either.

In my opinion, the forum list, topic list and member list are all tabular data.

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I think most people on the internet will disagree with your flawed definition of what tabular data is. Try applying your definition of tabular data to how things are laid out in Excel, how results are presented when running a query against a database, tabular data controls, or many other examples and you will find that it just doesn't fit at all. Even the basic description of what a table is says that a cell is the intersection of a row and a column, which by definition means that the data presented corresponds to the column name/header. So if we displayed the forum list in tabular data format we would have the name of the forum in one column, the description in another, the moderators for that forum in another, etc.
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Re: Usage of tables in 3.1

Post by VSE »

Dragosvr92 wrote:For about four years i keep hearing that tables arent well recommended in webdesign anymore.
That's a mis understanding.

Tables are just fine, when you want to make a table.

What you are hearing is the reaction to the late 90's early 2000's technique of using tables to create page layout, before the advent of CSS came along and made positioning elements possible the right way.

So yes, using tables to design, layout and position elements on a page is considered passé, they are still fine when used for their intended purpose which is to create columns/rows table layouts. The meberslist is just such an example of a proper use case for a table. ;)
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Re: Usage of tables in 3.1

Post by Pony99CA »

hanakin wrote:sorry completely inaccurate.
My post is completely inaccurate? So HTML doesn't allow nesting tables (my second point)? The Member List is not tabular data (as stated in my last paragraph)?
hanakin wrote:First inorder for it to be strictly tabular everything in the table depends on everything else meaning its all required information to see the full picture of the information being presented.

by "Required" I mean explicitly in that it can not be removed without extreme hinderance.
Nonsense. You could remove the Website and Location from the Member List without "extreme hindrance". Nobody really "needs" that.

Also, a table is a presentation device. If it makes the presentation of the data clearer to format data as a table, using a table with places for "non-required" data is perfectly acceptable. So showing who the moderators are for a forum can reasonably be included in a table.
hanakin wrote:Memberlists: is a table because all the information presented is their to give you the full picture and best presented alphabetically by a specific column!
Personally, I usually hate an alphabetical Member List (although I agree that it's the best place to start); I usually sort it by post count or join date.

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Re: Usage of tables in 3.1

Post by Pony99CA »

DavidIQ wrote:
Pony99CA wrote:
DavidIQ wrote:Forum list is not tabular data because each column can have multiple pieces of data.
I disagree on three fronts.

First, who says tabular data can't have multiple pieces of data in a column? Try presenting a three-dimensional table without either having multiple pieces of data in column or having one table for each "plane" of data.

Second, HTML certainly allows sub-dividing columns in tables. I don't think the HTML designers gave it that capability for page layout reasons.

Finally, the Member List has columns with multiple pieces of data (Location, Website). So by your definition, the Member List isn't tabular data, either.

In my opinion, the forum list, topic list and member list are all tabular data.
I think most people on the internet will disagree with your flawed definition of what tabular data is.
I personally don't care what most of the Internet thinks, since most of them seem to love cat videos. :D
DavidIQ wrote:Try applying your definition of tabular data to how things are laid out in Excel, how results are presented when running a query against a database, tabular data controls, or many other examples and you will find that it just doesn't fit at all.
I don't understand your point. Those are "simple" tables, but not necessarily the only kind. In other words, my definition fits and includes your definition as a subset of mine.
DavidIQ wrote:Even the basic description of what a table is says that a cell is the intersection of a row and a column, which by definition means that the data presented corresponds to the column name/header. So if we displayed the forum list in tabular data format we would have the name of the forum in one column, the description in another, the moderators for that forum in another, etc.
Now that's just sophistry. You neglected the following part above what you quoted:
This is a simplified description of the most basic kind of table.
(Emphasis added)

And you neglected this part following your quoted text:
The elements of a table may be grouped, segmented, or arranged in many different ways, and even nested recursively. Additionally, a table may include metadata, annotations, header, footer or other ancillary features.
In other words, as I said, tables can include additional data in row/column intersections and can contain "non-required" data (like metadata).

So I'm not sure why my "definition" is flawed (which wasn't really a definition at all, but a refutation of what you seemed to think a table was). Yes, the forum list table is not represented internally by a single table, but that's due to how relational databases work best. That doesn't imply that you can't combine content from multiple database tables into a single table for presentational clarity, nor that doing so makes that table non-tabular (and thus not suited for presentation using HTML TABLE tags).

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