In This Chapter
Introducing HTML tables
Creating your tables in Standard mode
Sorting your table data
Importing data from other programs
Working with tables for spacing and alignment
Nesting your tables
In the early days of Web design, HTML tables offered one of the only options for creating complex page layouts. By splitting and merging table cells and using them as containers for text and images, Web developers could create intricate page designs despite the limits of HTML. Most were frustrated by this solution.
Using tables to create designs was far from ideal, and we often had to resort to special tricks, such as using a clear GIF to control spacing (see the sidebar, "The transparent, or clear, GIF trick," later in this chapter). But at least with tables you could position text, images, and other elements, anywhere you wanted on a page (well, almost anywhere). For example, you could use a table to align two columns of text side by side with a headline across the top like the format you might see in a newspaper or magazine. Because you could make the borders of a table invisible, you could use tables to create these kinds of designs without the table itself being visible on the page.
Today CSS has completely changed the way Web pages are created. Tables are still an ideal way to present tabular data on the Internet: For example, just about any content you could display in a spreadsheet can be formatted easily and effectively with a table. But tables ...