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Around and about the place, you often see people maligning “new” web technologies such as CSS and XHTML as “harder to learn and use” than hacky, workaround techniques in old style HTML.

It might be true that the new technologies are harder. I don’t think this is because they are being designed by out-of-touch geeks sitting in a room somewhere, disconnected with “real world” design (as some people suggest): it is because the web is coming of age and we are starting to use (and need) more sophisticated techniques to take full advantage of it.

It is still possible to use old style tables to layout a page; if you a just setting up a small homepage or whatever, then this could be the way to go. The idea of tables is simpler for many people to get their heads around than the more abstract CSS methods, so to get something up quickly for the inexperienced it can be a good idea.

For people who like to call themselves “web professionals” I think that there is no such excuse. CSS and XHTML allow one to create sites that are accessible to a far greater range of people with far greater ease of use than a table-driven design; the reasons and arguments for this fact are already well stated so I won’t reiterate them here.

However, for this reason alone, I think professional web workers should embrace the new world of standards. It’s the people who use the sites, not the whims of a designer, that matter in the end.

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