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  1. #1
    nub
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    difference bet layout table, cell, and layer?

    I am currently learning DW8 through a beginners tutorial, but it doesn't bother to tell you the difference between a layout table, layout cell, and a layer (div). They pretty much do the same thing, no? All three could insert pictures and all three could insert text, right?

    The book teaches you how to convert layers to tables and vice versa, but it doesn't tell you why you would do that in the first place. Frustrating. Please help out a newb. Thanks.

  • #2
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    Tables, cells, layers

    A table is a HTML construct for marking up data with a tabular nature in a row-column arrangement. A table consists of one or more rows, which in turn consist of one or more cells.
    A table cell eventually holds a piece of data.

    A layer is an DreamWeaver concept, with which they usually mean a positioned div. The div element is a generic block level HTML element, in general meant to group sections of a page's markup in logical units or DIVisions (hence the element name).

    Before CSS took root as a styling and layout tool, HTML tables were abused to lay out a page's sections; DW still offers this practice, and as a sort of substitute the "layers" concept where the previous layout table cells are sort of replaced by positioned divs.
    Regards,
    Ronald.
    ronaldvanderwijden.com

  • #3
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    You've given me the technical definitions of the three, but why would I use one over the other when it comes to laying out? It seems like I could just use one or the other as they all seem to pretty much do the same thing. Would you recomment layers over table layouts? Thanks!

  • #4
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    Layout techniques

    Table layouts have fallen from grace among modern web professionals and avid amateurs because of a number of disadvantages; see "Why avoiding tables (for layout) is important".

    CSS, and specifically CSS positioning has taken over the task of layout out web pages; to this end, a number of techniques have emerged, each with their own benefits and drawbacks.

    Absolute positioning, the positioning technique of choice for DW's "layers", is a powerful technique with strong drawbacks, which is why I personally find DW's indiscriminate "position everything" approach not my favorite.

    Floating, another useful positioning technique, has become quite popular recently, with big names in the field regularly publishing new and improved techniques. Floating, although hardly issue-free, offers lots of benefits and fairly few drawbacks.

    So, from my point of view: tables are out, "layers" are out; each layout should be approached with a fresh onlook and the ideal, one-size-fits-all layout technique simply doesn't exist.

    If you can supply some information about what layout you have in mind (you could make a mockup using tables if you like), we may be able to give some advice on how to approach it.
    Regards,
    Ronald.
    ronaldvanderwijden.com

  • #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronaldb66
    Table layouts have fallen from grace among modern web professionals and avid amateurs because of a number of disadvantages; see "Why avoiding tables (for layout) is important".

    CSS, and specifically CSS positioning has taken over the task of layout out web pages; to this end, a number of techniques have emerged, each with their own benefits and drawbacks.

    Absolute positioning, the positioning technique of choice for DW's "layers", is a powerful technique with strong drawbacks, which is why I personally find DW's indiscriminate "position everything" approach not my favorite.

    Floating, another useful positioning technique, has become quite popular recently, with big names in the field regularly publishing new and improved techniques. Floating, although hardly issue-free, offers lots of benefits and fairly few drawbacks.

    So, from my point of view: tables are out, "layers" are out; each layout should be approached with a fresh onlook and the ideal, one-size-fits-all layout technique simply doesn't exist.

    If you can supply some information about what layout you have in mind (you could make a mockup using tables if you like), we may be able to give some advice on how to approach it.
    1) That's the problem. I don't know what to use. I made a rough page consisting of a bunch of tables, but according to you, tables are "out."

    The website I'm designing is a lot like that of www.nintendojo.com. I copied the source and tried picking it apart through DW8 to see what the guy did. It seems like he used a lot of tables, but there are some parts that still perplex me. For instance, how did he get the nice thin white outline for his tables? I tried "1" borders but it comes out thick. Perhaps he tried .1 borders? Whatever he did, it does not show on DW8. And how did he indent the links on the FEATURES, US, etc frames? Did he add a layer or table cell inside the table? If so, it doesn't show on DW8's interface. I checked the preferences and everything but to no avail. I couldn't see anything special that would display such results.

    2) If everything is "out," what do you suggest I do? How would I approach the layouts with a "fresh onlook?" I'm pretty green, as you can see, so any advice would be awesome. How do you think I should approach a layout such as that of the link I provided?

    3) What is this technique of "floating"? I've never heard of it. Is it offered in DW8?

    Thanks a lot!

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    Asking what is available in DW8 is, IMHO, an error in the approach to learning web design and building. Dreamweaver is only an editor, or 'development environment" if you prefer. Although you are able to get a page up with little or no coding you are severely limited in what is "available" to you. As a beginner, you are offered limited choices that can slow the learning process. with little or no understanding of what makes the pages tick.

    The whole world of web development is available if you know the underlying technology. I think a 'fresh new look' would be better approached by learning html, xhtml and css rather than spending to much time learning how to use one wysiwyg editor. Whatever is available in in these standards is,... available. Spending time learning the technology will pay much bigger dividends down the road. Find a decent text editor with syntax highlighting and start coding! There is so much information on the web you really don't even need to buy a book.

  • #7
    nub
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    Quote Originally Posted by friscofrankie
    Asking what is available in DW8 is, IMHO, an error in the approach to learning web design and building. Dreamweaver is only an editor, or 'development environment" if you prefer. Although you are able to get a page up with little or no coding you are severely limited in what is "available" to you. As a beginner, you are offered limited choices that can slow the learning process. with little or no understanding of what makes the pages tick.

    The whole world of web development is available if you know the underlying technology. I think a 'fresh new look' would be better approached by learning html, xhtml and css rather than spending to much time learning how to use one wysiwyg editor. Whatever is available in in these standards is,... available. Spending time learning the technology will pay much bigger dividends down the road. Find a decent text editor with syntax highlighting and start coding! There is so much information on the web you really don't even need to buy a book.
    I know HTML and some javascript, and I haven't found anything I can do with HTML and javascript that I can't do extremely easily with DW8. I'll learn a language if I can't accomplish it with DW8, and it involves application on my web design goals. Until then, I really don't find a reason to learn the languages. It's just a lot of memorizing and you still have to go back and forth with tutorials. Dreamweaver drastically saves you time. I have nothing against manual coding. I just don't find it relevant for my existent circumstances. Plus, I suck at hand coding.

  • #8
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    Knowledge

    DreamWeaver should be regarded as a tool, a time saver, and nothing else; whether one uses DreamWeaver or Notepad to create web pages and style sheets changes little about the need for understanding the underlying technologies used. If you would have had this understanding, you wouldn't have asked the initial question in the first place.

    If you intend to never get involved into web development to more then beginner's level, by all means keep tinkering with DW; if you want to be able to create sites like nintendojo (but without all the messy presentational markup), you can not avoid investing some time and effort into learning what this stuff is all about.

    You can come back here and ask questions 'till your blue in the face, and we'll probably all answer them for you, too, but if you don't understand what we're saying it's not going to be much use, now is it? And don't expect too many people to translate their answer into "Weaver-speak", either.
    Regards,
    Ronald.
    ronaldvanderwijden.com

  • #9
    nub
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronaldb66
    DreamWeaver should be regarded as a tool, a time saver, and nothing else; whether one uses DreamWeaver or Notepad to create web pages and style sheets changes little about the need for understanding the underlying technologies used. If you would have had this understanding, you wouldn't have asked the initial question in the first place.

    If you intend to never get involved into web development to more then beginner's level, by all means keep tinkering with DW; if you want to be able to create sites like nintendojo (but without all the messy presentational markup), you can not avoid investing some time and effort into learning what this stuff is all about.

    You can come back here and ask questions 'till your blue in the face, and we'll probably all answer them for you, too, but if you don't understand what we're saying it's not going to be much use, now is it? And don't expect too many people to translate their answer into "Weaver-speak", either.
    I'm not here to argue between WYSIWYG and handcoding. People do what works for them. Everybody's got different opinions and everyone's got different preferences. If you're gonna PMS on me for something so ridiculously petty, you should avoid people this time of the month. It's simple. If you don't know the answers to the questions, just be straightforward about it or heck don't even answer. Of course if you did know the answer to my questions, you would've just professionally responded, "I strongly recommend learning the languages from the roots because blah blah blah. However I am here to offer my support. Why else would I be here? If I wanted to be a phallus for people to suck on, I'd be a parking enforcer. But since I do know the answers to your questions, and since I do desire to help a novice out, here are the answers to your questions. Smiley face."

    If you're courteous to me, I'll pass out Tootsie Pops and Lemonheads. If you wanna give me attitude, hey there's enough ammunition to go around. If you need to compensate your inferiority by ragging your philosophy on newbie webdesigners, may I suggest masturbation as an excellent outlet to release your excess hormones?

    And seeing how you'll probably just delete this post and ban me because you have no sensible comeback, I'll make sure to leave the door open on the way out.


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