View Full Version : Layers verse Tables

04-13-2005, 03:43 PM
Iím working with a company that is redesigning our web site. The prototype site design that I came up with uses tables in the template. For each of the additional pages, I used layers in the content pages.

The firm Iím using to redesign our site indicated that we should use table throughout the site and stay away from layers. The customers I have use IE 6.0+ 98% of the time, so Iím not sure if the layers are an issue with the browsers.

Can anyone provide details on the use of layers, and what problems I might come across? Iíd like to continue using layers mainly because I can copy the content area from the existing pages and move directly to the new template.

Thanks in advanceÖ


04-13-2005, 08:56 PM
I would like to recommend that you use layers.

Layers, layed out using CSS, gives you pixel by pixel control.

Tables cannot give you as much precision control.

Using tables, whenever a user has a different browser screen size can break your layout
However by using layers and css you can create a fluid layout no matter if the browser window is re-sized or not.

Tables are "supposed" to be used for tabular data only (think spreadsheet).

In all the sites I have made, there are very few now that use tables, I have converted them all to a CSS/layers layout.

Another reason is that down the road when you need to make changes to the website, you only need to update the CSS file and not every page which you would have to do using tables.


04-14-2005, 11:11 PM
Hi Mike,
Thanks for taking the time to address my situation. When you say "Layers, layed out using CSS", I'm not sure what your mean. I've used layers in the content area of my web pages by the drag and drop feature of Dreamweaver. I then move the layers within the content area and add what I need to. Using this Dreamweaver feature, is this "layed out using CSS"?

Thanks Again,


04-20-2005, 09:14 PM
What you are doing is actually creating absolute positioned layers (div's) using CSS.
It is all done for you by Dreamweaver.


04-22-2005, 01:01 PM
Hi Mike,
The new site we are developing uses tables to define the template. All the content areas within the body sections are developed using layers. The site http://www.credit-card-center-online.com/new/index.htm ('http://www.credit-card-center-online.com/new/index.htm') looks fine with the resolution of 1280/1024 but when I look at this site using my laptop with a resolution of 1024/720 the layers run off the screen on the right. The table structure of the template seems to resize correctly. My question is how do I get the layer to resize correctly on a lower resolution screens?

Thanks for you help..


04-22-2005, 02:28 PM
1280/1024.. it's generally not a good idea to develop a website to this size..
Lowest common denominator these days are still 800*600, which means you site's width should be viewable without horizontal scrollbars if you design it to be 760px wide.

For your problem, you're using some absolutely positioned layers that are 800px wide, the browser does exactly what you told it to. My advice would be not to absolutely position these layers, but postion them relatively in there, or use normal html with no layers.

04-22-2005, 07:24 PM
Hi domedia,
I appreciate your input.

The prototype site that we have, the content areas were developed using layers. I'd like to stay with layers as it will be much easier to cut and paste the existing content layers into the new design/template. I guess one solution would be to reduce the size of the layers in the content are to a more manageable 600px to 700px in size. Then I suppose that these layers would still show up correctly using a lower resolution screen size.

With the increase usage of LCD screens, what are the typical screen resolutions? I use a 19" ViewSonic and the recommended resolution is quite high. But on a 15Ē LCD, what is the resolution?

Thanks again,


04-22-2005, 08:26 PM
For screen reoslutions, there's some data available, but not cross referenced for physical size of monitor size. But you don't need that, you only need to know screen resolution.

I sometimes look at http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp ('http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp')

You can see from there that among their visitors, 29% are using 800*600 or below.
Your audience is not theirs, but it gives a good idea of what you're looking at if you don't have your own numbers for your website.

So to answer your question, the typical screen resolution is 800*600 and up, and will be for some time :)