Wanted: Layout System

Eric Meyer elaborates on why we need a better layout mechanism for web content (whether it be via CSS or not). We know we shouldn’t use tables for layout. Floats are a hack, positioning is flawed, and display:table-cell is no better than using a table itself. But Eric explains here why table behavior works moderately well for layout:

… this is why the old “only use tables for layout” argument keeps coming up over and over: strip away the overheated rhetoric and obvious link-baiting, and you find the core of a real need. Because as powerful as CSS can be, table cells do certain things very easily that CSS makes very, very hard. Cells stretch vertically, keeping equal heights as a matter of their intrinsic nature. They stay out of each others’ way, while still being allowed to sit next to each other and use any sizing dimensions. They tie their layout to their parent elements, and vice versa.

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