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Layers vs. tables in dreamweaver

matthewjahn
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Joined: 23 Jan 07
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Layers vs. tables in dreamweaver

OK so I just got through my 11 hour tutorial on how to use dreamweaver and am feeling great! Numb but good. I was really pissed off that you couldn't just drag stuff around and hit the space bar to type something else across the page. But I got a brief explanation why and have cooled down a little. So then.....layers awesome just drag and click. My question is do we need to worry about people not having up to date browsers or computers so we can keep the layers we used o build the page and not worry about using or converting everything back to tables. It was explained that this could be a problem, and what if somebody wants to click ads or by stuff and can't see my page? I want to mess with tables as little as possible.
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chatyak86
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Why do you want to use layers so much over tables? Tables are much easier to work with IMO
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matthewjahn
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Well, like I said I'm new to this. I started playing with tables and tried to put text in them and stuff and it just seemed frustrating. Just getting the text where you want it in the table seemed like a chore, especially when you don't know dreamweaver very well. It just seems more logical to just draw a table out and drag it around if you want to change its position, or put text in a box and drag that if you want to change it's position. In any case, is there any worry about the populace not having up to date systems?

Matthew
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markling
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Hi Matthew,

It's not so much a problem with people not having up to date "systems" but the fact that not everybody browses the web with the same browser and settings.

1) Browser: It's pretty much Internet Explorer VS the rest of the world here. They have different default style settings (for instance, how much space comes after a paragraph) and different interpretations of rules. Getting things to display the same way in different browsers is a major headache. With "layers" (otherwise known as absolute positioning) your elements aren't displayed in the normal flow of things, so if one thing gets bigger, the other things won't bump down the page. Good if you really want things positioned like that. Bad if you want people to be able to read your content.

2) Different screen resolutions. Unless you create a relatively positioned element and center that in the page, then use absolutely positioned elements inside it, you can forget about having a centered web page. Since layers say "this is 200px from the left and 300px from the top" there's no flexibility for different sized screens.

3) Different font size. If you have a layer that is 400px x 300px and nicely fits your text in it... what happens if you increase your font size (as older visitors are likely to do)? Your text will either overflow the box and run over the rest of the content on your page, or it will be clipped off. Since none of your layers are paying any attention to what the other layers are doing, they're not going to compensate for that.

You're kind of heading in the right direction by using DIVs, which are basically just "boxes", but you need to learn how to get them to be more flexible. It's kind of a hard thing to wrap your head around when you're just starting, which is why so many people prefer tables until they become web geniuses :)

I suggest you give it a go, building a site like this, but keep those points I mentioned in mind so you can see it happening :)

All the best,
Mark
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matthewjahn
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Thanks for the info, been poking around a bit more with dreamweaver, and found the "layout mode", which I think would solve all the issues you brought up with layers. I think I'll drop layers for now, maybe a bit over my head. My next frustration is...why does my content look soooo different when previewing in browsers? Its seems to be the case no matter what layout mode I use. Now like you said, its different with Internet Explorer. When previewed in IE it's almost to the "T" like I have it in dreamweaver, I thought it might be the opposite(meaning everything else would work well except IE). Now, I don't have anything uploaded to a server, I'm just using the preview in dreamweaver, could this make a difference? Basically, I'll make a table, put text in it, and when previewed the table is way bigger and the text is way to spaced apart vertically. This is separate text with separate css. The "boxed" text is fine, but separate boxes are out of whack. Is there a basic setting that I'm missing, or is this just a fact of web life to deal with? Anyone who has input would be appreciated. I feel like this is my only major issue, so far, with dreamweaver. BTW I have up to date browsers installed.
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markling
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Hi Matthew,

I wouldn't rely too much on Dreamweaver's preview. Always check it out in a browser as well, and preferably you should be checking in BOTH internet explorer AND Firefox.

Without looking at your site I can't tell what's going wrong. If you're able to upload it then I can take a look at it. There are SO MANY factors that can cause things to look strange, and since you're using a WYSIWYG editor and not just writing the code yourself, you don't know what Dreamweaver has been putting in there without your knowledge ;)

So you can either keep plodding away and try to fix it yourself, or upload it for us to look at.

Good luck,
Mark
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matthewjahn
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Thanks, I'll get it uploaded and see what happens from there. I'll let you know if I'm still having problems. About going free..whatever works for you, all the best! Thanks for putting this site up in the first place, I got lucky, it was one of the first affiliate marketing site I looked at. I could have gone through a lot of crap sites, and money, looking for something like this.

Matthew
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matthewjahn
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OK so I'm on the web, but I'm still having the same issues. I can't get things to look good in firefox, or safari etc, only Internet Explorer. In IE it looks exactly like what I have in dreamweaver. I've tried three different example tables on the same page, one using layout mode, one with layers and one just tables. The layout mode table is way to big, the layers won't stay in the table, and the old fashioned table is better, but still seems like to much of a difference. I can handle a small difference between browsers, but this is to much. I know it's possible, I was comparing Marks haircutadvice site between browsers and it was to close to really think about, except your adsense wasn't in Internet Explorer , why is that? Anyway, any more advice would help.
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markling
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Matthew there's really no way for me to tell you what's going on with your site unless you put it up on the web for me to look at. I know enough to be able to see what's going on by looking at your source code, but I'm not psychic :)

Adsense on haircutadvice shows up for me when looking at the site in IE...

Mark
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