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Reviewing table structure

From: Dreamweaver CS6 Essential Training

Video: Reviewing table structure

I still occasionally get the question; we should no longer use tables, right? Well, not for creating layouts, but tables are well-suited and should be called upon to do what they were designed to do, which is display tabular data. Tables have a unique structure designed to present data to the user and in that regard they succeed very well. Tabular data is accessible and the structure can assist in both styling and clarity. Understanding table structure and when they should be used is critical to making sure that your content remains structured correctly.

Reviewing table structure

I still occasionally get the question; we should no longer use tables, right? Well, not for creating layouts, but tables are well-suited and should be called upon to do what they were designed to do, which is display tabular data. Tables have a unique structure designed to present data to the user and in that regard they succeed very well. Tabular data is accessible and the structure can assist in both styling and clarity. Understanding table structure and when they should be used is critical to making sure that your content remains structured correctly.

So, before we move on to building and styling tables, we should take a moment to review their basic structure, so that we have a clear understanding of the meaning behind the tags that make up our tables. So, we'll create a table in Dreamweaver and then explore its structure to learn more about tables and there markup. Now I have the table.htm file open from the 09_01 directory, but as you can see it's a totally blank page, so I'm just going to use an empty HTML file and insert a table onto the page. The easiest way to do that is to go up to the Common objects in the Insert panel, and I want to find this icon about the fifth icon from the left.

To me it kind of looks like a waffle, but that is the insert table icon, I am going to go ahead and click on that and when I do that I get a dialog box that allows us to go ahead and set a lot of the properties for our table within the dialog box without having to go into a lot of code. So, the first question that it's asking me is how many Rows do I want and how many Columns? Well, for this sample table I'm going to do 10 Rows and 6 Columns, and the next thing it wants to know is how Wide do I want this table to be? Notice that we have the have the option of setting it in pixels or setting it in percentages, I'm going to choose percent and I'm going to do 85% that means that the table is going to be 85% of the available space for it.

For Border thickness, I'm just going to go ahead and turn that off, so nothing there and nothing for Cell padding and nothing for Cell spacing, those particular properties, Border Cell padding and Cell spacing, have been made obsolete in HTML5, those are the things that you should control with CSS now, and not Table Attributes. The next choice that I'm faced with is whether I want any header rows or columns? In this case I'm just going to do a Top header row on my table and then we get down to some Accessibility options which is really nice. This is one of the cool things about using the Insert Table icon inside Dreamweaver, you get to go ahead and enter in a Caption and a Summary if you want to.

Now in this case we're going to do a Caption and I'm just going to type in Required course load for Graphic Design. So, obviously for the Caption I'm going to type in some descriptive text in terms of what content is inside of the table. And that is an Accessibility feature, so that screen readers or other user agents can allow people or devices to parse the table and figure out kind of what the contents of that table should be. Now Summary is very much like a description, so it's almost like you're typing a longer description of the table, but that has also been made obsolete in HTML5, so I'm going to leave that off and just leave the Caption.

Now as soon as I click OK, I see my table on the page. You can see it's pretty wide and that's because we told it to be 85% of the available space. The Caption is showing up a top, but I am not really interested right now in how it displays visually on the page. What I'm interested in is looking at the code structure, so I'm going to switchover to Code View and here we can see our table. Now at the beginning all tables are wrapped in a table tag, you can see because the only attribute that we set when we insert our table was width, the width attribute is showing up there.

Now to be honest with you that should also be controlled through CSS, but just so we could see the table on the page, I went ahead and entered in a width value. Now just after the opening table tag comes the caption tag, so it's actually sort of in between the table's content in the opening table tag itself. So all you need is an opening and closing caption tag and then you just type in whatever text you want for the caption itself. Now after that tables are made up of table rows, so you can see here we have tr tags, stands for Table Row and then inside the table row tag, we have a series of cells, those cells can either be ths that means that is a header row and header basically just indicates that whatever content inside of that is representational of the row or column that it represents.

In this case the ths are scoped, so they have a scope attribute of call and notice that Dreamweaver did that for me automatically, I didn't have to do it myself and it scopes this header cell to all the cells underneath in a column, and that's because we told Dreamweaver that we wanted a header row at the top of the table and not on the side. Then you'll notice that initially all those were empty and they just have this non breaking space character in that, that really goes back to some really, really old browser bugs where empty cells would collapse. You don't necessarily need those, but it's kind of nice that Dreamweaver goes ahead and places them in there for you, in terms of placeholder data.

Now if I continue to scroll down, I can see that after the table rows that has my table headers, each of the table cells are represented as td or Table Data tag and it's here that I would come in and I would start entering in the content for my table. In this case, I have the exact number of rows and table cells that are requested when I inserted the table onto the page. Although there are more tags that allow us to build structure within our tables, the tags that we're looking at right now form the core of the table tags, and are all that's really required to build a simple table.

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This video is part of

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Dreamweaver CS6 Essential Training

90 video lessons · 53633 viewers

James Williamson
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 4s
    1. What is Dreamweaver?
      1m 4s
  2. 5m 44s
    1. Welcome
      1m 4s
    2. Using the exercise files
      2m 17s
    3. Learning web design
      2m 23s
  3. 1h 0m
    1. Looking at the Welcome screen
      5m 9s
    2. Exploring Windows and Mac interface differences
      5m 6s
    3. Arranging panels
      8m 44s
    4. Managing workspaces
      10m 14s
    5. Exploring the Application toolbar
      6m 21s
    6. Exploring the Document toolbar
      8m 47s
    7. Working with the Property inspector
      9m 30s
    8. Using the Insert panel
      6m 30s
  4. 53m 3s
    1. Understanding basic site structure
      3m 46s
    2. Exploring file naming conventions
      2m 10s
    3. Defining a new site
      5m 23s
    4. Managing files and folders
      7m 57s
    5. Adding remote servers
      7m 4s
    6. Uploading files
      12m 46s
    7. Previewing in browsers
      9m 11s
    8. Managing multiple sites
      4m 46s
  5. 36m 41s
    1. Creating new documents
      6m 49s
    2. Setting up new document preferences
      5m 30s
    3. Setting accessibility preferences
      6m 49s
    4. Working with starter pages
      4m 32s
    5. Managing starter pages
      13m 1s
  6. 37m 23s
    1. Getting text into Dreamweaver
      8m 43s
    2. Importing Word documents
      4m 6s
    3. Adding structure to text
      7m 35s
    4. Creating lists
      4m 35s
    5. Creating definition lists
      4m 0s
    6. Using the Quick Tag Editor
      8m 24s
  7. 44m 41s
    1. Exploring the Code toolbar
      5m 41s
    2. Setting code preferences
      7m 19s
    3. Using code hints
      8m 8s
    4. Wrapping tags
      5m 7s
    5. Adding comments
      6m 29s
    6. Using snippets
      7m 32s
    7. Formatting source code
      4m 25s
  8. 1h 19m
    1. Setting CSS preferences
      9m 32s
    2. An overview of the CSS Styles panel
      9m 23s
    3. Creating a new CSS rule
      6m 42s
    4. Using the CSS Rule Definition dialog
      7m 25s
    5. Organizing styles
      7m 22s
    6. Modifying style properties
      6m 17s
    7. Controlling CSS through the Property inspector
      6m 37s
    8. Attaching external style sheets
      5m 54s
    9. Using CSS visual aids
      7m 3s
    10. Using CSS Inspect
      6m 48s
    11. Using the Code Navigator
      6m 39s
  9. 1h 11m
    1. Managing assets in Dreamweaver
      7m 30s
    2. Setting external image editing preferences
      4m 26s
    3. Placing images on the page
      10m 12s
    4. Exploring Photoshop integration
      7m 17s
    5. Modifying Smart Objects
      9m 42s
    6. Modifying image properties
      8m 4s
    7. Styling images with CSS
      6m 45s
    8. Using background graphics
      7m 28s
    9. Positioning background graphics
      10m 10s
  10. 36m 23s
    1. Link basics
      3m 17s
    2. Setting site linking preferences
      2m 19s
    3. Creating links in Dreamweaver
      9m 17s
    4. Using absolute links
      3m 43s
    5. Using named anchors
      6m 41s
    6. Creating an email link
      5m 25s
    7. Creating CSS-based rollovers
      5m 41s
  11. 44m 30s
    1. Reviewing table structure
      5m 20s
    2. Importing tabular data
      6m 46s
    3. Creating accessible tables
      6m 11s
    4. Exploring basic table styling
      9m 42s
    5. Styling alternate rows
      8m 57s
    6. Creating custom table borders
      7m 34s
  12. 59m 15s
    1. Understanding how forms work
      2m 45s
    2. Reviewing form design
      3m 44s
    3. Creating accessible forms
      5m 16s
    4. Setting form properties
      2m 39s
    5. Using the fieldset and legend tags
      2m 52s
    6. Inserting text fields
      6m 56s
    7. Inserting list menu items
      7m 54s
    8. Inserting checkboxes
      4m 14s
    9. Inserting radio button groups
      3m 52s
    10. Inserting submit buttons
      2m 25s
    11. Exploring basic form styling
      8m 2s
    12. Exploring form element styling
      8m 36s
  13. 33m 25s
    1. Adding CSS3 transitions
      8m 29s
    2. Spry overview
      2m 44s
    3. Using Spry widgets
      3m 57s
    4. Adding Spry effects
      8m 1s
    5. Using the Widget Browser
      7m 4s
    6. Extending Dreamweaver
      3m 10s
  14. 1m 2s
    1. Additional resources
      1m 2s

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