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Liquid Column Display Layout

I was busy with some of my projects. Few months back I was interested in liquid column layout structure. I had used this kind of layout in one of my project. This time I am going to discuss about the features of liquid column layout.

Earlier web page designing was highly dependent on HTML table structure. Common practice was to design a web page using HTML tags like table, tr, th, td, tbody etc. Web page designer used to design a layout in a graphic editor like Adobe Photoshop and slice the layout in small images in gif or jpeg format. Then create a table structure and insert those small images in different cells. This technique is very useful because putting those small rectangular images into different table cells, a web page can be designed having the same look and feel as layout image drawn in graphic editor. If not wrong till today this is the mostly used methodology to design web pages.

Let us review this designing procedure. I have described it in a very simplest way. Sometime designing a web page using the table structure based on graphical layout becomes a difficult job. If the graphical layout contains curves, color gradient then the complexity increases. I consider the most crucial part in this process is to design the table structure. Many times designer uses nested tables while designing the pages. Merging cells and rows are also widely used. Another important factor is how to put images in the table cells. Most of the cases img HTML tag is used, but sometimes inserting image as background works wonderfully.

So unless you don’t have a good knowledge of HTML table structure you won’t be able to work as professional web designer. In my early days in this profession I had to suffer with the complexity of nested table structure while designing pages.

In recent years I found there is a trend to avoid this procedure of designing web pages. There are certain reasons behind this change. First and foremost reason I think the size of the web page. Using nested table structure increases the file size of the web page, but many times it becomes unavoidable. I have also noticed a peculiar case of Internet Explorer while opening a page containing nested table. If the web page contains heavy images and huge text in nested tables, browser’s status will show “Done” while display of the page is not complete. IE shows “Done” status when display of the outermost table is complete. Another reason, editing the table structure in those web pages is quite difficult, that’s why people like to avoid this procedure. I found many times editing that kind of pages make the complex table structure incorrect. Support for other HTML tags having boxed or blocked like display such as div, layer, iframe etc by most of the browser is another important reason. Increasing use of CSS for applying style to provide a good look is also important. I found designer uses div tag supported with CSS instead of table to design web pages. They have produces pages which looks same as page designed using table structure and most importantly they have able to reduce the file size a bit.
Layouts like liquid column display, clean structure are the outcome of this increasing usage of div like tag instead of table tags in HTML. Though this new methodology is not very easy but I found there is a rapid increase in number who follows this.

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