Using tables for layout purposes

Okay let's start off by saying using tables for layout purposes is a terrible idea - the web has largely moved on from that sort of thinking. The focuses on semantics and responsive design have become much more important than "that works" could ever be. The reduction in tables nested in tables nested in tables nested in wrapper tables is a huge step in a very positive direction in my opinion. However, this dodogy HTML did make some layout desires very very easy and some of those are quite awkward with sensible HTML and CSS. Apparently we need some sort of middle-ground compromise. Time for an example.

Ruthless semantic markup

I've recently overhauled the markup of this site to make it more accessible and generally better. The purpose of a HTML document is to describe the content of the page, in an ideal world it would be completely decoupled from the styling and layout of the page. It's very easy to fall in to the trap of adding meaningless elements to a page to make a styling problem easier, these tiny concessions add up and you eventually end up with a meaningless div soup!