The Web was invented to help scientists exchange information, not to compete with the sophisticated design of newspapers, glossy magazines, or TV. Controlling a page’s layout remains one of Web design’s greatest challenges. The increasing expectations of the Web’s users, however, have forced designers to push HTML into new territories, and the primary weapon in this battle has been the HTML <table> tag.
Though originally intended to display tables of data, today most Web designers use the <table> tag primarily for arranging elements on a Web page, as shown in Figure 6-1.
Figure 6-1. Underneath many Web pages is an invisible skeleton that gives the page form and structure. HTML tables let you control the placement of graphics, text, and other elements on a Web page with accuracy. Without tables, Web content would simply flow from top to bottom on a page—boring!
Of course, trying to force a round peg into a square hole isn’t always easy, and creating complex designs with tables often requires clever tricks and workarounds. Fortunately, Dreamweaver MX’s advanced table tools anticipate those needs and let you build beautiful table-based layouts. With these tools—and this book—you’ll soon be gliding through HTML minefields along the path to attractive, effective Web pages. (If you can’t wait to get started using Dreamweaver to create advanced layouts, jump to page 184 and ...