HTML and CSS Reference
9 Only if it contains exclusively phrasing content.
Tabular data elements
Several years ago it was quite common practice to use tables to generate pixel-precise
website layouts. At the time, this use of tables provided, to the untrained eye, a leap for-
ward in web design, because designs could be created in Adobe Photoshop, sliced into a
grid of pieces, and reassembled inside a table to create the original design in a web page.
However, the inflexibility and accessibility concerns of this method of design soon saw
it scorned in favor of CSS, when the touted “tableless layout” became a catchphrase to
mean a pixel-perfect layout created without a table. Ouch. Where did tables go wrong?
In the standards world, they went wrong when they were used for a purpose they weren't
intended for—presentation. The table is for displaying data, ? la spreadsheets and noth-
As Table 2-10 shows, the table element is a single unit that fits into the flow content
model category. All other table-related elements work within a table element to define
its structure, so they do not fit any of the major categories. Like with the body element,
a large number of attributes that were presentational in nature have been thrown into the
obsolete bin; for example, in tr all the attributes except for the global attributes have
been stripped away.
10 May be placed in phrasing content, if it contains only phrasing content.