Thursday, December 11, 2008

What happened to the spacer.gif?

.. did it die or reincarnate?

I have been creating web pages almost like forever, it feels. I must have made my first pages in or even before 1998. That's over 10 years ago. On the Internet that is close to infinity.

John Wallis introduced the infinity symbol to ...Image via Wikipedia

I have always been handcoding the pages in some tool or other that helped me to format the code with nice indents. But still I do my coding by hand. At least during the design phase. Later I break down the bits of a page and turn these into controls that produce the same html tags and fill them dynamically from a CMS database or something like that.

Handcoding is good

Because I did and do everything by hand I have never created a table based layout. I just couldn't get the point of putting in loads and loads of tags to produce something. I just didn't and couldn't understand it. It was absolutely not sexy.

Tracey AdamsImage via Wikipedia
spacer.gif

So, I didn't have the need for Photoshop my own 1 by 1 pixel transparent spacer.gif. I wonder how many different spacer.gif files have been created throughout the world?

Now more and more web designers and front end developers know that table based designs are not the way to go and the need for the spacer.gif is diminishing.

Yesterday's shocking discovery

I still am used to seeing a good looking design and then viewing the source to see loads of nested tables. It still happens way too often, but it's getting better.

Yesterday however, I was shocked again when viewing source. I saw that this developer had stripped out the spacer.gif. He (or she) had also discovered the use of the <div>. But his (or her) implementation was enough for my jaw to drop open. See the code below. I rest my case.

<td class="shadowLeft">
  <div class="spacer">
  </div>
</td>

Lo and behold, the spacer div has cometh!

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