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Hour 14. Slicing Layouts > What Are Slices, and Why Should I Use Them?

What Are Slices, and Why Should I Use Them?

In the early days of the Web, the people who put many current standards in place didn’t necessarily envision the explosion of color, sound, and movement that Web pages now use regularly. The basic language of Web pages—Hypertext Markup Language, or HTML—was designed very specifically for academic documents. The early developers thought only scientists and professors would likely use the Web, since it was largely intended as a research and communication tool.

When commercial interests began to hire graphic designers to create visually compelling Web pages, the designers had to work around the limitations of HTML as a design medium with what were sometimes inelegant solutions. The most important innovation was with HTML tables, which were originally meant for laying out rows and columns of statistics and data. Using tables, text and graphics could be laid out together with more control, and file sizes could be kept minimal. Being able to hand-code, or hack, tables became a fundamental Web design skill. But coding these intricate tables and cropping all the graphics to fit were complicated and time consuming—making small changes took almost as long as reworking the whole layout.


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