When CSS masters play

Dave Winer asks this:

A question for CSS design gurus. What's the best you can do with a table that has three columns like the one on Weblogs.Com. Let's see an example. I'd like the page to look good and load fast. Postscript: No one seems to understand -- I want to do weblogs.com without a table. Column 1 is the number, column 2 is the name of the weblog. Column 3 is the time it last updated. Look at the page.

Just followed by this:

People say "But it's a table, that's what tables are for." I understand and usually agree -- but in this case -- the table is so long that some other way of displaying it might be much more usable. It's something of a scaling issue, not a religious or philosophical one.

Which is necessary, as I'm amongst those people who are told by the semantic masters that Thou shall use tables for holding tabular data and not for sinful presentational witchcraft.

As a modest padawan learning his way into CSS and the semantic web, I watch the CSS masters nail this more easily than cutting butter with a laser saber. There is Gary Taylor, Dave Polaschek, Simon Willison, and Douglas Bowman which seemed to have won the contest.

So is the padawan watching the masters' exploits (in sheer fascination) but remaining suspiscious that some sort of semantic sin has been committed in the altar of rendering speed. Waitaminit' isn't an ordered list semantically acceptable for this specific situation? Well, since nowadays an acronym is a sort of abbreviation, it's no big deal, is it?

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