When I built Coastsider, my goal was to make the design, and the underlying markup, as simple as possible. I wanted to do the layout with CSS only — no tables.

Tables brought back too many memories for me of the original News.com site, which was a twisted mass of nested tables designed to over-determine how the site looked on the reader’s computer.

Right before releasing Coastsider, I decided I was unable to assure the site would look right without a basic three-column table layout. I held my nose and added the table. But at least I wasn’t nesting my table.s

Today, I came across an intractable problem that forced me to nest a second table inside my layout. I’m sure the problem is that I don’t know CSS well enough to fix this without nested tables. But I’m out of ideas and out of time. Nested tables beat the alternative, which looks awful.