I think a lot about tables in content. Despite being cast away in favor of things like GridLayouts for website design, they’re still invaluable for doing their primary job – displaying data in a structured manner. And because I use a lot of data myself on my site, I’m always looking for ways to make the process more efficient. The evolution of my thinking in terms of tables has gone back and forth, and my blog posts on NameHero have reflected that. For example, I have sequentially:
- Recommended the “Table Maker” plugin
- Then recommended the “TablePress” plugin
- Then moved back to “Table Maker”
I’ve talked about the problems with responsive tables, and how you should avoid plugins that hide one table and display another because of Google’s “mobile-first” indexing. In all, I’ve been very conflicted about the right tables to use, and how to properly balance functionality and performance.
Google Core Web Vitals Complicates Matters
So far, I’ve stuck with the Table Maker plugin for WordPress, and avoided making the tables responsive.
A New Table Plugin – dTables – Uses the Reactive Framework
I will freely admit that programming has come a long way since my college days. I frankly don’t understand the modern web programming frameworks and their jargon. But since my development days are over, the scope of what I need to know has reduced dramatically. And what I need to know is this – is it faster?
I’m assured by everyone around, that reactive programming is faster. And a new table plugin on the WordPress repository uses something called the Svelte Framework to build and display the tables.
Free and Easy to Use
The plugin is free, and you can download and install it from the WordPress repository as usual. It requires PHP 7.0 at least, so if you haven’t already, now’s a good time to update your old PHP framework!
Once installed, you can create your table using the Table menu on the left-hand side of the WordPress dashboard. The interface is pretty self-explanatory:
From here, you can customize every aspect of the table from the headers, footers, the color of the cells, the margins, and the alignment.
In addition, there’s a handy search bar at the top where users can search for data within the table. And if you don’t like it, you can just disable the search bar for a cleaner experience. Inserting the table is easy with a simple shortcode.
Another cool feature, is that you can populate the table with a data source like a CSV file instead of manually entering the information. This leaves the door open for all kinds of interesting applications involving dynamic data!
No jQuery with dTables!
This is a pretty impressive accomplishment. Here’s a comparison of dTables size vs others:
So, if – like me – you’re searching for a lightweight data tables plugin for WordPress, give dTables a whirl. I think you’ll find it an improvement over existing table plugins!
Ryan Gray is the founder and CEO of NameHero, one of the fastest growing independent web hosts in the United States. Ryan has been working online since 1998 and has over two-decades experience in Internet Entrepreneurship.
Thank you Ryan for a great review of the dtables plugin!