[whatwg] Seperation of Content and Interface

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Sun Jul 11 13:33:58 PDT 2004

On Sun, 11 Jul 2004, Joshua Wise wrote:
> My initial gut reaction is that HTML and CSS cannot be coerced to meet
> that requirement [(separating content and style)] for a few reasons,
> including:
> * Many people are still used to the "old way" of doing things - do
>   design with HTML, and use CSS to help. [...]
> So, my opinion is that new "content" and "layout" languages need to be
> designed to solve this problem.

HTML3.2 was used for both content and layout, so two new languages were
created: HTML4 Strict, and CSS.

As you point out, people did not all migrate to this new language.

Why do you think that if yet another new language was created, people
would switch to _that_, and stop using the "old way"? (Why do you think
people are still using the "old way" instead of XHTML, XForms, etc?)

> * HTML and CSS do not enforce the layout/content boundary.

HTML4 Strict enforces it as much as possible. I don't really know how you
can force people to do something that they don't want to do...

> In addition, HTML and CSS still would not effectively support screen
> readers, etc - there is no clear boundary between important content,
> content, banners, and other things that screen readers would not need to
> know how to read.

Yeah, we're looking at resolving this in Web Apps 1, with tags like

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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