Re: Separation of presentation and structure

Gavin Nicol (
Mon, 7 Aug 95 00:34:18 EDT

>I think that you have raised a number of valid points. People see little
>value in creating structured documents unless there is a payoff. It is fine
>to say that separating structure from style is valuable, but to what end?
>What benefit does the creator of those documents receive? People want to add
>style to their documents. It is what visually distinguishes one document
>from another. People are much more likely to be drawn to color vs black and
>white and to graphics vs text. So, the extensions that are added to HTML
>give people what they want, today.

Well, I'm not sure what your model of a document is, but mine focuses
more on information, and how it is both represented, and presented.

I would say that there are two major classes of documents: those for
which appearance is of the utmost concern, and those in which
information is of the utmost concern. In the latter category,
technical manuals, novels, journals, etc. all fall in. Most of
the data in these cases is long-lived, and fairly static. In such
cases structural markup (read SGML) has many benefits.

Admittedly, this is not the major focus of the WWW *now*, but the
focus will change over time: not only change to support SGML, but
change to support other visually oriented formats as well.