Separating layout and contents from a web page is not a new topic but up until now it is still one of the most sought after dilemma by web developers like me. It is easier said than done, so while the concept has been around a long time, not many developers practice it. Developers, even though style sheets are vastly supported by browsers, are still tied to using tables to format the structure of their contents. And it is not like they wanted it—they just have to use what is the easier way of formatting your content.
Now there are lots of resources available on the internet that helps developers become “professional,” that is, being able to use the web standards and still make great looking web sites. I checked out several sites that helps developers in this issue: First was http://www.alistapart.com/. They have a lot of articles on many topics and their site is even an example of separating content from design. Another great example of this approach was demonstrated at http://www.csszengarden.com/. I was amazed at how the page was well-formatted with or without its default style sheet and it even promotes others to create their own CSS for the web site in a way mimics “skinning” like in software such as WinAmp and Windows Media Player.
In the future more web sites will be made using the approach used by the websites I stated above and wouldn’t it be great if the web sites that you make today already have this functionality? You basically just have to define your contents’ structure (using <h1>, <p>, <li>, etc.) and you can let others design the formatting for you! It saves you time and you don’t have to do a site “overhaul” if you plan to change the look of your website.
I am still gathering more information about this topic and if ever I know I had enough to make an entire site using this approach, surely the first website I made that you’ll see having this would be my personal website http://dhenz.netfirms.com/. I’d like my future projects to be fully XHTML and CSS compliant and that other devices are not estranged from the sites I made. This is also one way I can help the web community have lesser “obsolete” web sites, and also keep my clients ahead of the ball game.
You may read more about this topic at http://www.alistapart.com/articles/separationdilemma/.