Separate presentation from content: But how to distinguish them?

Walter Perry
wperry@fiduciary.com

Abstract

The goal of separating rendition or presentation from the content marked up in XML seems sensible. Not only would such practice disentangle the markup spaghetti routinely encountered in HTML (and too often in what should be more disciplined markup), but it is indispensable for any systematic reuse or repurposing. Before content can be handed off equally well to any appropriate formatter or renderer, it must first be stripped of presentational characteristics. This apparently straightforward task proves devilishly difficult. A determined and disciplined attack on the problem does yield simple rules which can be consistently applied to yield predictable results. The surprise in formulating these rules is how much of ordinary XML idiom – and how much of current W3C working group efforts – turn out to be on the side of presentation rather than content when a workable bright line is drawn to separate the two.

Keywords: Markup Languages; Modeling

Separate presentation from content: But how to distinguish them?

Walter Perry [Fiduciary Automation]

Extreme Markup Languages 2002® (Montréal, Québec)

This paper is not represented in the conference proceedings.