have weighed in on the question of CSS now that the issue has become a “live” one in the weblog world. A representative opinion on one “side” of the thing (if sides here makes sense, which I don’t actually think it does) is that of Matt Bridges in CounterProductive. He wrote, “When a designer uses CSS to mimic what can be done with tables, separating content into different boxes that are placed at specific parts of the screen, they tie that content to that layout. This completely defeats the purpose of separation of style from content.”
It’s a perfectly reasonable statement, and having worked on some CSS layouts I do see the drawbacks alongside the advantages. The problem is, however, that most people seem to have the foundational principles wrong. And their error leads in ugly directions.
CSS is about style. But there’s something much more important than that. Implementing CSS also returns structure to HTML. And that is where the value is – it’s not about separating content from style – that’s what a CMS is for. Rather, it’s to return the third variable – structure – to its rightful place in the mix. So that not only do you have the flexibility to do anything you want with the content (in the CMS), and to redesign that site as you like, but there’s also a fully degradeable version at the heart of the human-readable, “published” version that any device can read, as long as it can interpret HTML in some rudimentary way.