After going through the process of another Web site design, I decided to sit back and think about my ultimate Web architecture. The result was a pretty simple idea separated into a few steps:

  • Semantic XML – Start out with data that has semantic value to it. Leave out any thought of formatting, just describe what should be on the page, not how it should be displayed.
  • XSLT – Using the semantic data, transform it into semantically significant HTML, using tags like <h1/>, <strong/>, <em/>, and <p/>. Some <div/>, <ol/>, <ul/>, etc., tags can be used to logically group sets of data.
  • Semantic HTML + CSS – the final presentation is then formatted into a visually pleasing format using CSS.

It all seems so simple, but why is it that so many sites are content with laying things out in tables and losing all semantic value of the data that is the real focus of the site?

Disclaimer: Any viewpoints and opinions expressed in this article are those of Nicholas C. Zakas and do not, in any way, reflect those of my employer, my colleagues, Wrox Publishing, O'Reilly Publishing, or anyone else. I speak only for myself, not for them.

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