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Chapter Six. XHTML: Restructuring the We... > Marking Up Your Document for Sense I...

Marking Up Your Document for Sense Instead of Style

Remember: To the greatest extent possible, you want to use CSS for layout. In the world of web standards, XHTML markup is not about presentation; it's about core document structure. Well-structured documents make as much sense to a Palm Pilot or screen reader user as they do to someone who's viewing your page in a fancy-pants graphical desktop browser. Well-structured documents also make visual sense in old desktop browsers that don't support CSS or in modern browsers whose users have turned off CSS for one reason or another.

Not every site can currently abandon HTML table layouts. The W3C, inventors of CSS, did not convert to CSS layout until December 2002. Moreover, even die-hard standards purists might not always be able to entirely separate structure from presentation—at least not in XHTML 1. But that separation of structure from presentation (of data from design) is an ideal toward which we can make great strides and from which even hybrid, transitional layouts can benefit. Here are some tips to help you start to think more structurally.


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