Separation of content and presentation

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An example of CSS Code, which makes up the visual and styling components of a web page.

Separation of content and presentation (or separation of content and style) is the separation of concerns design principle as applied to the authoring and presentation of content. Under this principle, visual and design aspects (presentation and style) are separated from the core material and structure (content) of a document.[1][2][non-primary source needed] A typical analogy used to explain this principle is the distinction between the human skeleton (as the structural component) and human flesh (as the visual component) which makes up the body's appearance. Common applications of this principle are seen in Web design (HTML and CSS)[3][4] and markup language (see LaTeX).

Use in Web design[edit]

This principle is not a rigid guideline, but serves more as best practice for keeping appearance and structure separate. In many cases, the design and development aspects of a project are performed by different people, so keeping both aspects separated ensures both initial production accountability and later maintenance simplification, as in the don't repeat yourself (DRY) principle.

Use in writing[edit]

LaTeX is a document markup language that focuses primarily on the content and structure of a document. With this methodology, academic writings and publication can be structured and styled with minimal effort by the creator, and can be quickly reformatted for different purposes.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Separation: The Web Designer's Dilemma". A List Apart. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  2. ^ Ferrel, P.J.; Meyer, R.F.; Millet, S.J.; Shewchuk, J.P.; Smith, W.W. (March 6, 2001), Method for delivering separate design and content in a multimedia publishing system, USPTO, Patent #6199082
  3. ^ "Separating Content and Appearance". Simon Fraser University. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  4. ^ Clark, Dave (2007). "Content Management and the Separation of Presentation and Content". Technical Communication Quarterly. 17 (1): 35–60. doi:10.1080/10572250701588624. ISSN 1057-2252.