Web 3.0 Why Separate Style, Content, Form and Function?

website division of laborLet me explain what those mean in regard to the web, and then give you the top three reasons to care about dividing the labors.

Style, content, form and function is one way to clarify what goes into web design. Style is your colors, your curves, your sassiness and aesthetic. It’s the (static) visual fun and delight that greets your visitors. Content is the reason people will visit or read your site, it’s the information, the text, the images, and the message that you want to convey. Form is how the design and function are displayed. It’s the structure underneath each web page that tells a browser how to display the page to the viewer. And finally function is both the bells and whistles, that make smooth transitions between changes on the web page, and the tools that combine the content, style and form.

For web design, form is ultimately built with HTML. Style is taken care of by CSS stylesheets. Content is taken care of by databases. And function is taken care of by many things; javascript, php, web browsers, frameworks and content management systems (CMS) like WordPress.

So at this point, in the interest of full disclosure, this actually is a web 2.0 topic, but considering that it’s still not widely understood, it may as well be web 3.0. 

Top 3 Reasons to Care

So what are the top 3 reasons to care? Let’s start with #3.

3. The Division of Expertise.

There are perhaps only a rare few individuals in the world who can take rocks, smelt them and eventually turn them into Airplanes. And even rare people who have the time to do all of that.  People specialize, designers are great at design, developers great at code, writers at content and communities at maintaining frameworks and CMSes. 

2. Cheaper to upgrade.

If you don’t separate your labors, then when it comes time to upgrade you’ll have to pay someone to move all of your content over. And if you have a significant web site that can be an annoying cost. Why pay for your content multiple times?  Also, dividing your labors means you can more quickly (and cheaply) change one small thing, be it a color or a word or a shape. 

And #1… Security!

Let us be honest, security is not about keeping everyone out, it’s about making you look more difficult to get into than the next company. Everyone, even crooks know that business is a matter of return on investment. And if a crook has to spend more time on you than your neighbor for a similar reward, guess who he’s going to hack.  Dividing your labors, lets specialists be responsible for security instead of just one person.  Having a cms and security plugins  that update regularly  is one way of letting specialists take care of security. Another way is to hire a security guy to regularly poke and prod your website/server.  WordPress, many other CMSes, and most plugins are free… so you choose.

So there, you have it, my top 3 reasons to care about the division of labor.

Do you have your website style, form, function and content divided? What would you add to the list of reasons to divide labor?

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