Content vs Presentation

Scoble is wrestling with RSS vs HTML. Seems to me that this is yet another round of Content vs Presentation. Compare a web page aggregator polling web sites and caching web pages to a RSS news aggregator – the major difference lies in the distinction between content and presentation. Believers in the primacy of content will prefer RSS, while believers in presentation will prefer HTML.

Personally, I believe in the primacy of content. But I also understand the limitations of semantic markup in content. Presentation can be more finely nuanced – is it strong or very strong, is my strong stronger than yours? Presentation can make clear what content poorly expresses. Of course, I’m rarely interested in nuance and it’s rarely properly expressed.

Where I take exception to presentation is when it tries to barge it’s way in where it doesn’t belong. I believe that RSS is for content. Don’t project your presentation into my news aggregator. If it’s important to you, then put a summary in the RSS and have me to jump back to the source page. Or add the mixed content and presentation as a RSS enclosure. But please don’t try to coerce presentation into my RSS content.