In his article “HTML’s a Tag Too,” Bryan Veloso discusses the benefits of applying styles to the
element. He argues that by making more effective use of
, developers could eliminate the need for a wrapper div. Everything would effectively be “moved up” a level – apply global styles to
, and then
can serve the same purpose as the wrapper div would have. Bryan points out that this can be particularly handy in XHTML 1.1, in which the
no longer stretches the entire length of the page.
It’s a neat idea, but for many developers – particularly those of us who work on large, enterprise-level sites – it is simply impractical. On large sites, rarely would you want to declare a global background image, for example. Or, you may not be able to access certain elements of a page at all, due to CMS limitations or other restrictions. However, for a small-scale site, styling
could be a good way to reduce divitis, as long as you’re mindful of scalability issues.