When users are presented with information in a web application, they should generally first see the information in normal, human readable form (like a report) ... that is, the information should not be embedded in a myriad of textboxes, checkboxes, and so on. These pages should not look too "techie". This might be the way programmers think, but it not the way users think.
By seeing clean text, users can find information faster and enjoy using the application more. And when we design these pages with clean text, we can fit a lot more information on one page. Sometimes we can compact up to 3-5 techie-looking pages into 1 clean page so users can see and print related information all together.
In a sense, what we do is to turn the application "inside-out" and add a human readable "skin" to the application.
This subtle difference is one of the key reasons for the success of products like Microsoft Excel and Word. You are not overwhelmed by a lot of colorful buttons or techie interfaces when you first open these programs. You instead have a clean workspace that allows you focus your attention on your data and the work you want to get done. This makes these applications less intimidating, even though each has a tremendous war chest of powerful features that the user can explore and gradually start using.