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CSS in Theory & Practise

Sent by Rob Cochrane on 22 September 2005 17:05

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ibn Ezra wrote:
> Howdy!
> It's obvious that CSS based design is the better choice for where I  
> want to take my site & page designs, but there are some basic  questions 
> about CSS theory v. practise that I wish I understood more  thoroughly. 
> KISS Theory ('keep it simple...') is telling me that I  should keep my 
> rules to the bare minimum; both for lighter code and  easier 
> troubleshooting as the rules governing the presentation grow  larger & 
> more complex.
> Yet there also are the practical issue of browser defaults which pull  
> in the opposite direction. One might make assumptions about how the  
> browser will handle the page background-color, font-size & line- height, 
> or margin & padding but there is certainly no guarantee that  all 
> browsers have the same defaults. Sometimes that's a non-issue,  but at 
> other times it's certain result in a design breakdown that  creates an 
> unpleasant user experience.
> So before I get all obsessive-compulsive and create CSS rules for  every 
> possible design attribute it seemed like a good idea to ask if  there 
> was any documentation covering the practical issues associated  with 
> browser defaults for the major browsers. There's plenty of  coverage for 
> which browsers support which CSS attributes, but I  haven't had much 
> success in getting a better handle on dealing with  browser defaults.


I do believe this is a mindset thing!

As we progress into more and more modern browsers we will find font size 
adjustment by user as a given. Background colours by user choice and 
many more features will be left to the user.
I believe the next advance by browser developers will be in educating 
users to develop their own default style sheet. "Control your own 
surfing experience"
You have no idea what browser is going to use the page so from my 
perspective KISS applies. Simple structural CSS then a few presentation 
sheets where needed and alternate pretty CSS for the user to choose.

Less and less we will worry about old broken down browsers (is there 
actually users using NN4? I have never even seen a copy!) More we will 
be concentrating on alternate CSS for cell phones and PDA's and other 
mobile devices.
I looked at my own page on my cellphone today and I was shocked. Tonight 
I make a mobile device style sheet to get some respectability. I also 
downloaded an emulator so I can save a bit of money on testing!

Why? Well in South Africa for many people the only access to the 
Internet is via a cell phone! This is be the same throughout Africa. 
Europe has 3g Asia has 3G and surfing with a cell is becoming the way to 
go. I called the local Nokia HO and they would not give figure but say 
they are dispatching thousands of 3G and GPRS capable phones a day! That 
is just in SA. (15 million cell phones)


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