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Re: Style sheet misuse advice

From: David Seibert <dseibert@squll.sqwest.bc.ca>
Date: 28 Jan 1997 10:12:33 +0000
To: www-style@www10.w3.org, liam@htmlhelp.com
Cc: griffon@canit.se, dseibert@squll.sqwest.bc.ca
Message-Id: <1997Jan28.101234+0000@sqruffy.west.sq.com>
On Tue Jan 28 16:16:17 1997, in 
<3.0.1.32.19970128111617.0084eb60@undergrad.math.uwaterloo.ca>, 
Liam Quinn wrote: 
>At 02:45 AM 28/01/97 -0500, Gordon Blackstock wrote:
>>| If one were to set Text and Link colors using a
>>| style sheet, should one also define the background
>>| colors for these elements as well?
>>
>>Since there is no practical way to know in advance, or at the time of
>>rendering, what the default settings of a browser may have been changed to
>>by a viewer, then it makes good sense to specify all colors if any are to
>>be changed by a document.  Without this precaution it is possible (it's
>>happened to me) that portions of the document can be invisible to the
>>viewer.  I would agree with Urban F. and go even further by adding that the
>>design is incomplete without all color bases covered.  
>
>I don't see how one can cover all colours since CSS1 allows a literally
>infinite number of colours to be specified.  It's not as easy as with
>HTML's BODY attributes, where there are only five colours that one can
>give.  With CSS1 and the interaction of author and user style sheets, an
>author would have to specify colours for not only BODY and the various A
>pseudo-classes, but also P, EM, STRONG, CITE, P CITE, P STRONG, P STRONG
>EM, TABLE, UL, UL UL, UL UL UL, etc., etc.

It's true that you could try to specify an infinite (although still
countable!) set of colours in a CSS stylesheet.  However, when you're
designing a specific document, you would only use a finite set of these
colours, so it is possible to specify all of the colours that could be used
for a given document (and not even that difficult for many small documents,
especially since you would set most of them to the same value). 

>I think I'm leaning towards the suggestion that background and color
>properties always be given together.  The reason that I've never committed
>to this advice is that it still seems somewhat "not right" that an
>undesired highlighting effect could appear if the user, for example,
>overrides the BODY background but not the link background.  Since this
>would only leave a page unreadable in a small minority of situations
>(depending on the colours involved), I questioned whether it wouldn't be
>better for users in these situations to turn the author's style sheet off.
>
>However, I suppose that the awkwardness of an undesired highlighting effect
>would be better than having users stare at a document with unreadable links.
>

This is largely a question of how careful you want to be in your document
design.  If you're working on something important, and you want to be sure
that it looks the way you designed it, then specify all of the colours that
are used.  If you aren't so concerned with the possibility that someone else
will see a bad rendition of your document, then you can get away with making
sure that if you specify one of a colour or background for a particular
context, you also specify the other, so that everything in your document is
legible.  It also helps those with less-than-ideal eyesight, or b/w
monitors (yes, those still exist), if you make sure that the text and
background aren't both light, or both dark.

David
Received on Tuesday, 28 January 1997 13:15:58 GMT

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