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Issue 1: Font-weight and headings

From: E. Stephen Mack <estephen@emf.net>
Date: Sat, 26 Jul 1997 18:50:46 -0700
Message-Id: <3.0.3.32.19970726185046.00788264@emf.net>
To: www-style@w3.org
Traditionally, graphical browsers have rendered heading
elements (H1..H6) in bold.  An element such as:

<H1>The headline <STRONG>is</STRONG> important!</H1>

(with an embedded strong emphasis element) would not
result in a distinction for the word "is" when this
element is rendered by browsers such as
Navigator and IE (without the use of style sheets).

(This HTML example is based on one found in section 1.3
of the CSS spec [1].)

Using CSS1, we can declare that level-one heading elements
should not be given a bold weight:

H1 { font-weight: normal; }

Since font weight is an inherited property [2], the STRONG element
in the example heading above sbould inherit its parent's
lack of bolding.

Thus, the example HTML should be displayed with no bolding
throughout the entire heading, including the word "is".

While Navigator 4.01 renders the heading without any bolding
for the word "is", IE 4.0 platform preview 2 does render the
word "is" in bold.  [3]

IE 3.02 renders the entire heading in bold, perhaps it
doesn't fully support the "normal" value of font-weight. 
However, two references list IE 3.02 as supporting this
value (for the Macintosh [4] and Windows [5]), while one
reference says that IE does not support this value (on
both platforms [6]).

To make the strong emphasis appear, we can add the following
rule:

H1 STRONG { font-weight: bold }

This causes both IE 4.0 pp2 and Navigator 4.01 to show the
right thing, the word "is" in bold.

(IE 3.02 is still bolding the entire heading, and given some recent
advice of Gordon Blackstock <gordon@quartz.gly.fsu.edu> in private
correspondence, I have decided that in general I won't be
considering IE 3.x since its behavior seems so perverse and it
was released before the CSS1 spec was finalized.)

Now, I can almost understand why Navigator does not let
the font-weight property inherit down into the embedded
STRONG element, since the default property of the STRONG
element is font-weight: bold.  

I've read through the section in the CSS spec on
inheritance [7], and I see how rule 3 clearly says that
User Agent default values are given less priority than author
or reader style sheet values.

So, it seems to me Navigator is wrong.  Is there a general
pattern of priorities that Navigator isn't following correctly
of which this is just one example, or this just an isolated
quirk?


[1] http://www.w3.org/pub/WWW/TR/REC-CSS1#inheritance
[2] http://www.w3.org/pub/WWW/TR/REC-CSS1#font-weight
[3] Note that I'm testing on Windows 95, 640x480x256 with default
    fonts.  I can provide screen shots if people are interested.
[4] http://www.cwru.edu/lit/homes/eam3/css1/msiegrid.html
[5] http://www.shadow.net/~braden/nostyle/ie3.html#font-weight
[6] http://www.mcp.com/hayden/internet/style/table.html
[7] http://www.w3.org/pub/WWW/TR/REC-CSS1#inheritance
-- 
E. Stephen Mack <estephen@emf.net>    http://www.emf.net/~estephen/
Received on Saturday, 26 July 1997 21:49:41 GMT

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