W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > September 1999

Re: Minor error in CSS2, section 14.2; 'background'

From: David Perrell <davidp@earthlink.net>
Date: Mon, 6 Sep 1999 14:30:29 -0700
Message-ID: <016601bef8af$0b4fd8a0$15a8a8c0@DPER>
To: "www-style" <www-style@w3.org>
Ian Hickson wrote:

> The 'background' property cannot have the value
'transparent', since
> it is a shorthand property.

'Background' can be used to declare a 'transparent' value for
background-color, but it does not itself have that value, yes?
A background declaration "first sets all the individual
background properties to their initial values, then assigns
explicit values given in the declaration."[1] So a background
declaration that does not explicitly assign a background-color
value assigns 'transparent' implicitly.

> Furthermore, if the BODY background value is used when the
> element's 'background[-color]' value is transparent, then
you get the
> peculiar result that the following:
>    HTML { background: url(logo.png) no-repeat top right; }
>    BODY { background: white url(paper.png) repeat; }
> ...would result in no logo.

Yes, that's how I read [2] also. But I disagree with your
solution because I believe the existing text is fundamentally

The rules of the cascade are a basic foundation of CSS -- they
cannot be arbitrarily ignored when convenient. In your example
a value for background-color has been assigned to HTML; that
value should be honored. It then follows that the
background-color in any exposed areas of the canvas will be
undefined (the default background-color of the UA), not the
background-color of the next element in the document tree.

I submit that the following revision of paragraphs three and
four of [2] would be unequivocal and more in line with CSS
cascading rules:

The background of the box generated by the root element
extends to cover the entire canvas.

For HTML documents we recommend that authors specify
properties for the BODY element rather than the HTML element,
as the HTML element is not generally considered to have
display properties. User agents should observe the following
precedence rules to apply background-color and
background-image to the canvas: If any property is declared
for the HTML element, extend the HTML background onto the
canvas, otherwise extend the BODY background onto the canvas.
If the resulting background-color is 'transparent' or
'inherited' then the background-color of the canvas is

Note that declaring *any* property for the HTML element
declares HTML to be the root element. Also note that,
regardless of the recommendation to apply properties to BODY,
any author who wants to insure that their specified background
extends to the edges of the viewport will either have to
specify properties on HTML or set BODY margins to zero.

BTW, the first paragraph of [2], which currently reads:
"Authors may specify the background of an element (i.e., its
rendering surface) as either a color or an image", should be
changed to read: "Authors may specify the background of an
element (i.e., its rendering surface) as a color and/or an
image." Either/or is incorrect.

David Perrell

[2] <http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-CSS2/colors.html#q2>
Received on Monday, 6 September 1999 17:32:36 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Monday, 2 May 2016 14:26:51 UTC