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practicality of user styleshseets

From: Felix Miata <mrmazda@earthlink.net>
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 2010 22:34:13 -0400
Message-ID: <4CB66C25.1080402@earthlink.net>
To: www-style@w3.org
The user theoretically has ultimate control by applying his own stylesheet. I
was recently reminded by
http://onwebdev.blogspot.com/2010/10/css-writing-efficient-user-style-sheets.html#comment-form
what a difficult task it can be for even a knowledgeable user to effectively
exert that control. I suggest that certain things to discourage authors from
employing troublesome techniques be incorporated into the CSS3 documentation,
without here suggesting any methodology.

Problem 1-CSS file compaction:
This is the stripping of all forms of unnecessary whitespace, including
newlines, from CSS files in order to minimize server load and maximize
download speed. The use of this technique seems to be rapidly spreading.

It causes tools like Mozilla's Dom Inspector to show every rule on one line,
a major impediment for any user attempting to isolate an offending rule that
needs a compensating !important override. Even when viewed in an editor or
viewer that wraps the long line, the lack of whitespace makes navigating and
understanding the rulesets difficult.

It would be nice to see an average or more than a dozen or so "}" characters
per newline character in any CSS source somehow become invalid.

Problem 2-ID and class proliferation:
This should be self-explanatory. Authors don't seem to understand how to let
inheritance do its job, preferring to apply at least one class and/or ID for
virtually every element type and/or context.

The more classes and IDs authors use, the greater the difficulty isolating
those that actually cause offense to the user, and the greater the time
required to build compensating overrides. At the same time, generic user
styles are all but useless.

One solution might be to increase priority of instances of !important among
user styles so that each and every use of it takes precedence if in any way
applicable no matter how high the specificity is in author styles. I can't
think of any other way to deal with this other than user agents providing
options to completely disregard classes without disregarding CSS entirely.

More problems to be described as time permits (unless someone beats me to
them all).  ;-)
-- 
"The wise are known for their understanding, and pleasant
words are persuasive." Proverbs 16:21 (New Living Translation)

 Team OS/2 ** Reg. Linux User #211409

Felix Miata  ***  http://fm.no-ip.com/
Received on Thursday, 14 October 2010 02:34:00 GMT

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