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RE: practicality of user styleshseets

From: Belov, Charles <Charles.Belov@sfmta.com>
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 2010 11:29:50 -0700
Message-ID: <E17F75B6E86AE842A57B4534F82D03769C3094@MTAMAIL.muni.sfgov.org>
To: <www-style@w3.org>
Cc: "Felix Miata" <mrmazda@earthlink.net>
> Felix Miata wrote on October 13, 2010 7:34 PM
>  
> 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-use
> r-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.
>
> (snip)
>
> 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.
> 

I have in fact created a user stylesheet which I use with Firefox.  The
way user stylesheets work now, I have to track down the particular class
or ID (assuming the website is using a class or ID and not a tag which
occurs on every website).  If the website sets a style using a tag, the
issue then becomes how to override that style on that site without
overriding it on every site.  Fortunately, I've pretty much been able to
work with class and ID.  Occasionally, a website sets CSS using
JavaScript, which adds to the time it takes to figure out how to
override a particular annoyance.

What I'd like, though, and which would provide maximal accessibility
without the end-user having to analyze the CSS code for a particular
website, is for the user stylesheet to have certain super-settings,
e.g., 

change all instances of justified alignment to left alignment; I can't
simply do
* {
	align: left ! important;
}
as that would also defeat centering.

Perhaps this sort of thing needs to be handled via a bookmarklet rather
than by CSS.  But bookmarklets get tedious when you have to execute them
on every page of a website.

Still, the main weakness of user stylesheets is that the average web
surfer would need to get a CSS-and-JavaScript-savvy friend or contractor
to create the stylesheet for them.

Hope this helps,
Charles Belov
SFMTA Webmaster
 
Received on Thursday, 14 October 2010 18:33:37 GMT

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