W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > October 2012

Re: Alternative Style Sheets

From: Antony Kennedy <antony@silversquid.com>
Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2012 09:15:08 +0100
Cc: www-style@w3.org, Perry Smith <pedzsan@gmail.com>
Message-Id: <B8D0E993-1121-4C3E-BDA4-7A1FB96AA2BC@silversquid.com>
To: Anton Prowse <prowse@moonhenge.net>
I would agree that the alternative stylesheets are a great concept, and one that makes adding accessible or alternative views an easy thing to achieve without having to clutter your UI with icons to point to them.

But as Anton points out, without wide browser support and an easy method of discovery, we have to implement those icons and ugly JS switching mechanisms. Such a shame.

On 12 Oct 2012, at 09:08, Anton Prowse <prowse@moonhenge.net> wrote:

> On 09/10/2012 04:24, Perry Smith wrote:
>> I've recently bumped into the concept of alternative style sheets.
>> e.g. @import can have a name or an HTML link tag can have a title.
>> 
>> Firefox provides a way to pick between them.  I don't see a method
>> with Chrome or Safari.
> 
> :-(
> 
>> The one thing I thought
>> perhaps FF would do is remember the style I picked if I went back to
>> a page but it does not.
> 
> Still not?
> 
> In the early days of Firefox (before it had come to be called Firefox, IIRC) there used to be a statusbar icon which would indicate when a site provided alternative stylesheets.  That's how I discovered the concept, in fact.  I thought it was a great idea, and I was pretty disappointed when they pulled the icon.  I argued against it, but the team who made the browser said that the implementation was too buggy (and gave the example you just mentioned as a supporting argument!).  It seems they left it in the menu, though, which didn't really address my concern.  My argument was that the concept is only useful if it is discoverable.
> 
>> It just seems like a cool idea that has potential.  Mostly I'm
>> wondering if anyone is using it or if it is likely to fade away.
> 
> Without a visible indication of the existence of an alternative stylesheet, the concept seems doomed.  Browser makers will argue that nobody uses it, but that's because nobody's going to visit the menu on every site on the off-chance that there might be an alternative stylesheet available.  Authors are unlikely to spend much time making alternatives knowing that some browsers don't support switching and those that do don't make it friendly.  (Perhaps governmental organizations etc might offer alternative stylesheets to address legal obligations on accessibility.)  So it's a vicious circle.
> 
> RIP statusbar icon.  I still miss you!
> 
> Cheers,
> Anton Prowse
> http://dev.moonhenge.net
> 
Received on Friday, 12 October 2012 08:15:37 GMT

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