CSS and presentational markup

In documents with both CSS and presentational markup (e.g., <font>
and <center> "elements", <B>, <I>, and align and color attributes ) I
have noticed that sometimes CSS can override the usual rendering of
the markup, and other times it can't.

More troubling, IE4b1 and NS4b5 each have unique sets of
presentational elements/attributes that CSS can override. NS4, for
example, will ignore <font size=+1> on an element if CSS specifies a
fixed size, while IE4 will honor the markup. There's no apparent
rhyme or reason. I haven't done an exhaustive survey, but it appears
that NS4b5 will override presentational markup more often than IE4b1

I think CSS should always be able to override all presentational
markup and attributes, including positioning achieved by means of
tables. This will encourage designers to style with CSS "top down",
then consider whether or not to prettify documents for non-CSS
browsers. If CSS cannot override presentational markup, designers
will begin with markup, and turn to CSS only for "extra" effects.
This will retard adoption of CSS by minimizing reliance on it.

I note with a little alarm that Netscape's set to be released next
Wednesday. <opinion>Either they're coding with superhuman speed,
cleverness, and judgment, or the CSS implementation won't really be
ready.</opinion> Anyway, my fingers are crossed. And do you think
they'll have a personal style sheet UI?

Todd Fahrner

The printed page transcends space and time. The printed page, the
infinitude of books, must be transcended. THE ELECTRO-LIBRARY.

--El Lissitzky, 1923

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