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RE: CSS positioning

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 15 Mar 2002 05:01:55 -0500 (EST)
To: "SHARPE, Ian" <Ian.SHARPE@cambridge.sema.slb.com>
cc: "WAI (E-mail)" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0203150456420.30680-100000@tux.w3.org>
The problem with applying this solution generally should not be solved by
having to read source code and do wierd things, it should be solved by better
tools. In particular, having a style-sheet authoring tool built nto a
browseer, that doesn't require the user to know much about source code, is

The only example  I know of that starts to demonstrate how this could work is
Amaya, and that is missing a couple of vital functions (the ability to export
a rule to the user CSS in particular).

The basic idea is that a user selects something that they aren't able to use
properly because of some presentation rules. Then they say "make things like
this be presented like so". (This is how the Amaya CSS authoring interface
works, although it only has a very limited range of things available - much
less than the software itself supports). Then they can add this rule to their
USER style sheet. Ideally, they can even make it on a per-site basis, or per
page basis, so they end up with a collection of rules that  they can choose
to reapply by associating them with a new type of element on a different
page, or with the same type of element on a different page...

(MS Word more or less does this, at least when I used to use it, in the



On Fri, 15 Mar 2002, SHARPE, Ian wrote:

  Jim, that's fantastic but leaves me with a couple of other questions which I
  believe again support Kynn's point.

  Firstly, as I can read the text now, it seems that the same problem for the
  top positioning is now causing problems for the left positioning and I'm
  getting truncation of text. I had a guess at doing the same thing as you
  have done for the top position and added "left: 0px !important;" but no joy?
  How can I now sort this out?

  Secondly, *[class] in my stylesheet under IE5.5 doesn't seem to work as a
  match for all classes on a page. Is this a known feature of IE CSS support?
  Is there an alternative? I was hoping to add some generic styling which
  would apply to all (well most anyway) other web pages so I wouldn't have to
  keep asking these sorts of questions. I'm not that bother about this site in
  particular but want to create a stylesheet which can be used whenever I need
  to access a site which exhibits the same behaviour.

  Thirdly, did you just guess at the class name? Do you use a tool to identify
  which element produces a particular effect (like in Visual Studio when you
  click on the page and the HTML source is displayed) or are you using your
  obviously considerable experience? I tried searching for the text in one of
  the menus but because I could only see the first few letters under my
  settings when I performed the search on the source I got to many results to
  make this a feasible appraoch?

  Once I understand what's going on I was intending to publish my stylesheet
  so that others might be able to benefit from the work? I'm getting the
  distinct impression that current CSS suport (in IE at least but it appears
  Opera is much better) does not provide the functionality to do this
  generically? It's no good if every time one has a problem web page you have
  to search through the source, identify all problem classes and then add them
  to your own stylesheet!? Besides, different sites may use the same class
  name for different purposes? It would be nice to think that the latest
  version of CSS at least does provide the functionality to acheive this even
  if we have to wait a while for browsers to support the latest version?

  I would just add that I am fully aware that this would most definitely NOT
  be a universal solution for ALL. If I'm being completely honest my
  motivation is selfishness - I want to produce something that will help me do
  my job. As opposed to Kynn's more honorable FUSSY approach. However, if I
  can be of any use in this quest my services where possible are sincerely


  -----Original Message-----
  From: Kynn Bartlett [mailto:kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com]
  Sent: 14 March 2002 17:43
  To: Jim Ley; WAI (E-mail)
  Subject: Re: CSS positioning

  At 5:06 PM +0000 3/14/02, Jim Ley wrote:
  >If you really want to make the page accessible...
  >Adding this to your user stylesheet seems to do a reasonable job...
  >.itemBorder { top:0px !important;position:relative !important;height:2em
  >!important }
  >it changes the position to relative, removes the top position and forces
  >the height to 2em, itemBorder is perhaps a common classname though so it
  >may effect other pages.

  What Jim says is right -- but it just illustrates why there is a problem
  with CSS and user style sheets to begin with. Without knowing HTML and
  CSS in detail, and knowing how to set up a user style sheet, the end
  user can't take advantage of the features of the cascade meant to protect
  the user's interests.

  This is something I hope to address if I ever get FUSSY (Free User
  Style Sheet for You) off the groud, but geez, I need more time in the
  day! :)


Charles McCathieNevile    http://www.w3.org/People/Charles  phone: +61 409 134 136
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative     http://www.w3.org/WAI  fax: +33 4 92 38 78 22
Location: 21 Mitchell street FOOTSCRAY Vic 3011, Australia
(or W3C INRIA, Route des Lucioles, BP 93, 06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex, France)
Received on Friday, 15 March 2002 05:01:56 UTC

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