Re: Why is the style tag restricted to the head?

[Thu, 8 Aug 2002 09:04:09 -0400] Joshua Prowse:
>What reason is there for restricting the style tag to the head of the document?
>Why not allow it anywhere in the document so that <style> tags that are placed
>lower override earlier ones?

I *think* you mean you'd like to be able to do something like this:

<STYLE>P {color: red}</STYLE>
     <P>Paragraph 1</P>
     <P>Paragraph 2</P>
<STYLE>P {color: green}</STYLE>
     <P>Paragraph 3</P>
     <P>Paragraph 4</P>

and have "Paragraph 1" and "Paragraph 2" in shown in red, while
"Paragraph 3" and "Paragraph 4" would appear in green.

The biggest problem with this is that it breaks the normal paradigm of
"nesting" within HTML: information is carried "inward" to containing
blocks, not "downward" to following blocks, in HTML.  The consistent
exception is the <HEAD> section, which contains information that applies
to the entire document.  (One other exception is <BASEFONT>... but that tag
is pretty much a mess.  I imagine it gives browser authors nightmares.)

The closest you can come to the above (that I can think of) is to use
"neutral" tags (i.e., <DIV> or <SPAN>) to enclose sections that should be
styled differently, and define classes in the (embedded or external) style
sheet that specify the particular characteristics needed; for example:

<STYLE TYPE="text/css">
     *.Pred   P {color: red}
     *.Pgreen P {color: green}
<DIV CLASS="Pred">
     <P>Paragraph 1</P>
     <P>Paragraph 2</P>
<DIV CLASS="Pgreen">
     <P>Paragraph 3</P>
     <P>Paragraph 4</P>

Better is if you can tie the classes to something meaningful rather than
just presentational attributes; that is, so that the newly-introduced <DIV>
elements (and the classes to which they are assigned) represent a logical
grouping for which presentation is changed for some reason (e.g., one
represents deleted text, or one represents a quote, or whatever).  If you
can name the classes that way, it will be easier for others (or you
yourself, after a few months or years) to maintain the document when it
needs to be updated, because the logic of its design will be more apparent.
Randall Joseph Fellmy aka

Received on Thursday, 8 August 2002 16:08:46 UTC