Re: [CSS21] body { padding: 8px; } HTML40 sample stylesheet

On Thursday, July 24, 2003, at 07:16 PM, Afternoon wrote:
>> In fact, it's probably not really all that desirable at all, as Jukka 
>> is saying here.
> Why?

Because browser developers may come up with a better way to present
information than the default which is, by and large, based on the
old Mosaic browser's rendering.

This is actually a good thing, not something we want to discourage.

>> Mandating that a style page is "the same page" if the appearance 
>> looks the same in multiple browsers is simply wrong, and 
>> misunderstands the Web.
> I don't mean the it's "the same page".

Well you said it. :)

> I don't think this is wrong. Why shouldn't the same page look the same 
> as far as possible? Isn't that the original point of HTML and much of 
> what CSS is about?

No, the original point of HTML was not to make pages look alike.  And 
point of CSS was not to make pages look alike, either.

It's perfectly valid, for example, for a default style sheet in one
browser (say, Safari) to put 0.75em vertical margin before <h1>, and
a default style sheet for another browser (say, IE) to have a 1.0em
vertical margin.

If anyone _cares_, that's what the user and/or author style sheets
are for.

Browsers may have different ways of indicating links.  They may have
different ways of indicating <abbr>s.  They may have different
default fonts.  We shouldn't mandate that there's one "preferred
rendering" -- via a universal default style sheet -- because that
concept goes against core HTML and CSS concepts.

> I'm sorry, I just find it ludicrous that there should exists syntax to 
> say things such as position:absolute and top:50px; but then turn 
> around and say that these shouldn't be used because they misunderstand 
> the web.

Who said which?  All I said was that the point of CSS and HTML is
not to make pages look visually identical.  You can, as the author,
attempt to do this, but the browsers certainly don't have to support
this as default functionality.

> The web is a visual medium and people use it as such.

No, sorry.  The Web is an information medium.  You may perceive it as
a visual medium, and it supports (and is in some ways optimized for)
a visual presentation, but it's not a visual medium.

> By suggesting that browsers try to be alike (which is all I'm doing, 
> I'm not forcing and I'm not unrealistic about the probable lack of 
> adoption) all I'm doing is trying to make authors lives easier at 
> nobody else's expense.

If an author wants something to look alike, they will provide a
comprehensive style sheet.  If they don't want things to look
alike in all browsers, they they will leave it up to the browser
to define the appearance based on individual default style

This is perfectly fine and good, and is indeed desirable.  It is
an intended effect of how the cascade works.  Trying to force
conformity of rendering via the default style sheet is a really
bad idea.


Kynn Bartlett <>           
Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain      
Author, CSS in 24 Hours             
Inland Anti-Empire Blog            
Shock & Awe Blog                 

Received on Thursday, 24 July 2003 22:35:23 UTC