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Re: Alternative Style Sheets

From: Anton Prowse <prowse@moonhenge.net>
Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2012 09:08:29 +0100
Message-ID: <5077CFFD.3040705@moonhenge.net>
To: www-style@w3.org
CC: Perry Smith <pedzsan@gmail.com>
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!

Anton Prowse
Received on Friday, 12 October 2012 08:09:00 UTC

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