rule selection by presentation properties (was: Re: draft-...)

Scott E. Preece (
Fri, 8 Dec 1995 10:52:32 -0600

From: David Seibert <>
| If an author uses unnamed styles in the body of their html, the difficult
| part is not overriding the author's style, but knowing what to use in
| place of it. The reader's UA can only override it by replacing it with
| the default, so that the reader won't have any idea that the author
| wanted a special style for that piece of text. If someone uses a style
| often, and a reader wants to change the way that it is presented to him
| without forcing it into the default presentation, he has no way to do
| so. On the other hand, if the author names the style then the reader can
| add that stylename to his own stylesheet (with weight "important" so that
| it overrides the author's choice).

This actually suggests to me something different: the stylesheet mechanism should support selection by styling as well as by class, element, etc. For many kinds of display-specific changes, the easiest way for a user to override a problematic styling would be to change the styling itself, rather than find and override all the rules that specify that styling.

This suggests we should allow rules like:

font-size=14 { font.size: +2} font-family=helvetica: { univers }

While this is most useful on the user side (where it would be controlled, presumably, by mechanisms in the browser that might or might not look like stylesheets, it would also be useful to an author using a standard stylesheet but wishing to overlay a global presentation change on it. For instance, if a corporation's house standard says documents shall be in Helvetica 14, an author might want to use some standard stylesheet (say, a Netscape standard) but just change the face and size.


scott preece
motorola/mcg urbana design center	1101 e. university, urbana, il   61801
phone:	217-384-8589			  fax:	217-384-8550
internet mail: