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A.3. Online Communities

One can read only so much before it comes time to join a discussion and ask some questions. There are two major venues for discussions about CSS, but each is concerned with a specific type of discussion -- so make sure you go to the right place.

A.3.1. comp.infosystems.www.authoring.stylesheets

This Usenet group, often abbreviated as ciwas (pronounced "see-wass"), is the gathering place for CSS authors. A number of experts in the field check this newsgroup regularly, this author among them, and all are there for one primary reason: to help new CSS authors over the hurdles that learning any new language will will evaluate to whatever length is required to make the element box's width equal the parent element's width. Thus, if the sum of the seven properties must equal 400 pixels, and no padding or borders are set, and the right margin and width are set to 100px while the left margin is set to auto, then the left margin will be 200 pixels wide:

P {margin-left: auto; margin-right: 100px; width: 100px;} 

The results are shown in Figure 8-11.

generate. The secondary reason is for the spirited debates that occasionally erupt over some aspect of CSS, or a browser's implementation thereof. Rather unusually for a newsgroup, the signal-to-noise ratio stayed fairly high for the last few years of the 1990s, and will with any luck continue in that vein.


Anyone who wishes to be involved in discussing the future course of CSS, and to clearing up ambiguities in the specifications, should subscribe to this list. The members of the list are all, in one fashion or another, interested in making CSS better than it is already. Please note: www-style is not the place to ask for assistance with writing CSS. For help with CSS authoring problems, visit ciwas instead. Questions beginning with "How do I ... ?" are frowned upon by the regulars of www-style and are usually redirected to a more appropriate forum such as ciwas. On the other hand, questions that begin "Why can't I ... ?" or "Wouldn't it be cool if ... ?" are generally welcome, so long as they relate to some ability that appears to be missing from CSS.

Messages to www-style are only accepted if the sender is already subscribed to the list. In order to subscribe, send email to with the word subscribe in the subject of the message; to unsubscribe, send email to with the word unsubscribe in the subject of the message.

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You could refer to them directly through thefont-family property, but you reallyshouldn't have to do that. Besides, it's no fun having towrite a style sheet such as this:

H1 {font-family: 'Zurich UltraBlack', sans-serif;}H2 {font-family: 'Zurich Black', sans-serif;}H3 {font-family: 'Zurich Bold', sans-serif;}H4, P {font-family: Zurich, sans-serif;}SMALL {font-family: 'Zurich Light', sans-serif;}
word-spacing and letter-spacingcan be influenced by the value of text-align. Ifan element is set to be justified, then the spaces between lettersand words may be altered to permit full justification, which may inturn alter the spacing declared by the author withword-spacing or letter-spacing.The CSS specification does not specify how the spacing should becalculated in such a case, so user agents are free to do whatevertheir programmers thought best.