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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 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 with a background color, but the background won't extend intothe padding unless you get very sneaky. You need to add a border, aswas discussed earlier in "Margins: Known Issues."Therefore, if you have a background color, some padding, and a borderset for an element, you'll see the background fill the contentarea and the padding as requested, but a transparent space willincorrectly appear between the two, as shown in Figure 7-62.

Figure 7-62

Figure 7-62. Padding problems in Navigator 4

This may be an interesting effect, but it isn't permissible 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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Closely related to the keywords are percentage values, although they behave in a rather interesting way. Let's say that you want to center a background image within its element by using percentage values. That's easy enough:

BODY {background-image: url(bigyinyang.gif);
background-repeat: no-repeat;
background-position: 50% 50%;}

This causes the background image to be placed such that its center is aligned with the center of its parent element, as demonstrated in Negative margins

As was discussed in the previous chapter,negative margins can cause floated elements to move outside of theirparent elements. This seems to be in direct contradiction to therules explained earlier, but it isn't. In the same way thatelements can appear to be wider than their parents through negativemargins, floated elements can appear to protrude out of theirparents.