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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 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.

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

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H3 {border: thin thick solid purple;}  /* two width values--WRONG */

In such a case, the entire statement will be invalid and should be ignored altogether.

Finally, you need to take the usual precautions with shorthand properties: if you omit a value, the default will be filled in automatically. This can have unintended effects. Consider the following:

H4 {border-style: dashed solid double;}

8.3.2. Applied Behavior

There are a number of interestingconsequences of the above rules, both because of what they say andwhat they don't say. The first thing to discuss is what happenswhen the floated element is taller than itsparent element.

This happens quite often, as a matter of fact, and was discussed inthe previous chapter. Take the example of a short document, composedof no more than a few paragraphs and H3 elements,