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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.

The first is that Navigator4.x generally adds margin rules to its built-inmargins, instead of replacing the built-in values. For example,let's say you want to eliminate the space betweenH1 elements and paragraphs. Here's thesimplest case for doing so:

H1 {margin-bottom: 0;}P {margin-top: 0;}

This is, after all, one correct way to eliminate the space between

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keywords were defined to map to a relatively common feature of font design in which a font is given nine levels of weight. OpenType, for example, employs a numeric scale with nine values. If a font has these levels built in, then the numbers are mapped directly to the predefined levels, with 100 as the lightest variant of the font, and 900 as the heaviest.

In fact, there is no intrinsic weight in these numbers. The CSS specification says only that each number corresponds to a weight at least as heavy as the number that precedes it. Thus,

You'll remember that I said the second-simplest rule ofhorizontal formatting was this: the total of the seven horizontalproperties always equals the width of the parentelement. At first glance, this can be interpreted to mean that anelement can never be wider than its parent's contentarea -- and as long as all properties are zero or greater,that's quite true. However, consider the following, depicted inFigure 8-19:

DIV {width: 400px; border: 3px solid black}
positioned and given a top ofstatic-position, then the top of the positionedelement will be 3 ems from the top of the containing block. Later inthe chapter, we'll see how this can be useful.

The other value, auto, allows for some even moreinteresting effects. It acts much the same as settingauto on margins, but in positioning, this canpermit the creation of elements that are only as wide or tall as theyneed to be in order to display their content, without having to