- No two web browsers have the same defaults and interpretations about HTML and CSS.
- Making websites look the same across different browsers is a constant struggle.
- Using a reset stylesheet to force various browsers to give up their default styles helps us start from the same place in the design and layout of pages on all good browsers.
- Using reset stylesheets is a standards-compliant and future-proof approach.
Web designers are constantly faced with the struggle of balancing clients who want pixel-perfect cross-browser compatibility and don’t understand the limitations of the technology and their own desire to produce standards-compliant sites that ease their frustrations, lower their workload, and are a source of pride.
We simply do not have the tools in the HTML and CSS standards to force different browsers with different assumptions to present our content in precisely the same way. Browsers contain different default styles that they apply to content, contain bugs, and have different interpretations of the standards from each other. While browsers have improved substantially, and this stands to make it easier for designers to implement their sites, many users cling to old, out-of-date, bad browsers and clients insist that those browser be supported too. This often means the entire site gets held back and designers and developers can’t use the latest and best tools available in the standards.
You may ask who cares if the sites created ultimately work? Keep in mind that building in a tonne of hacks to support bad browsers is a guarantee that the next version of browsers won’t work with the site and all the work will have to be done again. That future pass has even more complexity since it involves trying to solve problems within the scope of an implementation that couldn’t envision the issues to come. It also means that now there are even more different browsers to support.
While there are quite a few different problems that have to be overcome if a website must provide pixel-perfect compatibility (or as near as possible) with a broad number of browsers and versions, one solution is always useful no matter which browsers are targeted: reset stylesheets. Reset stylesheets attempt to nullify all the default formatting assigned by browsers and reset all the HTML tags to having no styles applied.
This should give a standard start point for the CSS in many browsers, which helps eliminate the browser setting some style for you that you didn’t define, thus changing the appearance of the site. You’ve already taken a step to having a better cross-browser presentation, and it’s a painless and standards-compliant step as well.
Some Reset Stylesheets for Your Consideration
These stylesheets support HTML5. HTML5 is the next evolution of HTML, and while it’s still evolving, much of it can be used today in many browsers if the designer is careful about backward compatibility for older browsers he or she must support.
- Tips on How to Code Web Designs Better (sixrevisions.com)
- Make Your Mockup in Markup (24ways.org)
- 12 Common CSS Mistakes Web Developers Make (sixrevisions.com)