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17 August 2012, 12:13

Consistent browser rendering with Normalize.css

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Launched a year ago, the Normalize.css project has now reached version 1.0, and offers an alternative way to making CSS-based web page design more portable between browsers. Although the current browser versions' CSS interpretation has become quite uniform and standards compliant, pitfalls for web designers still exist when defining custom CSS styles.

Browsers use different default style sheets whose page-specific CSS file and style settings will be inherited unless explicitly overwritten. To avoid this problem, designers have used "reset" style sheets for some time; these CSS files are designed to provide a uniform basis by offering basic styles for all HTML elements.

The Normalize.css project, created by developers Nicolas Galagher and Jonathan Neal, provides an HTML5-ready alternative to these CSS resets and is already used by a number of sites including those from NASA, Rdio, Digg and GOV.UK. Unlike many other popular CSS resets, this style sheet preserves certain defaults that are considered useful. It also provides normalised styles for various HTML elements, and fixes several common bugs and browser inconsistencies.

To help web developers and designers that are new to the field, detailed comments are included that explain what each section of the code does and how users can change the default settings in the normalize.css file. Version 1.0 of Normalize.css supports Google's Chrome web browser, Firefox 3 or later, Safari 4 or later, Opera 10 or later and all versions of Internet Explorer from version 6. Version 1.0 of Normalize.css is available on GitHub free of charge under the MIT licence.

(Harald M. Genauck / crve)

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