tomdot – web design and inspiration

In search of a flexible cross-browser reset stylesheet (part 2)

At the end of my previous post about cross-browser reset stylesheets I had narrowed things down to Tripoli or Blueprint. After a little more testing and research it seems as if Blueprint is the way to go (for me at least).

As is the way of things with the web, I seem to have eventually ended up almost back were I started. Blueprint is a popular framework, so maybe I should have considered it more from the start, but it's image is more that of a layout framework, whereas the aims of Tripoli seemed more modest.

However it turns out that, contrary to expectations and appearances, Tripoli is much more complex and heavyweight, mostly due to it's attempts to be totally compatible with IE5. It's also not as easy to break down into components. Whereas I really like the elegant compartmentalised design of Blueprint.

Why it won

While Blueprint is mostly marketed as a grid based layout, it's structure is basically broken down into:

  • Reset
  • Typography
  • Grid

The grid is interesting. There are some issues with semantics, but it's a nice tool. However what I'm mostly interested in is the Reset and the Typography stylesheets. By separating them out they allow you to apply the level of styling that you need. The basic reset does a good job of leveling out all the browsers, and the typography adds an additional layer of default styling that follows good typographic principles.

While they don't claim perfect support in anything below IE6, the testing I've done seems to show that it works in a pretty standard way across almost all browsers from ie5,5 onwards.

Using the reset allows me to be pretty confident that I'm working from a good foundation, and being able to (optionally) layer the Typography on top is a nice advantage. The possibility of then including the Grid is an additional bonus. It simplifies a lot of the headaches that CSS designers are used to, but without adding the additional headaches of adding too much complex code.

Note: I did also find a more minimal version of Blueprint called Boilerplate, which seemed promising. However it's not as actively maintained as Blueprint, and I think the advantages of an active community probably outweigh any small semantic or size advantages. Worth a look though.

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