The Web Your Way
Most people thing that how a web page looks and functions is determined by the person who created the web page and that the person visiting the web page just has to accept it the way that it is. They think you can't do anything about it when the page is designed to be too wide to fit across your screen or the text is too small for you to easily read or there are stupid animated effects on the page.
Well that's the way that the web worked back in the early days in the 20th Century but not any more. With the 21st Century web the person visiting web pages can have as much say if not more as to how the page looks as the person who write it does.
Basically there are five parts to a web page that you display in your own web browser. Only three of these five parts come from the web site that you are visiting. The other two parts you can define for yourself. Let's look at what each of these five parts is and what it does/can do.
- HTML - this part of the web page is written by the author of the page and contains the actual content of the page, the information that you are visiting the page for.
- Author Stylesheet - also comes from the web site and is how the author of the page suggests that the page look when it is viewed.
- User Stylesheet - All modern (and even some not so modern) web browsers allow you to define your own stylesheet and attach it into your web browser. This gives you far more control over the way web pages look than the few menu controls available in early browsers (and still available in current browsers). While the web standards say that author stylesheets take precedence over user stylesheets every single web browser gives precedence to user stylesheets over author stylesheets so that if you want all web sites to be 750px wide and use 30px font size to make the text nice and big and easy for you to read you simply set your user stylesheet that way and what the author of the page wants is no longer relevant. You see their content the way you want it to look.
On the web the author provides the content of the page and suggests how they think it should be displayed. How you actually view it is entirely up to you.
This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.