HTML and CSS Reference
But users may change their browser's display characteristics and over-
ride your carefully laid plans at will, quite a few of the older browsers
out there don't support these new layout features, and some browsers
are text-only with no nice fonts at all. What to do? Concentrate on con-
tent. Cool pages are a flash in the pan. Deep content will bring people
back for more and more.
Nonetheless, style does matter for readability, and it is good to include
it where you can, as long as it doesn't interfere with content presenta-
tion. You can attach common style attributes to your text with physical
style tags, like the italic <i> tag in our simple example. More important
and truer to the language's original purpose, HTML and XHTML have
content-based style tags that attach meaning to various text passages.
And you can alter text display characteristics, such as font style, size,
color, and so on, with CSS.
Today's graphical browsers recognize the physical and content-related
text style tags and change the appearance of their related text passages
to visually convey meaning or structure. You can't predict exactly what
that change will look like.
The HTML 4 standard (and even more so, the XHTML 1.0 standard)
stresses that future browsers will not be so visually bound. Text con-
tents may be heard or even felt, for example, not read by viewers. Con-
text clues surely are better in those cases than physical styles.
22.214.171.124. Content-based text styles
Content-based style tags indicate to the browser that a portion of your
HTML/XHTML text has a specific usage or meaning. The <cite> tag in
our simple example, for instance, means the enclosed text is some sort
of citationthe document's author, in this case. Browsers commonly, al-
though not universally, display the citation text in italic, not as regular
text. [ Content-Based Style Tags, 4.4 ]
While it may or may not be obvious to the current reader that the text
is a citation, someday someone might create a computer program that
searches a vast collection of documents for embedded <cite> tags and