Quit Overriding the Default Browser Stylesheets

By Patrick Settle

Since the dawn of CSS, there has been the reset.

Religiously web designers start off every site Stylesheet with this holy relic.

Never thinking for a moment as to why…why do we need to reset the default browser stylesheet? Is there some technological requirement? Are these styles hardcoded into the fabric of the HTML protocol? Are they some sort of weird unyielding law of physics?

The answer of course is no to all of these questions. The default browser stylesheets, which are different between browsers and even versions of the same browser, are just stylesheets created by the developers of the browser itself.

Why then do we constantly need to override them?

Wouldn’t it be better to simply work with the developers of web browsers to change these style sheets to something a bit more sane? I know this would open a heated debate over what is “best” for the stylesheet, but I’d wager one could do some research and find the most common reset, and apply that to the default stylesheet. The amount of data saved by not having to transmit the CSS Reset could be significant.

Or if working towards improving the default browser stylesheet, then work with the browsers and HTML standard to include a meta tag that outright disables the browsers default stylesheet? This way would likely be less of a headache, there wouldn’t be less debate over style and just over a meta tag’s syntax.

Just imagine… your site’s CSS Reset being as simple as:
<meta browsercss="false">

And yes, I know it’s taken years to nail down some of the changes to HTML standards in the past, but where there’s a will there’s a way.