The world of website development seems to change faster than one can keep up with! HTML5 and CSS3 aren’t due to be fully supported by browsers for almost 10 years!!! Yes, 10 years!! However, certain things become buzz words in the world of web development and they are picked up by our clientele without actually having an understanding why they may or may not want to use HTML5 or CSS3. I feel it is our job as website developers with the higher level of understanding to explain it in such a way that it becomes understandable to the lay person, who then in turn can make an informed decision on whether they want to use something that may be fully untested in their project or not.
For a long period of time we used Eric Meyers CSS Reset as a good CSS baseline. For those of you that may be unfamiliar with his CSS Reset, it pretty much does what it says. It resets the browser’s styling of tags such as H1, H2, etc to nothing so you have to go and define them all yourself. You may ask why do this? The easy answer is, different browsers render things differently. FireFox and Internet Explorer can render an H1 tag completely differently from one another. The CSS Reset puts them both back to a starting point and puts it on the website developer’s shoulders to give the H1 tag styling that will render the same in both browsers. The CSS Reset is definitely a good tool and I’m sure has gotten quite a bit of usage over the years. However, just as I was mentioning above about HTML5 and CSS3, newer technology comes along that can potentially make our lives easier.
Here’s where Normalize CSS comes in to play. Normalize CSS is a bit different than CSS Reset in that it doesn’t reset everything to a baseline. Instead what it does is “normalize” browser inconsistencies so you get virtually the same styling across different browsers. It also goes a step further and fixes some rendering issues in those let’s say a not so proficient browser such as Internet Explorer. Although Internet Explorer 9 is much better than its predecessors, as a browser, it still has a long way to go to keep up with the likes of browsers such as FireFox or Chrome. Normalize CSS also has a bit better documentation than CSS Reset does for those of you that may need that.
We’ve used Normalize CSS on several of our last projects and were pleased at the end result when it came to testing browser compatibility. Although we don’t support Internet Explorer 6 (who does?) anymore, it was nice to see there was very little to go in and fix for Internet Explorer 7.
If you’ve been using CSS Reset for a while, give Normalize CSS a try and see if your end product requires less fixes for browser compatibility.