Cascading Style Sheets/Pattern

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Introducing the (X)HTML Document TreeEdit

The document hierarchy of an (X)HTML document can be likened to a family tree. This can be seen if we take a look at a basic example:

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01//EN"
 "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/strict.dtd">
<html lang="en">
  <body>
    <div id="title">
      <img />
      <p>   </p>
    </div>
  </body>
</html>

If we present the above example in a different way, the relationships and hierarchy of the elements becomes immediately apparent.

       html
        |
       body
        |
       div
        /\
       /  \
    img    p


In describing the tree/hierarchy in this example we can say that the body element is a child of the html element, just as div is a child of body and img and p are both children of div and siblings to each other. html is the ancestor of div as div is indirectly descended from html.

Targeting Elements within the HierarchyEdit

Suppose we were to create a rule such as p {color:blue;}. This would cause each paragraph throughout the document to be in blue. However, if we want to be a bit more "picky" about which elements are affected we can define the context under which this rule gets applied. If only paragraphs within div elements should be in blue the rule needs to be div p {color:blue;}. Now, say that only paragraphs in one div element, defined by a certain ID are to be blue. We could then refine our target region by having div#title p {color:blue;}.

Last modified on 10 September 2008, at 10:07