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Archive: 23 April 2007

Inherit Expression for IE?

The reset styles are currently held up on a point of non-support in IE/Win.  However, there’s a decent chance we can work around it.  I’m hoping you (or someone you know) can help.

One of the things I indicated was problematic, but that I would keep, was the use of inherit for a few properties.  This value isn’t supported by IE/Win, and while I’m okay with including it anyway, it could cause confusion for others trying to use my reset styles.

Priit Pirita suggested the use of IE expressions to simulate inheritance.  For example:

 font-style: expression(
   this.parentNode.currentStyle ? 
   this.parentNode.currentStyle.fontStyle : 
   ‘normal’);

That would assign the weight of the parent element for any element whose parent had a currentStyle, and fall back to normal in any case where that wasn’t true.

Cool enough, assuming you’re okay with using expressions, but there are a couple of wrinkles I haven’t quite worked out.  The first is this:

 font-family: expression(
   this.parentNode.currentStyle ? 
   this.parentNode.currentStyle.fontFamily :
   ‘[...???...]’);

What should be filled in for the [...???...]?  The font family that IE/Win uses by default when first installed?  A null value?  Something else?  I dunno.  Hopefully someone here does.

The second problem is that some people have reported errors generated by expressions; see this comment by thacker for an example.  Can anyone explain why those errors happen and how to avoid them?

The end goal here is not only to come up with inherit equivalents for font-weight, font-style, and font-family, but also to come up with a generic method of simulating inherit for any property.  Doing so would be an enormous boon to developers, so here’s hoping we can pull together and solve this puzzle.  Thanks!

April 2007
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