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Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide by Eric A. Meyer

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CSS2 Selectors

We’re going to discuss CSS2 selectors in some detail because they’re likely to be one of the first parts of the specification to be implemented quickly. Therefore, while you might not be able to do everything described here as soon as you read this, expect most (if not all) of this to be included in browsers released in the year 2000 or later.

Basic Selectors

First, in addition to the existing selector mechanisms like contextual selectors, we have several new selector symbols that will make it a lot easier to construct very specific, very sophisticated selections—without having to resort to sprinkling classes or IDs throughout the whole document.

Universal selector

The most powerful of the new selectors is the universal selector. This is specified using an asterisk (*), and it matches any element in the document. Thus, use this declaration to make sure all elements have a color of black:

* {color: black;}

When used as part of a contextual selector, the universal selector can create some interesting effects. For example, assume that you want to make gray any UL element that is at least a grandchild of the BODY. In other words, any UL that is a child of BODY would not be gray, but any other UL—whether it’s child to a DIV, a list item, or a table—should be gray. This is accomplished as follows:

BODY * UL {color: gray;}

Figure 10-3 shows the result of this declaration.

Making BODY’s grandchildren (and their descendants) gray

Figure 10-3. Making ...

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