The :visited pseudo-class specificity gotcha

In a previous post, I bloggued about the way to emulate OOCSS behavior with multiple classes in IE6.

Today, I'll do a follow up and write about a possible gotcha involving the :visited pseudo class.

Following the previous example let's imagine you have a styling for your defauls links (a { color:blue; }), one for the default buttons (.button { ... } ) and one for a custom button that extend the .button (.customButton { ... })

Now, imagine that you'll want to style all :visited links the same way non- visited links are styled. You might write something like :

a, a:visited { color:blue; }

Unfortunatly, this will have some nasty side effects on your .button and .customButton rules becauseĀ a:visited will have precedence over .button and .customButton

You can find more information about CSS specificity in this Star Wars post.

Your first solution could be to add even more specificity to your own rules, to override the a:visited one, like so :

.button, .button:visited { ... }
.customButton, .customButton:visited { ... }

This will work, of course, but you're only adding complexity to your specificities, and this get more and more tedious the more you add other customised buttons.

In fact, there is a much better way, one that you could throw in your reset.css if it isn't there already :

a:visited { color:inherit; }

That way, all your visited links will inherit their color from their non- visited version. This mean that visited .button will use the .button color, visited .customButton will use .customButton color and simple visited links will use the a color.

Of course, if you defined a background-color in your a, you should define a background-color:inherit in your a:visited too.


Tags : #css #visited

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