Jens Oliver Meiert

Get 15% off on select books on Gumroad—use discount code “testdrive”.

The Anti-Reset (to Reset to User Agent Styles)

Post from August 17, 2020 (↻ December 14, 2021), filed under .

I advise against resets. You don’t need them. (We don’t need them.) I think they’re dying. (The reset detection extension barely registers anymore, though that also has other reasons.)

I advise against resets even though, vanity note, I’ve been one of the ones to come up with and promote them. That was in 2004, but I’ve never gone beyond that “universal reset.”

What’s the opposite of that universal reset? Of all resets? The anti-reset. You can write it yourself. It looks something like this, with force but not without flaws (I was impatient and am not sure I included just the needed pseudo-classes, and then there’s incomplete support at least for revert):

:visited {
  all: revert !important;

Here’s the gist. Here’s the bookmarklet. Here’s a test page. Firefox, yes, may offer best support. Chrome does not.

I advise against anti-resets 😊 That makes no sense now. But the reset of a reset is not no reset. It’s two resets. But that’s not the same as 0 × 0, it’s more like 1 + 1, when really you want 0, because you already have 1 (style sheet), and no more, old school, and so you don’t want 1 + 1 + 1 but 1 + 0, or 1 + 0 + 0, and that is just getting a bit very complicated now.

I advise against resets. I advise against anti-resets. You don’t need them. (Unless you do. Do whatever you deem appropriate.) See you around.

About Me

Jens Oliver Meiert, on September 30, 2021.

I’m Jens, and I’m an engineering lead—currently manager for Developer Experience at LivePerson—and author. I’ve worked as a technical lead for Google, I’m close to W3C and WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly. I love trying things, sometimes including philosophy, art, and adventure. Here on I share some of my views and experiences.

If you have a question or suggestion about what I write, please leave a comment (if available) or a message. Thank you!

Read More

Maybe this is interesting to you, too:

Looking for a way to comment? Comments have been disabled, unfortunately.

Cover: The Web Development Glossary.

Get a good look at web development? Try The Web Development Glossary (2020). With explanations and definitions for literally thousands of terms from Web Development and related fields, building on Wikipedia as well as the MDN Web Docs. Available at Apple Books, Kobo, Google Play Books, and Leanpub.

Stay up-to-date? Learn about new posts by feed or on Twitter.

Found a mistake? Email me,

You are here: HomeArchive2020 → The Anti-Reset (to Reset to User Agent Styles)

Last update: December 14, 2021

Professional frontend developers produce valid HTML and CSS.