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The biggest problems I typically run into are cascade-related short-circuits. My dream css template would be a generally acknowledged, standards-compliant, best practice layout of general-to-specific rules that would avoid such short-circuits and other hard-to-find gotchas.
Does anyone know of such a model document? If not, wanna build one here? :)
Reset CSS [developer.yahoo.com]:
The foundational YUI Reset CSS file creates a level playing field across A-grade browsers and provides a sound foundation upon which you can explicitly declare your intentions. It normalizes the default rendering of all HTML elements...
The foundational YUI Fonts CSS file offers cross-browser typographical normalization and control.
The foundational YUI Grids CSS file offers three preset page widths, seven core templates, and the ability to nest subdivided regions of one to four columns. All told, the file offers almost 200 preset layouts and an unlimited number of custom permutations that work across all A-grade browsers, all for less than 2.5kb of minimized file weight.
I highly recommend using a framework like YUI. At the very least, the Reset and Fonts CSS are useful in all situations.
What I was trying to describe (badly, I know), is something I actually had on-hand all along, and had forgotten about. I have Andy Budd's book CSS Mastery, and the source code for the book includes a prototype.css file that's exactly what I was trying to describe. It has a section at the top for general rules, then sections for Typography, Headings, Links, and so forth. Combined with the YUI stuff, it's just what I was looking for!
Best guess, I subconsciously knew I had that file from when I first read the book, but had buried it until posting here and reading the responses reminded me where to look for it.