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The point of targeting browsers is really only a question of targeting bugs in their engines.. while it’s hopefully true that “someday all browsers will be standards-based”, the occasional bug must slip through.. sometimes these bugs ruin a design, and must be worked-around as there is no alternative method that provides correct results.
The bottom line is that the child selector hack this article advocates is still a hack; it’s perfectly valid, but so is the star-html hack. Use whichever causes you the least frustration at the time, and will prevent a maintenance nightmare. One of my peers only uses the child selector hack, and I recently noticed that by using the star-html instead his stylesheet was less than half of it’s original size.
I still remain unconvinced that one of these two hacks is better then the other in a general sense. Even if IE7 is released and fixes these bugs, we’ll still have to support IE5 and IE6 for quite some time. In this context the star-html hack would no longer “violate” Tantek’s second rule. Just understand how each hack works and use it appropriately.. try to keep your CSS size down, and use the right tool for the job.