Layout: Columns

started by Laurilahi on Aug 9, 2004 — RSS Feed

Laurilahi Laurilahi
Posts: 4

I wonder if there's any way you can split text in a webpage into columns like they are in newspapers.
This can be done with tables or css boxes but can it be done automatically, so that you don't need to do it manually?

Joe Gillespie Joe Gillespie
Posts: 528

Not until CSS3 comes along!

Mlangfeld Mlangfeld
Posts: 3

I've only seen it done well on the IHT site, http://www.iht.com , where it's done for articles, but not for the front page. I think it's done with javascript, but don't quote me on that! I like it a lot. What do you think?

Joe Gillespie Joe Gillespie
Posts: 528

An interesting technique but a page layout that totally depends on JavaScript is asking for trouble.

How it works is that there are three columns (divs) with the same text in them. The JavaScript reads the height of the columns and adjusts the clipping - so in the first column, the text below the column height is clipped (hidden), in the second column, it is clipped at the top and the bottom and so on.

Unfortunately it doesn't work in IE (Mac) because it is unable to read the column height so you have to scroll to the bottom of the first column, back up to the top again, down, up to the top again and down again.

And all to make it 'look' like a paper newspaper!

Mlangfeld Mlangfeld
Posts: 3

I agree it's a little dodgy. I usually use Safari, so didn't notice how bad it is on IE 5 Mac. And I guess it's not very standards-oriented.

But I do like to read it on the web, as opposed to many sites with very wide or long columns. Hopefully CSS will eventually include text columns so that this type of design could be more easily accomplished.

Thriva Thriva
Posts: 12

I like it and look forward to CSS3 It would also make horizontally scrolling sites more viable.  I know horizontal scrolling is a bit of a no-no because if your'e not careful it means having to scroll in both directions (clearly not desirable) but this approach would avoid the problem and some sites would suit it.

Joe Gillespie Joe Gillespie
Posts: 528

I once heard of an XML solution on a long-dead forum. The content was able to flow between columns.

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