Problem with Columns that I can't figure out

Do you have a question? Post it now! No Registration Necessary.  Now with pictures!

Threaded View
I inherited this from a developer who can't be contacted.

I would appreciate if any savants can find the problem here:

start with: /

this page displays its columns just fine.

Now, Click on any of the links in the left column.  All the lower
level pages do not display their columns properly.   I have tried
comparing in a side-by-side editor, to no avail.

Does anyone see why the columns are not lining up properly?

bests and thanks,


Re: Problem with Columns that I can't figure out

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Then either learn a whole bunch of stuff, or contact another
developer. If you're looking for tutorials, I usually pimp "Head First
HTML & CSS" as the only trustworthy & current HTML tutorial I'm aware

Quoted text here. Click to load it

This isn't a competent piece of work, according to local ideas of
"good practice" for the last few years. If it's an old page, that
might be excusable.

Specific issues:

* No doctype. This is a necessary condition for hoping to achieve
consistent results.

* CSS uses position:absolute and pixel sizes
  (and the font setting is well bogus, as usual)

* Nasty old 3.2 markup. Used simultaneously with CSS, this is a pain
to disentangle.

* Layout <table>s.

* <link> in the body. This is invalid and it may cause somee browsers
to ignore the CSS being linked to.

* A general low-level of invalid markup. This may or may not be
causing an actual problem, but it's impractical to tell. Sometimes it
does, sometimes it doesn't. The efficient fix is to use valid markup,
because then you can _know_ it's not going to cause a problem.

* Bogus markup, like repeated <br><br><br><br><br>

Quoted text here. Click to load it

I don't know what "properly" means here, so I find it hard to know
what you're expecting it to look like.

I presume it's the huge top margin at the top of the centre column
that offends. It's caused by this line of CSS, and the "258px"

   #contentwin {width: 338px; margin: 258px 0 0 165px;}

What I don't understand (and haven't time to look) is why this doesn't
show up on the homepage too.

I'm sorry, but I'm too busy today to pick this page apart piece-by-
piece. It's not a good page to start with, so searching for that
particular needle requires rather more haystack than I can afford to
do as a freebie. Maybe someone else will have the time.

Otherwise search the newsgroup for the regular guidance on best
practices and checking validity. First get it valid, then simplify the
page and learn to understand its overall structure and how that's

I expect that to fix this page you will need a fairly high level of
competence, so you might not have the time to learn everything
yourself. In that case, if it's really that urgent, you might well
need to pay someone. Work of this grade isn't impressive though - try
to find someone better (post their portfolio links around here for
comment first!)

Re: Problem with Columns that I can't figure out

On Sun, 18 Nov 2007 21:44:32 -0800 (PST), Yulia

Quoted text here. Click to load it

In which browser? The pages I have checked look OK in Opera.

Stephen Poley /

Re: Problem with Columns that I can't figure out

 > /

You asked about columns. But you have dropdown menu problems as well.
The current dropdown menus work as expected in IE6 and IE7 but
on Firefox, which probably means *not* on Safari, Opera, Konqueror

Sometimes the opposite is true:  I've seen lots of dropdown menu
that work on compliant browsers, that do not work on IE. It's tricky
to get them to work both ways.  As others have pointed out, the
point is valid code. Add a DOCTYPE (perhaps 4.01 Transitional) and
work with the code until it validates: /

Dropdown menus?  Take a look at
They have a two-column layout on the main page.
But all pages pointed to  by links inside dropdown menus
have a three column layout, where the left-side faux column
duplicates the navigation found in the dropdown menu.
So you can think of dropdown menus as "navigation groups."
One side effect is, well, it doesn't matter so much if the menus
don't work, because you can always navigate to a page that
duplicates that link-group in a column,  anyway.

Dropdown menus that use javascript are invisible to search engines.
Pure CSS dropdown menus (that are visible to search engines)
that work in all browsers--are possible but tricky.
Take a look at

Think about redesigning and starting from scratch, using
a navigation system that does not use the dropdown menus.

Re: Problem with Columns that I can't figure out

On 2007-11-19, Yulia wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

   No, it doesn't. See ths screenshot of how it displays in my
   browser: <

   Even with a 1280px window, the left column overflows it borders and
   text in the right column is clipped. The drop-down menus don't
   appear if I have JavaScript disables, and they don't drop beneath
   the button hovered over, making it difficult to use them.

   The text in the buttons is too small for me to read.

   If I were you, I'd rebuild it from scratch. It doesn't need
   JavaScript, and it can be made much smaller and therefore faster to
   load. There's no reason for it not to work in any browser no matter
   what the size of window (if any) or size of font.

   Chris F.A. Johnson                      <
   Shell Scripting Recipes: A Problem-Solution Approach (2005, Apress)

Site Timeline