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Fixing column drop

From: CSS Web Site Design

Video: Fixing column drop

So at the end of the last movie we had the situation, seen here were, we have two columns, one on the left one on the right and variable amount of space between the two. I mean, it doesn't change as long as the browser window doesn't change the width and very few people ever to change their browser window. It's, while they're browsing around the Internet, but what this means is that someone has their browser window maximize to 1024x768 is going to see this much of a gap, where someone who has 800x600 is only going to see this much of a gap and you know, maybe that's Ok with you and maybe it's not.

Fixing column drop

So at the end of the last movie we had the situation, seen here were, we have two columns, one on the left one on the right and variable amount of space between the two. I mean, it doesn't change as long as the browser window doesn't change the width and very few people ever to change their browser window. It's, while they're browsing around the Internet, but what this means is that someone has their browser window maximize to 1024x768 is going to see this much of a gap, where someone who has 800x600 is only going to see this much of a gap and you know, maybe that's Ok with you and maybe it's not.

In my case I'm going to assume that it's not and that we wish to fix this. So, what we're going to do, Well the first thing we are going to do is take the width off of the content completely. Just no width. Actually, if we save and reload what we discover is that because there's a bunch of content here the float, basically, it expands until it can't be any larger and then it stops. That doesn't leave enough room for a sidebar, but we're going to address that in just a moment. The next thing is that we're going to add some padding to the content div.

We're not going to have any top padding, we're going to have a whole mass of right padding, we'll make this 20em, which is wider than the 17em, the width of the sidebar. The key here is that you want the padding on the side or you want the sidebar to go wider than the actual sidebar. A little bit of bottom padding, a little bit of right padding to push the content over then if we go back to the web browser and hit Reload, OK, same basic situation. The content is being actually pushed in from the left by the left padding, but on the right we have this big blank space, created by that 20em of right padding. And it's into that big blank space that we want our sidebar to go, because of like I said, the key is that you make that padding wider than the actual sidebar, or whatever it is that you want to float over there. These are both floats, so we need a way to get that second float, the sidebar up into the space that we just created for and you might think that you could do it by pulling the float upward by grabbing the top and pulling it upward but that actually doesn't work, because of the way CSS is written.

So what we're going to do instead, is we're going to cheat just a tiny little bit and when I say cheat, what I mean is exploit the way that the CSS float algorithms actually work. So the key here is to have a situation where the mathematical width of the sidebar in this case, the second float is zero or less. So in this case, we have a sidebar with a width of 17em and a, in this case left margin of minus 18em.

So that actually, mathematically, gives the layout box, a layout width of negative 1em, the important thing being that it's zero or less and If we do that, when we hit Reload, ding, tadaa!, there's the sidebar, right where we want it. Why that works is that the CSS float layout algorithms say that if you have floated elements that have the potential to sit next to each other, you can have as many of them next to each other as will fit from side to side.

And if there isn't room for a float, then that's when it drops down. Well, here, because the, the width of the sidebar is zero or less, there's always room for it, there's no such thing as a situation where there can't be room for it really. So, there's a place for it to go and so it's drawn there. The way that it gets drawn is governed by other portions of the foot algorithm, so you end up with these two columns basically next to each other, in fact, they are overlapping, I mean you can see that. The background color on the content div makes that very clear, that you're actually overlapping a portion of the content div with the sidebar div. This is why you have to be careful.

If you don't think about this far enough in advance, if we hit Reload here, after having dropped that right padding from 20em to 3em, yes the content is going to get completely overlapped because as far as that content is concerned there really isn't a float next to it on the right side for it to flow around because of the trick that we did, making them lay out with effectively negative. So if you're going to do this, make sure that you leave enough space and of course have 20em of right padding here, the sidebars with the 17em, so that will leave a difference of 3em, which is the distance between the two and now, we can reflow this, we can change the width and the sidebar stays right next to the content and there's no problem there, and it reflows very nicely. Just as you might expect, a layout to do and if we take off our little diagnostic background then there we go.

We have one column next to another, just using a little floating trick. Negative margins actually do get their own video in Chapter seven, so that's somewhere else to check out if you want to dig a little more deeply into the whole concept of using negative margins in certain ways, but it's really things like negative margins that allow for some creative design effects and some creative layout effects. If you're thinking at the moment however of using negative padding, please don't because there is no such thing. Padding can never be less than zero. Margins on the other hand can be less than zero as we saw in this video.

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This video is part of

Image for CSS Web Site Design
CSS Web Site Design

73 video lessons · 61156 viewers

Eric Meyer
Author

 
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  1. 14m 34s
    1. Welcome
      28s
    2. What is CSS?
      5m 34s
    3. Design tour
      2m 38s
    4. Using the exercise files
      1m 20s
    5. Installing the Web Developer toolbar
      4m 34s
  2. 25m 56s
    1. XHTML essentials
      3m 55s
    2. CSS essentials
      5m 17s
    3. Embedded style sheets
      2m 20s
    4. Linking a style sheet
      2m 19s
    5. Linking to multiple style sheets
      2m 20s
    6. Using linked and embedded style sheets together
      4m 21s
    7. Using imported style sheets
      5m 24s
  3. 57m 48s
    1. ID selector essentials
      6m 38s
    2. Class selector essentials
      4m 9s
    3. Best practices for classes
      4m 52s
    4. Grouped selection
      4m 2s
    5. Descendant selectors
      6m 44s
    6. The sources of style
      6m 38s
    7. Specificity
      8m 21s
    8. Making things important
      4m 32s
    9. Inheritance essentials
      5m 12s
    10. Making things really unstyled
      4m 2s
    11. User style sheets
      2m 38s
  4. 39m 3s
    1. Box model essentials
      7m 35s
    2. Simple floating
      5m 3s
    3. Using float for layout
      5m 5s
    4. Fixing column drop
      5m 35s
    5. Clearing essentials
      4m 20s
    6. Float containment
      6m 35s
    7. Creating a navbar from a list
      4m 50s
  5. 38m 3s
    1. Coloring text
      4m 13s
    2. Defining color in CSS
      8m 12s
    3. Coloring backgrounds
      6m 35s
    4. Applying background images
      4m 19s
    5. Manipulating the direction of background images
      2m 52s
    6. Positioning backgrounds
      7m 23s
    7. Background shorthand
      4m 29s
  6. 58m 28s
    1. Altering line height
      7m 32s
    2. Font style and weight
      5m 45s
    3. Sizing fonts
      9m 59s
    4. Using font families
      10m 38s
    5. Font shorthand
      6m 5s
    6. Justifying text
      4m 56s
    7. Vertically aligning text
      4m 22s
    8. Transforming text
      3m 49s
    9. Text decoration
      5m 22s
  7. 44m 40s
    1. Margin essentials
      14m 21s
    2. Adding borders
      6m 52s
    3. Padding
      9m 17s
    4. Using negative margins
      7m 19s
    5. Margin collapsing
      6m 51s
  8. 20m 38s
    1. Styling tables and captions
      5m 23s
    2. Styling table cells
      6m 30s
    3. Styling a column with classes
      4m 51s
    4. Styling links inside table cells
      3m 54s
  9. 30m 40s
    1. Styling for specific mediums
      4m 3s
    2. Creating a print style sheet
      6m 35s
    3. Hiding layout for print
      4m 11s
    4. Styling for print
      6m 34s
    5. Complex styling for print
      4m 37s
    6. Creating a footer
      4m 40s
  10. 37m 23s
    1. Getting started
      1m 11s
    2. Setting global styles
      4m 4s
    3. Defining masthead and navbar colors
      3m 27s
    4. Layout of the navlink bar
      3m 38s
    5. Using columns
      4m 49s
    6. Setting content styles
      1m 53s
    7. Creating the sidebar boxes
      5m 42s
    8. Creating the sidebar form
      3m 23s
    9. Completing the sidebar
      3m 29s
    10. Making a table
      3m 12s
    11. Creating a footer
      2m 35s
  11. 1m 28s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 28s

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