Just launched a rebuild of John Battelle’s Searchblog. Got some first-hand experience with the holy grail of CSS — 3-column layout with fluid center column (he wanted a right column to drop ads into). Quickly realized that this is clearly one of those areas where a table-based layout would have been infinitely easier, but just can’t bring myself to step back that far in time (or to accept defeat).
With Glish’s sample code, the initial implementation wasn’t difficult – what sucked was butting heads with IE/Win’s horribly broken box model. With the layout working in virtually every modern CSS-compliant browser, checked IE/Win only to find the left and right columns lapping up into the banner space. Trouble is, you can’t float three columns — you have to specify screen placement as absolutes. But do that, and you find out just how far off IE/Win’s reckoning of vertical height is from non-broken CSS implementations. At that point, it becomes a game of seesaw — fix one while breaking the other, or vice versa. Gad, it’s frustrating.
In the end, everything is working fine in IE/Win (IE/Mac was fine all along, of course, since IE/Mac has always had a better CSS implementation than IE/Win) with one small side-effect remaining for the working browsers. Feh. I’ll lick that too… eventually.