Tutorial 19: CSS Positioning, Part II - HTML with Style
The technique I'm about to describe is, in many ways, a bit of a hack. It is not an outright hack, by which I mean it does not abuse strange functionality to achieve a desired effect that is otherwise impossible, it simply is a less-than-perfect way of doing things.
You see, in an ideal world, what you would use to create multiple columns in page layout is CSS floating boxes. We haven't discussed floating boxes yet, but they're next in the agenda. The problem with floating boxes is that there are so many bugs in their implementations by both Netscape and Microsoft in current browsers that it's impossible to use them. You can either comply to the spec, make it work with Navigator, or make it work with Internet Explorer, but not all three. And what we try to do here in HTML with Style is make things work with browsers and comply to the spec.
There is a browser that can handle such layouts correctly, and that's Mozilla. Since Mozilla is still in the Alpha stage, however, and most people will be using the buggy browsers to view your pages, giving you the technique would be a merely philosophical excercise. When we examine floating boxes (which are useful, even today, for other things) we'll see how they could be used, in Mozilla, to achieve better layouts.