Originally, my webpage two table columns. The first had the navigation sidebar, and the second had the main content of the page. I could not figure out how to get proper columns with just CSS and divs. Making the sidebar
float: leftworked except that then the content of the page started wrapping around the bottom of it. Of course, I couldn't find any CSS to get a float to take up the whole height of its container. In the end, I resorted to setting a left margin on the content wider than width of sidebar, which made the two pieces stay out of each other's way.
I'm curious as to what real web-designers say about this problem. There must be some trick I'm missing. It seems many sites, like python.org, are forced to resort to
position: absolutetricks to get nice sidebars. I also wonder if the supposed problem with table layouts, that screen readers have trouble with them, could be alleviated by adding a
role="layout"attribute to tables. It's a case of "practicality beats purity" if I ever saw one.