I was looking at the column spec with an eye to implementing them in 
Mozilla. The multicol spec looks pretty good. 
A couple of things occur to me:

One layout that seems like it could be useful for the Web is to flow the 
document into a sequence of vertical columns, each one the same height 
as the window. When there's more content than fits onto the page, 
columns would overflow to the right of the window and if 'overflow:auto' 
is in effect, the user would scroll horizontally to see the content. But 
there's no way to get this layout currently.

Another problem is that column height balancing looks very hard to 
implement in a browser where speed of page load is paramount and DHTML 
performance is also important.

To address both of these problems I propose adding a new property: 
'column-balance' with values 'none' and 'balance'. For constrained 
height elements, 'column-balance:none' simply means that the column 
height is fixed to the element height (minus padding etc) and text fills 
the first column before moving to the next; overflowing child content 
creates columns overflowing to the right of the element (or left in RTL 
environments). For unconstrained height elements, 'column-balance:none' 
means the same as 'balance', which is what is currently specced.

I further propose that 'none' be the default setting of the property, 
although that's less important.


Robert O'Callahan <>
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word
was God. ... The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We
have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the
Father, full of grace and truth." 1 John 1:1,14

Received on Tuesday, 25 May 2004 18:42:58 UTC