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I have three columns, the body and <div> elements height values are 100%, but two columns stop mid-page while the third column filled with content continues on. Shouldn't the <div>s continue until the page stops or no?
I don't think any gave the result I (and I think you) wanted - all the way down to the bottom of the longest column or a full screen, whichever comes last.
IE5.x and IE6 in quirks mode behave differently -- of course...
height is calculated according to the height of the containing element (lipskin is mistaken). If the containing element is the document itself, a standards-compliant browser will use the viewport as the "containing element"
Standards-compliant being the operative phrase.
If the containing element is, say, body, and one column is 2000px long and one is 20px (based on content), that should make the body 2000px long shouldn't it? Then if you declare col 2 to have a height of 100%, it should be as long as the body, which should be as long as the longest column.
I think one browser I tested gave more or less that result. Others sized to the viewport or just to the content in the shorter column.
If the containing element is, say, body, and one column is 2000px long and one is 20px (based on content), that should make the body 2000px long shouldn't it?
You wish. Well, that works until you specify a height for the body element -- then the browser is supposed to use the viewport as a reference. CSS can be bizarre -- elements can contain elements larger than themselves. You then use CSS to tell the browser what to do with the overflow -- let it "spill out" of its container, hide it or supply scrollbars. The default is to let it overflow, but when the containing element is the viewport itself, it has to include scrollbars as well... and this is the easy stuff.