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Setting up a chat list in HTML

Hello,

I'm trying to set up a display using HTML and CSS that will render a chat discussion in the standard chat format. By this I mean that it is essentially a list of messages. Each message has two parts: a username and a message. The username will always stay in the top left of each message area and the message will always be floated left just to the right of the username. So it will look like this:

Jack: Did you see the race today?

However, it's important also that the message wraps down in such a way that keeps the username in the exact same spot but extends the message area down to accommodate the two-line message.

Jack: Did you see the Le Mans race
          today? I heard that it was really
          great.
Jim: No I didn't.

I've preliminarily come up with an idea of how to do this, but I'm not sure how to format it properly or if it's the most logical or render-friendly. Essentially, I'm currently using an unordered list with list items for each username-message pair and using the float property to line them up. This is not really working very well. I'm a relative novice at CSS, so any help would be greatly appreciated. The relevant code is attached.
<div class="maincontent">
	<div id="blobarea">
		<ul class="chatlist">
			<li class="chatlistitem">
				<div class="username">Jim:</div>
				<div class="message">Stuff happens all the time.</div>
			</li>
			<li class="chatlistitem">
				<div class="username">Jack:</div>
				<div class="message">Oh really.</div>
			</li>
		</ul>
	</div>
</div>
 
 
<style type="text/css">
.chatlist {
list-style-type: none;
max-width: 100px;
}
 
.username {
float: left;
font-size: 14px;
font-weight: bold;
}
 
.message {
float: left;
font-size: 14px;
}
</style>

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hockeyragazzo
Asked:
hockeyragazzo
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1 Solution
 
lharrispvCommented:
make each one a different div and float them both left.  Make the name div with a specified height and the other div with height:auto;  You might also want to put them in a container box but I am not sure if this is needed or not.

Now with that said.  Why not just use one of the already millions of premade chat packages on the market?  Most are free.
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kevin_uCommented:
This style might work better in more browsers.
<style type="text/css">
.chatlist {
list-style-type: none;
max-width: 100px;
}
 
.username {
display: inline;
font-size: 14px;
font-weight: bold;
width: 50px;
text-align: right;
}
 
.message {
display: inline;
font-size: 14px;
}
</style>

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hockeyragazzoAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the help...could you point me in the direction of some of these chat packages?
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lharrispvCommented:
Sure no problem :-)

On google enter  "free chat programs for websites"
 
I got over 31 million hits when I did it :-)

Results 1 - 10 of about 31,200,000 for free chat programs for websites

Also check with your website hosting provider.  Many companies like (lunarPages etc) have stuff they give you for fee and they support it as well.
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hockeyragazzoAuthor Commented:
Thanks...nothing I saw on Google really works for what I'm trying to accomplish. I used your suggestions and I'm quite close to what I was trying to do, but it's not quite there. Essentially, I don't want the message text to wrap underneath the username text...I want each line to begin at the same point. This is what it currently looks like:
chat.PNG
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lharrispvCommented:
let me see the css and html you created?  I will play here.
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hockeyragazzoAuthor Commented:
Here you go:
<div class="maincontent">
			<div id="blobarea">
				<ul class="chatlist">
					<li class="chatlistitem">
						<div class="username">Jack:</div>
						<div class="message">Stuff happens all the time. Especially when you're least expecting it to happen.</div>
					</li>
					<li class="chatlistitem">
						<div class="username">Jim:</div>
						<div class="message">Oh really.</div>
					</li>
				</ul>
			</div>
		</div>
 
 
 
.chatlist {
list-style-type: none;
max-width: 200px;
}
 
.username {
height:16px;
display: inline;
font-size: 14px;
font-weight: bold;
width: 50px;
}
 
.message {
height: auto;
display: inline;
font-size: 14px;
}

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lharrispvCommented:
here ya go:

<html>
<head>
<style>
.chatlist {
list-style-type: none;
max-width: 200px;

}

.chatlist li{
    width:200px;
 }
 
.username {
position:absolute;
height:16px;
float:left
font-size: 14px;
font-weight: bold;
width: 50px;
left:0px;
}
 
.message {
height: auto;
float:left;
font-size: 14px;
left:60px;
}
</style>

</head>
<body>



<div class="maincontent">
                  <div id="blobarea">
                        <ul class="chatlist">
                              <li class="chatlistitem">
                                    <div class="username">Jack:</div>
                                    <div class="message">Stuff happens all the time. Especially when you're least expecting it to happen.</div>
                              </li>
                              <li class="chatlistitem">
                                    <div class="username">Jim:</div>
                                    <div class="message">Oh really.</div>
                              </li>
                        </ul>
                  </div>
            </div>
       
        </body>
 </html>
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hockeyragazzoAuthor Commented:
Thanks again. This looks like it's almost achieving the right result, but it's still got a bit of a problem. On browsers that aren't IE, the usernames are stacking on top of each other.
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lharrispvCommented:
take the float:left; out of the .message class
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hockeyragazzoAuthor Commented:
CSS is so bizarre. I have no idea why that should work, but it did. Thanks a lot...you've been a great help.
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lharrispvCommented:
np glad I could help.  and yes.  That is why I wanted to play here :-)
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