People seem to have more trouble with the page layout than any other aspect of The Beer House Starter Kit. This is my third and last posting on this topic.
There are at least two sites based on TBH that have abandonned the dynamic page filling design. Those are the Belgian SkiStyle
site and the British EcoElectricals
site. Both of these sites have an approximately 800 pixel fixed panel for content. Therefore when the user has a screen width of greater than 800 pixels the fixed panel is centered on the background and the content free sides expand. A fixed panel gives the site designer a lot of control over the appearance of the graphic elements.
The SkiStyle site for example is a high style site with a carefully crafted look. However it avoids several goals of TBH site. First of all it does not allow for user choice of styles. My site also disabled this option. I just don't think that multiple user selectable styles is worth the added complexity. Secondly the SkiStyle site with its fixed aspect requires some scrolling. The home page is rather long and narrow. The TBH site changes its aspect ratio dynamically so the screen is always filled. That means that user with a wider screen gets in effect a shorter screen because the central panel where the main content resides expands not the sides where there is no content.
There is no correct answer but some design choices are better than others. For example some primitive web sites require the user to scroll endlessly. Designs with paging are usually considered better. TBH use pages for most of its content but presents its articles in a manner that requires scrolling rather than paging. This is a design choice. You can write a design that uses paging for articles if you think its worth the coding effort. Most good designs are a compromise.
I decided I wanted the center section to expand and contract rather than the sides. That caused some consequences in the header section. First of all the repeating background expands only on the right not the right and the left as it does in a fixed panel design. This means the header will change its aspect ratio on different screen sizes. The designer has to keep this fact in mind. Secondly the header background graphic can't be too wide or centered or the logon box will cover it when the user opens the Explorer bar. Third the logon box is a fixed element on a dynamic expanding and contracting background. It doesn't have to be in the header at all. It could be in either of the two side columns which solves the problem completely. However if you take the Logon box out of the header you have lost screen real estate and having the logon box prominently displayed is appropriate for a membership site.
The page layout of TBH is one of many features that the designer may choose to adopt or reject. Certainly the SkiStyle site looks vastly better than the original but I would not buy a book that showed me how to design a site like SkiStyle because I already know how to do that more or less. TBH presents another set of techniques some of which I like and some of which I don't care for. But I bought the book for just that reason - to be introduced to some, for me, new techniques.
The EcoElectrical site doesn't take advantage of the fixed panel design choice as effectively as the SkiStyle site because the SkiStyle site has 3-dimensional edges with drop shadows. This is something you just can't do with a dynamic header that fills in the right side of the screen with a repeating graphic.
The real design problem with TBH IMO is the menu structure - but that's for another posting.