mojoPortal content management system has automatic column layout based on whether a content instance or menu exists in the side columns.
Occasionally to achieve a design goal, people ask how to make it show a side column even when there is no content instance in the column.
This can be done by setting properties on the StylesheetCombiner control in the layout.master file of the skin. An example fragment is shown below:
<portal:StyleSheetCombiner id="StyleSheetCombiner" runat="server" AlwaysShowLeftColumn="true" AlwaysShowRightColumn="true"...
Note that it is really the code behind the master page that does the showing and hiding of columns and setting of column CSS classes, the StyleSheetCombiner is just a convenient place to store properties related to skin design. In this case the master page detects those settings on the StylesheetCombiner so that you can easily declare it in your skin to make it always show the left or right or both columns.