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Adobe Issues CSS Web Publishing Prototype

“CSS extensions would let Web developers confine text to a specific shape”

Hoping to bring magazine-style layout tools to Web publishing, Adobe Systems released a prototype browser specifically designed to let Web developers test the company's proposed formatting technology. The technology, called CSS Regions, lets programmers easily create multi-column layouts, place text in various polygonal shapes, and flow around objects in the middle of text.

CSS Regions 

CSS Regions

The technology has existed for years in the print publishing world, but it's generally missing from the Web, and its absence grows ever more conspicuous as magazines and newspapers move to digital publishing, especially on tablets such as Apple's iPad.

The formatting features are notable, particularly because they're dynamic, said Arno Gourdol, director of engineering for the Flash runtime at Adobe. With them, layouts adjust automatically as people resize browser windows or rotate tablets from portrait to landscape orientation.

Prototype CSS Regions

Adobe's CSS Regions technology can be downloaded from Adobe Labs. Based on feedback from earlier work, Adobe actually split CSS Regions into two parts so it would merge better with other CSS developments such as Flexbox and Grid. The second half is CSS Exclusions for defining how text flows around defined areas.

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