May 18, 2011

Adobe’s enriching CSS, WebKit

HTML is great, but its text-layout limitations have always been a drag for print designers–particularly those now wanting to create tablet-based magazines. That’s why Adobe has been proposing to enhance the CSS spec & contributing to the WebKit browser project.

Now you can download a build & learn more about CSS Regions. According to the project page, key highlights of CSS Regions include:

  • Story threading — allows content to flow in multiple disjointed boxes expressed in CSS and HTML, making it possible to express more complex, magazine-style threaded layouts, including pull quotes and sidebars.
  • Region styling — allows content to be styled based on the region it flows into. For example, the first few lines that fit into the first region of an article may be displayed with a different color or font, or headers flowing in a particular region may have a different background color or size. Region styling is not currently implemented in the CSS Regions prototype.
  • Arbitrary content shapes and exclusions — allows content to fit into arbitrary shapes (not just rectangular boxes) or to flow around complex shapes.

Cool. (And do wake me when the Adobe-scourging Apple fansites pick up this news, won’t you?)

Update: To answer some questions I’ve seen, here’s some clarification I pulled from CNET’s coverage of the news:

“We’ve talked to everyone,” Gourdol said, noting that all the browser makers, though; all of the major ones are active in the CSS working group. They’re all very excited about it.

Next stop is getting the software accepted. Adobe has a team of 12 programmers [emphasis added] in the United States and Romania who work on WebKit, Arno said. Adobe hopes to build its CSS software into the browser engine, making it easy for Google, Apple, and others “downstream” of the central project to incorporate it into their actual browsers.

“Webkit is the most interesting area to focus right now because of its mobile presence,” said Paul Gubbay, vice president of engineering for Adobe’s design and Web group. “We’ll see if the [WebKit] community takes it.”

Posted by John Nack at 8:01 AM on May 18, 2011

Comments

  • Mario — 8:26 AM on May 18, 2011

    Well then convert that propose into deliver and you’ll see

    [You think so? For some people, being pissed off & tribal isn't an accident or the unfortunate outcome of some set of circumstances--something that, if only addressed, would end the anger. Rather, it's the goal unto itself. That journey *is* the reward. If they were happy, if they were somehow okay with the world, they couldn't feel superior to it.

    In any case, when it comes to enhancing HTML, CSS, or an open-source browser, by design there's only so much any one company can do. I'm not sure what else you'd have Adobe do here. --J.]

    • Mario — 7:43 AM on May 19, 2011

      I don’t usually feel angry (except when flash is the one and only reason that keeps crashing my Mom’s PowerBook G4). I mostly feel disappointed of Adobe’s attitude and RESULTS of the last 5 years or so. As with the Apple of the 90′s I still have hope because I know the is still some good people there…

      • Mario — 7:44 AM on May 19, 2011

        By there I mean Adobe

  • Matt Andrews — 9:20 AM on May 18, 2011

    John, this sounds like a great addition to the spec, but isn’t there a danger here that we’ll just end up in “coding for different browsers” mode again? These specs should be added to all rendering engines if possible, not just Webkit.

    [I think that universal support is absolutely the goal (hence Adobe submitting the idea to the W3C), but the main target right now is tablets, and that's where WebKit is dominant. --J.]

  • John C. Welch — 12:57 PM on May 18, 2011

    Sorry, I’m too busy congratulating the Flash team over the real preferences and management improvements in 10.3:

    http://www.bynkii.com/archives/2011/05/thank_you_flash_team.html

    also:

    You think so? For some people, being pissed off & tribal isn’t an accident or the unfortunate outcome of some set of circumstances–something that, if only addressed, would end the anger. Rather, it’s the goal unto itself.

    Dude, no one, NO ONE at Adobe has *any* moral high ground to point ANY fingers at ANYone about “being tribal as an goal unto itself. I don’t recall Phil Schiller comparing Adobe and its CEO to a Stalinist Regime and Stalin himself in an email.

    Adobe needs to deal with your own rampant and rather inane tribalism before y’all start calling out the entire Mac pundit population for not writing the stories you want them to.

    Maybe if your executive staff stops acting the way they have been, then the bulk of information coming out of Adobe will be more useful stuff like Adobe’s CSS work and the improvements to Flash.

    • Chris Cox — 8:02 AM on May 20, 2011

      Excuse me John, but Adobe is not a homogenous whole. Many of our groups are focused on the customer instead of politics, rivalries, buzzwords, and cheerleaders (metaphorical, not literal).

      I think I still owe you a few beers – we can talk about it more the next time you’re in town.

  • Toby — 8:29 PM on July 18, 2011

    I was never frustrated when Adobe was working hard contributing to the community, I was frustrated when they put their product roadmap ahead of genuinely positive changes in technology, when corporate buzz-speak became more important than actually solving problems with their software and workflow.

    If Adobe is able to add these changes to the HTML spec and they are accepted and integrated into newer browser engines, that will be a true victory worth celebrating.

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