Web Platform Team Blog

Making the web awesome

Fidus Writer: foxy CSS Regions spotted in the wild

Fidus who?

Remember the SourceFabric team from a while ago? Well, not only their BookJS project is coming along nicely, but it’s also been picked up by other projects. The latest of them is Fidus Writer.

In a nutshell, Fidus Writer is Google Docs meets LaTeX (for mortals). It takes the nice ideas of LaTeX – like focusing on the content rather than the layout – and dresses them in 2013 web clothes designed for academics. This means you’ll also get support for bibliography and citations (in a little under a gazillion formats), changes tracking, collaborative editing and commenting.

Here’s a video to whet your appetite 🙂

I can haz Regions?

So how does Fidus Writer use CSS Regions since there’s no fancy magazine layout to be seen in its rather minimalist interface?

Well, the easy way to tell is to try using it in a regions-challenged browser. In this case, the content is rendered as a single, long flow, with the footnotes (if any) at the very bottom. However, in a regions-enabled browser, the content is nicely paginated and footnotes flow where you’d expected them to in an editor like Word or LaTeX. This gives a closer to WYSIWYG experience, especially for documents meant to be printed.

The regions-enabled version places content and footnotes in different named flows and then does just a little bit of JS magic to compute and position the necessary regions.

So, is this for you?

If you’re interested in CSS Regions or have a friend in academia who’s not fond of editing TeX in vi 🙂 , keep your eyes on this project; rumor has it more goodies are in store for the 1.0 version.


  1. April 17, 2013 at 1:01 pm, Daniel said:

    Thanks for the post miChou!

  2. April 19, 2013 at 11:10 am, Antisthenes Mordaxus said:

    Huge LaTeX fan/user.