Earlier this year, .net magazine reported on Adobe's attempt to bring magazine-type layouts to the web. Adobe's CSS Regions concept was designed to enable more complex layouts, including content flow. This would enable text to be displayed in multiple regions, flowing automatically from one to the other.
In the race to support the new technology, Chrome has emerged as the victor, says Mihai Corlan. While IE10 supports some aspects of CSS Regions, Chrome 15 is the first production browser to include support for the Adobe technology.
Corlan provides a demo page that enables you to see text reflow in action (assuming you've the latest release of Chrome, naturally) – resize the browser and you'll see the text automatically flow into the blue containers. At present, there are some glitches, with the first and last line of text sometimes being cut off, but Corlan reports that this has already been fixed in the main line of Chrome and will therefore be sorted in an update. And with CSS Regions being such a nascent technology, its inclusion in Chrome is currently more useful from an experimentation standpoint than for styling live sites. (Corlan also adds that syntax changes in CSS Regions mean that older examples Adobe placed online do not work in Chrome 15.)
Whether CSS Regions ever go beyond experiments depends not only on browser support but also on developer interest. When we spoke to standards advocates in issue 217 of .net, they were split, with SimpleBits founder Dan Cederholm arguing that "when I see 'magazine-style' layout in the opening description, something about that sounds like the wrong approach," but Eric Meyer being rather more positive, despite suggesting there were a "fair number of unresolved issues in the proposal".