A commonplace complaint regarding existing web standards is they never provide designers with enough control. CSS has evolved to the point where quite complex layouts and typography are now possible, but designers always want more—and this is where Adobe aims to plug the gap with its CSS Regions prototype.
Greg Rewis, Principal Evangelist, Web Tools, Adobe Systems, told us that CSS Regions is "a proposal from Adobe, submitted to the W3C as an addition to the CSS module, which would allow web designers to create more complex designs, like those seen in magazines". He said that the proposal includes the ability for text to flow between individual boxes, for designers to attach styling to the boxes into which the text flows—such as a paragraph that breaks over two boxes with different styling—as well as enabling text to flow into arbitrary shapes or around irregular shapes.
There will of course be critics of Adobe's proposals, not least those who claim that the internet isn't supposed to be magazine-like, in terms of layout; in response to such statements, Rewis exclaimed: "As with any tool or technology, anything can be overdone, but the idea behind this proposal is to give creatives the ability to be more expressive than the web currently allows." And as for the technology's chances in the long-term, Rewis said while it's impossible to see into the future, Adobe is "hopeful that it will not only be adopted by Webkit, but also make it into the specification".
More information about CSS Regions, along with the prototype browser with examples, can be found at Adobe Labs (opens in new tab).