FTColumnflow and newspaper layout on the web: a dying breed?

FTColumnflow and newspaper layout on the web: a dying breed?

In this talk, George Crawford shares his experiences in developing mobile apps for the Financial Times and The Economist; both initially driven to mimic the print layout of their newspapers on the web. He will share the constraints and requirements which led to the development of FTColumnFlow [1], a polyfill for many of the missing features in the original CSS Multi-Column Layout module. ColumnFlow introduces great flexibility and can produce fantastic renderings, seemingly tailor-made for each device, but is this whole approach to layout an outdated concept?

As we have waited for simple missing features in CSS, a wide variety of new draft specifications have emerged: CSS Regions, Grids, Paged Media, Fragmentation, Generated Content, Line Grid, and Book Layout, as well as Multi-Column Level 2. But does the lack of basic features and the slow rate of progress in fact represent a lack of interest in this approach to layout on the web?

Future specs such as are being explored by the Houdini project might allow for use-case driven development of CSS standards using primitives and true CSS polyfills, just like the emergence of ServiceWorker for JavaScript.


George Crawford

June 29, 2015