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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and can produce fantastic renderings, seemingly tailor-made for each device, but is this whole approach to layout an outdated concept?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

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  1. • George Crawford • Developer at Financial Times • @georgeocrawford

    • https://github.com/georgecrawford/ • http://app.ft.com and https://app.economist.com
  2. http://labs.ft.com/2012/06/what-exactly-is-an-app/ • Perfectly fills the screen • An interface designed

    for touch • No ‘browser-like’ elements, or ‘page loading’ behaviour • Gesture interaction • An icon on the homescreen What is a web app?
  3. 2. New CSS developments A dying breed • CSS Regions

    • CSS Figures • CSS Line Grid • Project Houdini
  4. https://dev.opera.com/articles/houdini/ Project Houdini “The most exciting thing was that nobody

    was arguing. We’ve wanted a lot of this since the 90s and now is the first time when someone hasn’t said “no” or “it can’t be done”. Peter Linns (TAG co-chair, CSS WG co-chair)
  5. Project Houdini • Parser API • Property and Value Extensions

    API • Font Metrics API • Custom Layout
  6. Project Houdini • Parser API • Property and Value Extensions

    API • Font Metrics API • Custom Layout • Custom Paint