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Adobe (news, site) aims to bring some glossy magazine style to the Web with a prototype CSS extension that can add new features to your web pages.

The Gutter Press

Websites have managed to replicate many of the design features (boxouts, bleeds, runarounds) that you see in magazines, but most of them need Flash or other tricks for web publishing designers to achieve the effect. Adobe is trying to make things a little less hassle with a new CSS extension it is currently proposing to the W3C.

The WebKit-based CSS Regions aims to help by describing how content creators can employ a  range of additional basic building blocks to express complex layouts within CSS. The main highlights of Regions include Story Threading, allowing designers to run a story through various text boxes (cue the sound of many QuarkXpress users sighing nostalgically).

Region styling will apply size and color modes and other design elements to text depending on where it appears in the story. The use of arbitrary shapes will allow designers to run text around non-uniform shapes, breaking the horrible squareness of many sites and allow them to use cut-out art within the text to create more engaging pages.

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Examples of Regions in action

Breaking the Mold

Adobe already has the prototype up and running for people to test and play with, and to gauge interest in the feature. There are community resources for requesting features and reporting problems.

Some testers have already pointed out that the CSS Regions implementation mixes too much layout detail among the code structure, but Adobe admits it is a work in progress and is looking to improve the product as it develops. There are some examples of the code in action in an Adobe article,