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Everybody's Talking About...CSS Regions

In the red corner: Adobe, which has poured tons of time, money and hardcore dev hours into developing CSS Regions, a specification that enables the creation of rich, magazine-like layouts with content that flows through multiple containers.

In the blue corner: Google, which has just dropped the bombshell that it will abandon support for CSS Regions in favour of prioritising performance of Chrome, particularly for mobile devices.

It’s an announcement that’s divided the Web community, with many decrying the decision and others claiming they never really believed in CSS Regions in the first place. Opera’s Håkon Wium Lie recently presciently penned an article for A List Apart, going so far as to call CSS Regions “harmful”  and claiming that:

"For those who believe in meaningful HTML tags, responsive web design, and compact CSS code, the introduction of CSS Regions is not good news.”

As a counterpoint, front-end developer Sara Soueidan fought back with an article that clearly struck a chord, examining the various problems and solutions with CSS Regions. Sara admitted that, while the technology is not yet perfect, CSS Regions can be “a useful and powerful tool in our responsive toolset.”

Either way, it looks like the die have been cast, at least as far as Google is concerned, and one thing’s for sure, Adobe isn't going to be happy about it.

What’s the future for CSS Regions? Is this a setback for web design? Or was Google’s a brave decision that will pave the way for better mobile web development? Only time will tell. We’d love to hear what you have to say about it. Leave us a comment below or tweet me @FOWD. 

Follow @FOWD on Twitter for regular news and updates.


Reader Comments (8)

Google (and Opera) abandoning CSS Regions can lead to rethinking the whole thing - and that can be good. It's not like we won't see CSS Regions ever in Chrome - or even that we won't see them just like they are now (they could be back when performance in mobile won't be an issue anymore) - but maybe they will be different.
CSS Regions are a working draft after all, which means they're at the very first step of development. They can go through a lot of changes, just like CSS Flexbox did.
I think CSS Regions can do nice things but are a nightmare to use and maintain. In short, too much effort for a result that isn't always appreciated by the end user. And if Google adds that they can be slow, I think their choice (that actually isn't definitive nor effective yet) is reasonable.

February 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMaxArt

God forbid we actually listen to the Father of CSS...

February 3, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterg

I'm on the fence about CSS regions. I think there's potential with them, but I can't say I'm bummed about google dropping it.

February 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTyler

Web standards are done to be followed by navigator maker AND by web developper. If everybody follow the rules, the web will be easier for everyone.
But I understand too the choice of people who find that standard evolutions are too slow or company that try to force the way of doing things.

February 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChristophe BENOIT

Honestly, I have a mixed opinion on this decision. On the performance side, I completely get it: Google wants Chrome to run as optimal as possible. But on the other hand, Google is known to be very developer friendly. When you look at things like CSS Regions, it will make front-end developers' lives so much easier. I would like to see some sort of solution to the CSS Regions problem.

February 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterZach Russell

When Flash was killed off by Apple I reluctantly accepted my fate as a flash developer.
I wanted my content to be visible in the Ipad. I now test to make sure everything is IPad and other tablet happy.
CSS regions, in its current form with the current level of resistance would be the same as Adobe trying to resurrect Adobe flash all over again - ONE BIG SCRAP all over again.
But wait CSS regions is from Adobe
Maybe a future adjusted version of the CSS regions specification that does address the opposing viewpoints or concerns is in the best interests of web standards and the future of the internet.
What would the word best practices mean if the responsive designers were against the regions supporters.
The right answer probably lies in the middle somewhere because the Css exclusions shaped thingy could work well with media queries.

February 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFlashIsCool

CSS Regions is considered in latest web design trends. The main advantage of it is this module allows content from one or more elements to flow through one or more boxes called CSS Regions.

But on the other hand, Google is known to be very developer friendly. When you look at things like CSS Regions, it will make front-end developers' lives so much easier. I would like to see some sort of solution to the CSS Regions problem.

May 8, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjohn wilson

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