back to article Opera brings fondleslab-style reading to bog-standard web

Opera has published a few simple CSS extensions that allow developers to create the “reading” experience found on contemporary newspaper, magazine and book tablet apps using web standards. The extensions enable “page-like” spatial navigation and layout, and the Norwegian company has submitted them to the W3C standards …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "commodity territory, where they’re still amply rewarded"

    contradiction in terms but they'll probably want to think so.

    I have this fantasy in which mark-up languages get so comphrensive and the browsers that render them so complete, compliant and optimised that window managers and the like all disappear too along with apps. Then where would we be? Apart from drowning in javascript, dart, etc etc.

    1. Steve Knox

      Not So

      '"commodity territory, where they’re still amply rewarded"

      contradiction in terms but they'll probably want to think so.'

      No contradiction. Commodity doesn't depend on price (Gold is a commodity, and it's doing pretty well these days.) A commodity is simply something which is homogeneous across vendors -- something which app code _SHOULD_ have been from day one.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        ok but

        "commodity" in the IT sense means widespread, common-off-the-shelf; these things are always cheap.

  2. dotdavid

    Native apps

    Funny, I've always found native apps far superior to the one-size-fits-all webapps.

    a) Offline mode. Yeah I know, you can do that with HTML5 in theory - why does no-one seem to do it in practice?

    b) Use of hardware features like location, notifications and even something as simple as the "menu key" (iOS devs that spend two seconds porting their apps to Android; take note of the latter in particular. No need for an on-screen space-wasting button).

    c) Speed.

    I'm not saying W3C standards won't get there, eventually - I just think it's a bit early to sound the death knell of the native app.

    PS who said app developers are expensive?!

    1. Patrick O'Reilly

      Offline etc.

      Here's a webApp that's faster than an Native app.

    2. CD001

      I think this is perhaps more referring to "apps" in the fondleslab/featurephone sense ... i.e. native wrappers for web applications rather than totally local applications.

      And - tbh - I think it looks like a good thing; here's an experiment for you, create a 3 column layout for a web page where the height is defined by any of those columns and all three columns must be the same height ... WITHOUT using tables.

      Though, to be fair, "grid positioning" has been under development for years:

    3. Gordon 10

      Point a

      By in practice you mean offline storage like the kindle html5 app?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'll be sure to consider using it when it becomes a standard and is implemented into other browsers in about 10 years time...

  4. Andrew Moore
    Thumb Up


    add that and JQuery Mobile and the majority of App development requests I get can be handled with a bit of web development.

  5. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Deliciously simple.

    Looking forward to seeing this in a labs build or even Opera Next.

  6. Paul Shirley

    advertisers dream?

    Being cynical (as usual) this looks like a great way to format pages to make sure adverts are always visible, whatever the device or window size. If it can be abused it will be abused.

  7. Liam Thom

    Emperor's new clothes etc

    Is there anything new that you couldn't do with tables 15 years ago? Or are they not cool enough?

    1. Tim Parker

      @Liam Thom

      "Is there anything new that you couldn't do with tables 15 years ago? Or are they not cool enough?"

      For extremely simple layout then mostly, no, but only in the same way as you might say about higher level programming languages such as C/C++/Python/Java etc,

      "is there anything new that you couldn't do with assembly X years ago ?"

      You can mimic a fair bit of CSS layout with tables but, really, would you want to ? For some rather old perspective on the basics of this, you might want to have a look at Douglas Bowmans presentation 'No More Tables', if you haven't already (link to a video of the 2006 one follows)

      Tables are very useful and for some data they are almost certainly the best choice, but they are not the answer to page layout in general.

      As for the extensions - i've only had a quick look at the documentation on Operas site about them but there do seem to be some (potentially) very useful bits.

    2. nyelvmark

      Tables aren't cool.

      HTML tables are intended to contain tables: content presented in row/column form. Using them for layout is a hack, and always was, because it breaks the principle that the content should be separate from the style. This allows, for example, blind users to use software that reads HTML pages aloud. HTML today can, and should, be written without using tables for layout. All the styling should be in CSS, which can be ignored by the rendering software, according to its purpose.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        tables are not only uncool

        they are shite as a layout tool

  8. Mage


    Codex means "book", A scroll cut up into pages. Easy navigation. Invented about 2000 years ago.

    Nice that computing is finally going to abandon the glass teletype/Scrolls. Drupal allows nice easy creation of paged content. GSP/GST Publisher had two different DTP to paged HTML schemes (one of which used NO javascript).

    It's not hard or new. But presumably the proposed methods will make it more common and easier to produce.

    Apps for content on the Internet is a bit daft anyway. Apps should be only for local content.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Drupal allows nice easy creation of..."

      Nothing. There is nothing easy about Drupal; it's insanely complicated and difficult to use unless you have one and only one page layout for the whole site, and that better be simple or you'll go mad trying to hack the CSS to look even half decent. Hate it.

  9. potatosalad

    To put the custom app developers out of business, Apple would have to actually implement it in the browsers on their tablets.

    As this would remove any benefit to content providers selling an app via the app store, and eliminate Apple's 30% cut in subscriptions, this will never happen.

  10. Steve Evans 1

    If it gets into the standards

    IE won't support it

  11. Alan Denman

    The web is banned.

    Opera Mobile is banned on the iPhone so never expect a decent web where APPS are king.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "New" form factor, "new" HCI methods,

    old paper-based metaphor.

  13. RISC OS

    It's been submitted to the w3c?

    Well that means it will be approved and useable in about 1-2 decades, give take a few years.

  14. Charles Calthrop

    where are the extensions, 'paged media' returns nothing on an opera extensions search

    1. Not That Andrew

      @Charles Calthorp

      It's a proposed extension to the CSS standard, not an Opera addon.

      1. Charles Calthrop
        Thumb Up

        ah cheers, obviously I am not as good as skimmed reading as I think I am !

  15. John 62

    paged media?

    it's nice and all, but for electronic devices I prefer scrolling. I like what I'm reading to be in the middle of the screen.

  16. Phil Endecott


    Isn't this what xml:fo was supposed to do? A vocabulary for defining paged layouts. Except that fo always seemed a bit over-complex, and hasn't been implemented very widely. (I use it in a couple of places to convert web content to paginated PDF files.)

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    trouble with standards, there are so many of them..

    I am fond of Opera the company, one of the true innovative underdogs of the interwebs..

    I am sceptical about this proposal to be accepted widely though. As RISC OS pointed out, w3c is one slow beast.

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