Adobe Shows Off Fancy WebKit-Based Typography

Typography on the web has improved by leaps and bounds since the dark days of the blink tag, but it’s still a long way from ideal.

Sure there are great ways to serve custom fonts, and you can even use JavaScript libraries like Lettering.js for even more control over your layout. But when it comes to the flow of text around images, pull quotes and other block level elements, well, web typography falls apart.

The demo movie above from Adobe shows off some WebKit-based experiments that seek to change that. Adobe Engineering VP Paul Gubbay narrates and the demo, and he shows how his team is extending the WebKit browser to do some new typographic tricks. WebKit is the open source engine behind Safari and Google Chrome, and it powers the most popular mobile browsers like the ones on the iPhone, iPad, iPod and all the Android phones. The demo certainly shows some impressive results.

However, we’re a bit suspicious of the methodology behind the results. Gubbay talks about extending WebKit’s CSS support via vendor prefixes, but neglects to mention what those prefixes are built against — in other words, there’s no mention of submitting a standard that other browsers could work from.

In fact, while the demo is pretty cool, the whole overview is too vague to say much about other than, “that would be nice.”

Also, note to Adobe, you don’t need to work with Google to work on WebKit. It’s an open source project. You can just submit your patches (instructions are here).

[via John Nack]

Update: The original post got Paul Gubbay’s name wrong. We have updated it. (Sorry, Paul!) Also, be sure to read his response in the comments.

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