Håkon Wium Lie, Opera Software’s CTO and creator of cascading stylesheets, previously proposed a new set of CSS tools that transform longer web pages into a more book-like experience, where the reader flips from page to page instead of scrolling down one long screen.
The new Opera Reader feature in Opera 12 is the first implementation of Lie’s proposed Generated Content for Paged Media standard. To try out the new Opera Reader and its book-like browsing experience, head on over to the Opera Labs site and download the latest build of Opera 12.
At its core, the Paged Media standard would offer web developers a way to paginate content — that is, take a single webpage and break it into multiple “pages,” with each page automatically fitted to the screen size of the device you’re using. For example, this article might be two “pages” when viewed on an iPad. However, because the pagination is done with CSS and the HTML remains as it is, there’s no added load time when you flip to the next page. So it’s not a tool that can easily be abused by publishers to mine extra pageviews. It adds all the good things about multi-page layouts and none of the bad.
If you’ve got Opera 12 installed, visit the new Opera Reader demo site where you can see some early experiments including the Alice in Wonderland demo shown above (note that the previous link only works in the latest build of Opera 12).
Keep in mind that this is an early version and so far the demos (and the browser support) are still very limited. Still, if you’d like to dive right in and learn how you can create book-like websites using the new Paged Media layout tools, check out the Opera Labs blog, which walks you through all the new CSS rules and how to use them.