CSS Houdini 101 - introduction & future of CSS
requestAnimationFrame method or depend on user interactions like scroll events.
select elements, etc.
It seems impossible for CSS specifications to keep up with the various feature demands from the industry such as more control over animations, improved text truncation, better styling option for
select elements, more
display options, more
filter options, etc.
What Is Houdini?
Houdini specification consists of two API groups - high-level APIs and low-level APIs.
High-level APIs are closely related to the browser’s rendering process (style → layout → paint → composite). This includes:
- Paint API - An extension point for the browser’s paint rendering step where visual properties (color, background, border, etc.) are determined.
- Layout API - An extension point for the browser’s layout rendering step where element dimensions, position, and alignment are determined.
- Animation API - An extension point for browser’s composite rendering step where layers are drawn to the screen and animated.
Low-Level APIs form a foundation for high-level APIs. This includes:
- Typed Object Model API
- Custom Properties & Values API
- Font Metrics API
Some Houdini APIs are already available for use in some browsers with other APIs to follow suit when they’re ready for release.
The Future Of CSS
Unlike regular CSS feature specifications that have been introduced thus far, Houdini stands out by allowing developers to extend the CSS in a more native way. Does this mean that CSS specifications will stop evolving and no new official implementations of CSS features will be released? Well, that is not the case. Houdini’s goal is to aid the CSS feature development process by allowing developers to create working prototypes that can be easily standardized.
Additionally, developers will be able to share the open-source CSS Worklets more easily and with less need for browser-specific bugfixes.
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