updated 11:20 am EDT, Thu November 1, 2007
Apple page layout patent
Apple has filed an application with the US Patent and Trademark Office for a "data-driven" page layout application. The filing notes that writing custom pages in languages like XML can often take time, even if using templates, since these still require building the code, and knowing enough to fix it if the template is somehow broken. Apple's technology instead suggests a way of producing pages based on previously created ones, pulling out structural objects and "relationships" from them, while still allowing users to edit the new pages in a graphical interface.
This permits the quick creation of pages with transposed means of representing data, while letting users customize this information by adding or deleting elements. Copied graphs, for instance, could have points inserted or removed, and their information changed. To this Apple suggests adding an assortment of possible stock objects, similar to those found in current WYSIWYG web editors, such as bars, buttons, dividers and tables.
As an example of the concept Apple has supplied a sketch of an "Island Music" website, in which the layout of the main page could be quickly replicated for each sub-page, data changing to reflect the albums and songs of a particular genre.