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Flexbox-zombies

Waylon Walker
Data Engineering with python, kedro super user.
Originally published at waylonwalker.com ・6 min read

Flexbox-zombies

This post was originally posted in my personal blog in April 2018 https://waylonwalker.com/blog/flexbox-zombies/. The screenshots were taken directly from the site.

I recently finished up the flexbox-zombies course to learn more about flexbox, and to become proficient with it. I can truly say that this course has changed the way that I create layouts. Flexbox is very intuitive now. What this course does really well at is explaining the concepts and hitting you with a ton of examples that you can work through really quickly.

flexbox-zombies

A clip from the final round against Dave

Basic Setup

Flexbox requires a wrapper container to work I will refer to this as the flex container, and the items in that container as items.

Markup

I will use the following markup throughout the article, each with different css applied.

note The animated container is inspired by the flexbox-zombies course. I really like how it allows you to see the responsiveness of each layout. In the early example the reasoning may not be aparent, but as we go along some of the flexbox parameters will make more sense if we are viewing them on a dynamic layout since flexbox is designed for building responsive design.

<div class='flex_container'>
    <div class='item'>1</div>
    <div class='item'>2</div>
    <div class='item'>3</div>
    <div class='item'>4</div>
</div>
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Basic Markup

Base Style

    .item {
        color: #6394C8;
        font-size: 1.5rem;
        padding: 1rem;
        display: flex;
        justify-content: center;
        align-items: center;
        height: 100px;
        width: 100px;
        background: #351D57;
        margin: 5px;
        border: 2px solid #A83E75;
        box-shadow: 5px 5px 10px -5px rgba(0, 0, 0, .6);
    }

    .flex_container {
        padding: 1rem;
        box-shadow: 5px 5px 10px -5px rgba(0, 0, 0, .6);
        background: rgba(99, 148, 200, .2);
        animation: animate_container 2s cubic-bezier(.66, -0.0, .28, 1.0) infinite both alternate;
    }

    /* Animate the .flex_container to show responsiveness */

    .flex_container:hover {
    /* But not on hover, let the user pause the annimation*/
        animation: none 
    }

    @keyframes animate_container {
        0%{
            width: 95%;
        }

        20% {
            width: 95%;
        }

        80% {
            width: 200px;
        }

        100% {
            width: 200px;
        }
    }
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Basic Technique

basic technique

1. Turn on the crossbow

applied to the flex container

display: flex;

Turning on flexbox on the flex container will cause all child elements to align in a row at the top left corner of the parent container. By defualt they will shrink to the minimum content size, but not automatically grow larger than their specified size.

    .flex_container {
                display: flex;
        }
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Turn on the Crossbow

2. Aim it if necessary

applied to the flex container

This parameter determines the direction that the flexbox container will orient the flex items.

example flex-direction: row
options = ('row'(default), 'column', 'row-reverse', 'column-reverse')

row

.flex_container {
            display: flex;
            flex-direction: row;
    }
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row

column

.flex_container {
            display: flex;
            flex-direction: column;
    }
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column

row-reverse

.flex_container {
            display: flex;
            flex-direction: row-reverse;
    }
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row reverse

column-reverse

.flex_container {
            display: flex;
            flex-direction: column-rerverse;
    }
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Column Reverse

3. Line them up along the red Justify Laser

applied to the flex container

This parameter determines justification of the flex items within the flex container. Think spacing or positioning around the flex items.

example justify-content: flex-end;
options = (flex-start, flex-end, space-between, space-around, space-evenly, stretch, center, start, end, left, right)

flex-start

.flex_container {
            display: flex;
            justify-content: flex-start;
    }
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flex start

flex-end

.flex_container {
            display: flex;
            justify-content: flex-end;
    }
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flex-end

space-between

.flex_container {
            display: flex;
            justify-content:space-between;
    }
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space-between

space-around

.flex_container {
            display: flex;
            justify-content: space-around;
    }
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space-around

space-evenly

.flex_container {
            display: flex;
            justify-content: space-evenly;
    }
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space-evenly

center

.flex_container {
            display: flex;
            justify-content: center;
    }
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center

3b. Align them along the blue Alignment Laser

applied to the flex container

  • align-items: flex-end;
  • options = ('flex-start', 'flex-end', 'normal', 'end', 'self-start', 'self-end', 'center', 'start' 'end')

flex-start

.flex_container {
            display: flex;
            justify-content: flex-start;
    }
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flex-start

flex-end

.flex_container {
            display: flex;
            justify-content: flex-end;
    }
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flex-end

center

.flex_container {
            display: flex;
            justify-content: center;
    }
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center

4. Take care of any one-off alignments

applied to items

  • align-self: flex-start;
  • options = ('flex-start', 'flex-end', 'normal', 'end', 'self-start', 'self-end', 'center', 'start', 'end')

combine

the align-self property is used to take care of one off alignments and is applied to the item itself. All of the parameters are the same as align-items. In this example we will apply all of the previous example alignment types into one.

.flex_container {
    display: flex; 
     } 
.item:nth-of-type(1){
     align-self: flex-start  
     }
.item:nth-of-type(2){
     align-self: center
     }
.item:nth-of-type(3){
     height: auto; align-self: stretch;
     }
.item:nth-of-type(4){
     height: auto; align-self: flex-end;
     }
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Alt Text

6. growth along the red Justify Laser

applied to items

  • flex-grow: 1

flex-grow

By setting flex-grow: 1; on item 3 it will take up any available free space.

.flex_container {
            display: flex;
    }
.item:nth-of-type(3) {
    flex-grow: 1
}
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flex-grow

multiple flex-grow

By setting flex-grow: 2; on item 1 will take up the available free space 2x faster than 3

.flex_container {
            display: flex;
            justify-content: flex-start;
    }
.item:nth-of-type(3) {
    flex-grow: 1
}
.item:nth-of-type(1) {
    flex-grow: 2
}
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multiple flex-grow

7. setting length of items along the red Justify Laser

applied to items

in order of importance

  • min-width
  • max-width
  • flex-basis
  • width

8. Out of Order

applied to items
behaves similar to z-index

  • order - takes an integer value

order 1

.flex_container {
            display: flex;
    }
.item:nth-of-type(3) {
    order: 1
}
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order 1

order -1

.flex_container {
            display: flex;
    }
.item:nth-of-type(3) {
    order: -1
}
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order -1

9. Get your own Line

applied to the flex container

  • flex-wrap - options= (wrap, nowrap(default))
  • prefers wrap over shrink
  • but will still shrink after fully wraped

get on your own line

wrap

.flex_container {
            display: flex;
            flex-wrap: wrap;
    }
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wrap

10. Aligning wrapped content

applied to the flex container

  • align-content - same specs as align-items but works on wrapped content.

wrap

.flex_container {
            display: flex;
            height: 700px;
            flex-wrap: wrap;
            align-content: center;
    }
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Aligning wrapped content<br>

11. Shortcuts

flex

applied to the flex items

  • flex: grow, shrink, basis
  • defaults - flex: 1 1 0px
  • setting flex: none is equivalent to flex: 0 0 auto

flex-flow

applied to the flex container

  • flex: flex-direction flex-wrap

Chapter 7: In a Perfect World (flex-basis)

flex-basis

  • Starting point, ideal size, hypothetical size
  • applied to items
  • overrides width
  • shinks if necessary

When Shooting Horizontally it controls width

When Shooting Vertically it controls height

Do YOU still use flexbox in 2020?

@thepracticaldev Does

Now that they are open source you can search for yourself in their git repo.

I found this element inside of the dashboard.
Flexbox in dev.to

And in the color selection element.

dev.to color selection element

I do

I made this post/nodes nearly 2 years ago as I was learning flexbox with the flexbox zombies course and it has really stuck with me. I feel like most of it has engrained into my brain and feels second nature, so much so that I rarely find myself reaching for grid 😲. In the off occasion that I need a visual refresh this post has been super helpful for me.

Tweet it at me, or leave em down below.

Check out my other blogs on my personal site.

Discussion (2)

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paco_ita profile image
Francesco Leardini

Nice article and description!

I features flexbox-zombies in one article, where I also describe other interesting online games we can use to train our CSS skills. Have a look at it if interested.

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bcowley1220 profile image
Brendan Cowley

Great article! I use flexbox every day, either by itself or in conjunction with grid. It's an extremely powerful tool and frankly I'm very confused why there isn't wholesale buy-in from the entire dev community.

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