Using Flexbox and Its Properties to Construct an Intelligent Layout Stretch and Contract

Web layout is a major focal point of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and, while the language has its own set of intricacies, challenges are usually confronted by utilising JavaScript. Yet, Flexbox has significantly changed this. The Flexbox Layout features in CSS were developed to provide a modern and original approach to web page layout. These features include flex foundation, flow, wrap, display, flex grow, and flex shrink.

It has been officially verified that the CSS3 programming language incorporates the flexbox module. CSS3 is well-known for attributes such as border radius, box shadow, and background gradients, but it is the flexbox module which provides developers with an entire ecosystem of tools and features. While the majority of CSS3 attributes are still independent, the flexbox module stands out as a comprehensive resource for developers.

Flexbox is a highly versatile tool that offers more options for creating the perfect layout than any other similar tool. In this article, we will delve deeper into the capabilities of flexbox, focusing primarily on the flex grow and flex shrink functions and how they can be applied to design an effective layout.

Simply put, what is a flexbox?

The Flexible Box Module, also referred to as Flexbox, is a cutting-edge approach to web page design, providing developers with a new set of layout tools for user interfaces. As one of the earliest CSS components to offer advanced layout capabilities, Flexbox simplifies the development process by allowing for the easy alignment, sizing, and positioning of elements within the given area. Furthermore, Flexbox is the foundation for any self-contained design, making it an invaluable asset for any web designer.

The history of Flexbox is one that is both lengthy and abundant. It was initially formulated as a part of Mozilla’s XUL, with the aim of facilitating the creation of user interfaces for software. Over time, it has been rewritten several times, ultimately developing into a much more reliable standard. Nowadays, all modern browsers are able to offer full support for Flexbox, making it easier for programmers to build products that are both reactive to user input and able to adjust to different screen sizes.

Flexbox design

The flex item is laid up in a way that shifts between rows and columns, and it is also dispersed along the primary axis and the cross axis.

Pie charts that can bend

The Flexbox charts provide a comprehensive overview of all the features and values that can be used when carrying out a project or experimenting with different parameters. These charts can be used as a reference to ensure the successful completion of any project.

Learn the fundamentals of flexbox

Functions of flexbox include the following:

  • Display
  • Direction
  • Wrap
  • Flow
  • Providing justification
  • Coordinate components
  • Content alignment
  • Modify via Expansion or Contraction
  • Basis for flexibility
  • Flex
  • Adjust oneself
  • Order

Let’s break down the flex function of expansion and contraction.

Bend and stretch to make room for growth

The flexibility of a flex item to increase in size is the defining trait of the flex grow feature. Any numerical value can be utilised to determine the ratio, enabling you to understand the amount of space available for your items to move around within the container.

When given the directive to set the flex-grow value to “1”, the available space within the container will be divided evenly among the child elements. It is important to note that the flex-grow attribute will have no effect on rigid items, even if it is applied to them.

Reduce and flex

The contents of the container will reduce in size according to the flex shrink property. It is important to note that this property will have no effect if the element itself is not set to be flexible.

What role does flex grow/shrink play in the development of an efficient design?

As an example of a well-thought-out design using flex size, consider the following:

Expand Your Capacity for movement:

The primary size of a flex item may be modified by using the flex-grow CSS attribute. For the flex-grow property, you may use the following syntax:

There will be a single numeric value used to define the flex-grow attribute. All defaults are set to 0 and negative numbers are not allowed.

The value of this parameter is used to calculate the proportion of the flex container’s remaining space that will be attributed to the item with the flex-grow factor set. This item’s primary size is determined by the flex-direction value, which has the strongest influence on the size of the item.

The size of a flex container can be calculated by subtracting the total size of the flex items it contains from its original size. If all flex items in a group have the same flex-grow factor, the remaining space will be distributed evenly across all items. If, however, the items have different flex-grow factors, the remaining space will be distributed based on the ratio established by the flex-grow factors of the respective items.

It is feasible to utilise flex-grow in conjunction with other flex properties, such as flex-shrink and flex-basis. Generally, the flex shorthand is employed when specifying flex-grow to ensure that all parameters are correctly established.

Reduce and flex

By adjusting the flex-shrink CSS attribute, it is possible to adjust the flex shrink factor of a flex item. This feature is useful as it allows flex items to reduce in size when their combined size exceeds the size of the flex container.

It is possible to utilise multiple flex qualities together, such as flex-shrink, flex-basis, and flex-grow. The flex shorthand is a convenient way of declaring both flex-grow and flex-shrink in a single line of code.

Values for the flex-shrink parameter must be supplied as a single integer; negative numbers are not permitted.

Utilising flexbox to construct a well-thought-out layout

To construct a flexbox, you need to be well-versed in both HTML and CSS. Detailed instructions on how to do that follow:

Organising the Workspace

It is highly recommended to reset the default browser styles and store pertinent data in variables before starting to code. Establishing certain pre-defined defaults for media query combinations can be beneficial in terms of saving time and avoiding code duplication.


Simplified Cascading Style Sheets (SCSS) is a preprocessor of CSS that provides additional features than what is available in traditional CSS. This preprocessor is a convenient tool to reduce the time taken to write code, especially when nesting child classes within a parent class to store values in variables.

Using the codepen, you may do the following.

  1. It is essential to configure the spacing, border colour, and variable padding settings. Additionally, the SCSS map can be used to specify different screen breakpoints. It is important to remember that the keys and pixels are the principal values.
  2. By using mixin functions and recursive programming, with the inclusion of specific breakpoints, you can drastically reduce the amount of time and energy you have to expend. To modify the browser’s predefined configurations, you must first turn off margin and padding, and then adjust the box size to border-box.

Let us discuss how the various HTML classes interact with each other. The class attributes of Flexbox will determine the behaviour of the container. Both the classes of blocks and boxes have this attribute.

In order to better grasp flexbox, I will provide three layout examples:

Making a playing card arrangement


The container class will be divided into three distinct subclasses: block1, block2, and block3. Each member of the block1 class will be specifically responsible for the transportation of three containers, labelled consecutively 1, 2, and 3. The block2 and block3 classes will adhere to the same principles, but will utilise different values for their containers.


Apply the necessary styling to the container class now by invoking the display: flex function to activate flexbox and use its capabilities. To ensure uniform styling, select all elements with the .block-* classes and apply the desired styles. Additionally, the mixin that was established in the setup step should be used to specify the media query.

The Process of Creating a Menu Bar

Formatting Markup Language

Get rid of all the HTML in level1 and replace it with the code below. There are four subclasses of the parent class1.


This section will go through some of the guidelines for level 2 containers in terms of formatting. Here, use the mixin to create a media query.


  1. What kinds of designs lend themselves particularly well to flexbox?

    Flexbox is an ideal choice when working with one-dimensional layouts, such as table-like, columnar, and row-based structures. This technology simplifies the process of creating and developing webpages that require flexibility, as it eliminates the need for complex coding solutions and the numerous position and float values that come with them.
  2. How does Flexbox compare to the CSS grid?

    CSS Grid and Flexbox are both layout paradigms that can be used interchangeably given their similarities. An important difference between them is that Flexbox is used to create one-dimensional layouts, while CSS Grid is used to create two-dimensional layouts. CSS Grid enables component placement along both the X and Y axes, while Flexbox can only be used to structure placement along the X axis. Thus, Flexbox is the best choice for a one-dimensional layout.
  3. How mobile-friendly is flexbox?

    Flexbox elements are designed to be responsive, meaning they can adjust their appearance and behaviour to the size and orientation of the device which is displaying them. Furthermore, Flexbox provides components with increased flexibility and accurate symmetry and positioning.
  4. Where flexbox shouldn’t be used:

    The following are examples of why you shouldn’t use a flexbox:
    • Avoid use it in design contexts.
    • Avoid using it for presentation purposes and instead utilise flex containers instead.
    • Avoid using it at peak traffic times.
  5. Is flexbox compatible with Bootstrap?

    Bootstrap 4 is designed to be compatible with the flexbox layout module, which has replaced the float property. Flexbox is a powerful tool for creating varied and sophisticated design layouts without the need for floats or positioning. Flexbox provides users with the ability to construct intelligent and versatile page designs, enabling them to create a unique and visually appealing look for their webpages.

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