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

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) heavily focuses on the layout of web pages, and though the language is not without its complexities, problems are often solved with the use of JavaScript. However, Flexbox has transformed this approach. The Flexbox Layout features that are incorporated into CSS present a contemporary and innovative method of designing web page layouts. This includes features like flex basis, direction, wrapping, visibility, flex grow, and flex shrink.

It has been officially confirmed that the programming language CSS3 has included the flexbox module. Although CSS3 is recognized for features such as border radius, box shadow and background gradients, it is the flexbox module that has bestowed developers with an entire range of tools and features. While most CSS3 attributes can still operate independently, the flexbox module sets itself apart for being a comprehensive and integrated resource for developers.

Flexbox is an incredibly versatile tool that provides more possibilities for designing the ideal layout than any other comparable tool. In this piece, we will explore the capabilities of flexbox in depth, with a particular emphasis on the flex grow and flex shrink functions and how they can be utilized to craft a successful layout.

To put it simply, what is a flexbox?

The Flexible Box Module, otherwise known as Flexbox, is an innovative approach to web page design, offering developers a fresh set of layout tools for user interfaces. As one of the initial CSS components to provide sophisticated layout capabilities, Flexbox streamlines the development process by simplifying the alignment, sizing, and positioning of elements within the designated area. Moreover, Flexbox forms the basis for any standalone design, rendering it an indispensable resource for any web designer.

The history of Flexbox is lengthy and rich. Originally conceived as part of Mozilla’s XUL, the objective was to make it easier to create software user interfaces. Over time, it underwent several rewrites before eventually evolving into a much more dependable standard. Today, all modern browsers have the capability to provide full support for Flexbox, making it simpler for developers to create products that are both responsive to user input and capable of adapting to varying screen sizes.

Designing with Flexbox

Flex items are arranged in a manner that alternates between rows and columns, while also being distributed across both the primary and cross axes.

Bending Pie Charts

Flexbox charts offer a comprehensive summary of all the features and values that can be utilized when executing a project or experimenting with different parameters. These charts serve as a guide to guarantee the successful completion of any project.

Mastering the Basics of Flexbox

Some of the functions of Flexbox are:

  • Display
  • Direction
  • Wrap
  • Flow
  • Justification Provision
  • Coordination of Components
  • Alignment of Content
  • Modification through Expansion or Contraction
  • Foundation of Flexibility
  • Flex
  • Self-Adjustment
  • Order

Now, let’s analyze the Flex function of Expansion and Contraction.

Flexing to Accommodate Growth

Flexibility to expand is the unique characteristic of the Flex-Grow feature in a Flex Item. Setting a numerical value determines the ratio, assisting you to determine the space available for the movement of your items inside the Container.

Setting the Flex-Grow value to “1” will equally distribute the available space among child elements in the container. However, it is important to mention that Flex-Grow would have no impact on rigid items, even if applied to them.

Flexing to Reduce

Container content will shrink in size based on the Flex-Shrink property. Note that this property will have no impact if the element is not flexible itself.

How important is the Flex-Grow/Shrink feature in developing an efficient design?

Let’s take this example of a well-planned design that uses Flex Size:

Enhance Your Flexibility to Move:

To alter the primary size of a Flex Item, the Flex-Grow CSS attribute can be utilized with the following syntax for the flex-grow property:

A Numeric Value is used to define the Flex-Grow attribute, with zero being the default value and negative numbers not being permissible.

This value helps determine the proportion of remaining space in the Flex Container to be assigned to the item with a Flex-Grow factor. The Flex-Direction value has the strongest impact on the item’s primary size.

To calculate the size of a Flex Container, subtract the total size of all its Flex Items from its original size. When all Flex Items in a group have the same Flex-Grow factor, any remaining space is distributed equally among all items. In the case of items with varying Flex-Grow factors, remaining space is distributed based on their respective ratios.

Flex-Grow can be used together with other Flex Properties, such as Flex-Shrink and Flex-Basis. To ensure all parameters are accurately defined, it’s recommended to use the flex shorthand when specifying Flex-Grow.

Flexing to Reduce

To modify a Flex Item’s shrink factor, the Flex-Shrink CSS attribute can be altered. This feature is particularly useful, as it enables Flex Items to reduce in size if their combined size surpasses the Container’s size.

Multiple Flex Properties can be used together, such as Flex-Shrink, Flex-Basis, and Flex-Grow. Using the flex shorthand allows you to declare both Flex-Grow and Flex-Shrink in a single line of code, providing greater convenience.

A single integer value must be provided for the Flex-Shrink parameter, and negative numbers are not accepted.

Creating a Thoughtful Layout with Flexbox

Proficiency in both HTML and CSS is essential to create a Flexbox. Follow these comprehensive directions:

Arranging the Workspace

Before beginning to code, it’s highly advised to reset the default browser styles and assign relevant information to variables. Establishing pre-defined defaults for media query combinations can help save time and prevent the duplication of code.


Simplified Cascading Style Sheets (SCSS) is a CSS preprocessor that offers additional capabilities beyond traditional CSS. With this preprocessor, it’s simple to write code efficiently, particularly when nesting child classes inside a parent class and storing values in variables.

Codepen allows you to:

  1. Configuring the spacing, border colour, and variable padding settings is crucial. The SCSS map can also be utilised to define various screen breakpoints, with keys and pixels being the primary values to keep in mind.
  2. Significant amounts of time and effort can be saved by utilising Mixin functions and recursive programming, along with specific breakpoints. To modify the browser’s predefined settings, first disable margin and padding, and then adjust the box size to border-box.

Now, let’s explore the interactions between the various HTML classes. The behaviour of the container is determined by the class attributes of Flexbox, which are also present in the classes of blocks and boxes.

To enhance comprehension of flexbox, here are three examples of layouts:

Creating a Playing Card Layout


The container class will be subdivided into three distinct subclasses: block1, block2, and block3. Each member of the block1 class has a specific responsibility for transporting three containers, numbered consecutively as 1, 2, and 3. While following the same principles, block2 and block3 classes will use different values for their containers.


Activate flexbox and utilise its capabilities by applying appropriate styling to the container class with the display:flex function. For consistent styling, apply desired styles to all elements with the .block-* classes. Additionally, use the established mixin from the setup step to define the media query.

How to Create a Menu Bar

Markup Language Formatting

Remove all HTML from level1 and substitute it with the following code. The parent class1 has four subclasses.


This section will outline formatting recommendations for level 2 containers. Utilise the mixin to construct a media query.


  1. Which design types are best suited to flexbox technology?

    Flexbox is most effective for one-dimensional layouts, such as table-like, columnar, and row-based structures. This technology streamlines webpage development and facilitates the creation of flexible designs by eliminating the need for time-consuming coding solutions and the various position and float values that accompany them.
  2. What are the differences between Flexbox and CSS grid?

    CSS Grid and Flexbox, two similar layout paradigms, can be swapped, but they serve different purposes. Flexbox is employed to create one-dimensional layouts, whereas CSS Grid is used to develop two-dimensional layouts. CSS Grid enables component placement along both the X and Y axes, while Flexbox can only manage placement along the X axis. As a result, Flexbox is a preferable option for one-dimensional layouts.
  3. Is flexbox suitable for mobile devices?

    Flexbox elements are responsive and can adapt their appearance and behaviour according to the size and orientation of the device displaying them. Flexbox enhances component flexibility and offers precise symmetry and positioning.
  4. Where is flexbox not recommended?

    The following are reasons why flexbox is not suitable:
    • Avoid utilising it in design contexts.
    • Avoid using it for presentation purposes and instead use flex containers.
    • Avoid using it during high traffic periods.
  5. Can flexbox be used with Bootstrap?

    Bootstrap 4 is built to support the flexbox layout module, which has replaced the float attribute. Flexbox is an effective method of creating a diverse and sophisticated design layout without using floats or positioning. Flexbox empowers users to construct sophisticated and versatile page designs, allowing them to create a distinctive and aesthetically pleasing look for their webpages.

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