Sunday, 10 May 2020

Layout techniques

You're all lucky bleeders! You are! These are the days of miracle and wonder (And don't cry baby, don't cry). When I started, I was using tables for layouts and thinking they were the best thing since sliced bread - how could they ever be beat? I even, and this shames me significantly, spent a fair amount of time figuring out how to do rounded corners using tables. That's from 2005, don't you know! Don't blame me for the errors in my youth; even then I had to code things for IE.

I did make a foray into float-based layouts, but since that time I stopped worrying and offloaded the heavy lifting to frameworks for a few years. Until, that is, that last few years when CSS frameworks started to feel a little constraining.

So, in my first book, I took a wander through the different ways of creating a layout. And let me tell you, there are ever-so-many options now!

These are the methods I discuss:

Table based

Float based

Float based with wrapper

Position based

CSS table based

Flexbox based

Grid based

The examples above are different from those in the book because... reasons. I guess that after spending hours and hours staring at them, I've clocked that they could be better, and I've refactored them as a result. The same happened yesterday when I spent hours looking at an experiment from the book.

I've been doing this professionally for something like a decade now, so if I'm not allowed to go back and look at old code and scream like a little girl then Yah, boo, hiss! Of course, the opposite is true, and rarely I'll come across some old code and be blown away at its elegance.

I guess the point of this post though is to remind older, fusty developers (hands-up!) that they don't need to deal with the vagueries of IE6 anymore and can start to embrace some of this new-fangled CSS that's, actually, been around for quite a while! That's not to say that the above will work out-of-the-box on IE11. It's got a dodgy implementation of CSS Grid - but there are ways around that.

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