Cascading style sheets or CSS is a sheet language that is often used to design the look, formatting, etc. of any document written using a markup language. The same is commonly used with HTML to change the style of the website’s user interface and its webpage.

CSS Grid vs Flexbox

Understanding the CSS Grid and Flexbox

  • The CSS grid layout

The CSS Grid Layout is a two-dimensional grid-based layout system that has rows and columns. It is extremely useful in creating complex and organized layouts. One can consider choosing this layout when-

  • You are dealing with complex designs to work with or want maintainable web pages
  • You can add gaps over the block elements

How does the CSS Grid work?

The CSS Grid layout allows you to create a two-dimensional layout model that has both rows and columns. It allows you to create a rigid layout for the webpage so that the same doesn’t change according to your content size.

  • The CSS Flexbox

The CSS Flexbox is a one-dimensional layout that is useful in allocating and aligning the space among the items in a grid container. The same works with various kinds of display devices and screen sizes.

This makes this layout system easy to design especially if you are planning to have responsive web pages (without using several floats and position properties in the CSS code).

To start using the above, you need to create a flex container using a display flex property. Every element inside the same will act as a flex system.

One can consider choosing this layout when –

  • You have a small design to work with using only a few rows and columns
  • You need to align the elements
  • When you are unaware of how your content will look on the page and you wish everything to fit in

How does the CSS Flexbox work?

The Flexbox model allows your content to shape the layout of the webpage. If one of the items of the same has a bigger size then the entire layout would flex to accommodate the different sizes of child elements.

This model doesn’t have the properties to strictly control the layout of the items. For instance – to produce any row with three columns, you need to calculate the width of each child element.

Using Flexbox to style items and webpages

When you have defined the layout according to the size of the content, it is recommended to choose the Flexbox model.

It also allows you to build a better component Libs and design system, and share components across the teams and projects to speed up your development process. It helps to make sure that the users experience a consistent design at touchpoints. To get a better design experience, adopt additional tools like Bit, etc. This helps to build, share and adopt components across teams and applications.

Difference between CSS Grid and Flexbox model 

The grid layout model has a string layout that ensures that the elements do not expand out and fill the space. The grid layout is also rigid and will not allow for the expansion behaviour of the flex-grow property and fill up the available row space.

Here are some of the other major differences between both

CSS Flexbox CSS Grid
This is a one-dimensional model This is a two-dimensional layout model
The container can help you to lay things in a row or column It facilitates laying things both across and down (at once)
It cannot intentionally overlap elements or items in any layout It is possible to create overlapping items
This is content-based and it adjusts itself according to the content This is container-based and operates on a layout level
Flexbox is used for scaling, organising elements, etc. It helps to define a large scale layout using complex and subtle designs

When to choose between Flexbox and grid layout for the web application?

As stated above, the major difference between the Flexbox and Grid layouts is that the former contains a content-first design and the latter uses a layout-first design. The flex model also looks good with your content and this tries to adjust the layout to fit well into the whole content.

The Grid model provides strict control over the design and layout. It ignores the size of the content. Despite all these differences, these are considered complementary technologies that can be used together to build a complex web application layout.

  • One dimensional vs two-dimensional models

The Flexbox helps you to create a solid one-dimensional layout that can be easily expanded or shrunk to suit your element sizes. However, it can be hard to define a strict three-column layout using the same model.

The Grid layout allows you to control the placement of the items in a two-dimensional layout yet it is hard to expand the same to fill the space.

Both Flexbox and Grid layout models are built using a CSS layout model that can be used to develop a responsive layout for all sorts of web applications. Depending on your project requirements, you can choose either one or both of these.

The Grid layout has been specially designed to be used alongside other parts of the CSS and attain a part of the complete package for designing the layout. Grid was designed as a two-dimensional layout that better means flexibility with rows and columns.

  • Dimensions and flexibility

Flexbox offers better control over the alignment, space and distribution between items. The grid has a two-dimensional layout that compensates for the limitations of flexibility.

  • Alignment

Flexbox allows you to align elements either vertically or horizontally. This can be used to reverse rows or columns.

The CSS Grid deploys fractional measure units for achieving Grid fluidity and auto-keywords functionality to adjust to the expectations of the user.

  • Item management

Flex container and flex items are the parent and child elements. These can be used adequately to ensure a balanced representation and in adjusting item dimensions. This allows development teams to design for fluctuations in screen sizes.

The grid supports both implicit and explicit content placement. The automation allows extending line items and copy values into the new elements from the older ones. This is also great for overlapping. On the other hand, overlapping in the Flexbox requires handling traditional stuff like negative margins, absolute positioning, etc. Using Grid you can place these items on the overlapping grid lines and even within the same grid cells.

In conclusion

CSS Grid and Flexbox are two new layout systems that have been added to Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) in order to give designers more control over their layouts. They  use the same CSS properties. to design layouts without any content, with a lot of flexibility and customization in mind. The difference between these two methods is in the syntax.

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