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Table Grid

Every grid to date uses floats or some inline-block hackery. That's so 2013 though, and seeing that it's now 2014, we need something newer, faster, and stronger. So, Table Grid was born.

Check out the example on GitHub Pages at Clone this or download it to give it a whirl for yourself.


This isn't a serious project really, it's just an experiment. I'm curious about the rendering performance of using display: table; as opposed to floats, flex-box, or display: inline-block;. Each option has pros or cons, but in particular I'm focused on the con part:

  • floats require clearing and I have zero idea about rendering performance. They're straightfoward and Just Work™.
  • flex-box has poor rendering last I heard because browsers have to do a lot of repainting to support it. I have no references to this, it's what I've heard. Plus, browser support and what not.
  • display: inline-block; is gnarly because it involves resetting white-space and that's just silly. We shouldn't be resetting that kind of stuff just for a grid system.

So, based on that, display: table; starts to sound kind of interesting. Table layouts, especially ones that include table-layout: fixed; render super fast because browsers only need to render the first row of cells to paint the whole table. That's kind of moot with one row grids like this, but it might help anyway.

How it works

As always, there's a container, row, and a series of columns. It's responsive, too. More specifically:

  • Center the site contents with .container, which has a max-width: 940px;.
  • Wrap a row of columns with .grid. This sets up the table-based grid with display: table;, width: 100%;, and table-layout: fixed;.
  • Columns get the .col base class and an optional width class, like .col-1 or .col-6. There are 12 available column classes, 1-12, for any variety of column combinations.
  • Grid width class is not required. Without them, all columns become equal width via .col alone. Tables, baby!
  • Grids are nestable—just place a new .grid within any .col. Bam.
  • By default, because of how display: table; works, there's no gutters. To add gutters, wrap the .grid in .grid-padded, which adds gutters with border-spacing: 1rem 0;. Sucks, but this is experimental.

All this can be seen in action on the demo page.

What's included

Table Grid has been rebuilt to use Sass (thanks, Jekyll!). Key CSS bits are broken down in _sass:

  • grid-basics.scss contains the container and basic responsive, equal-width column support.
  • grid-columns.scss contains specific column width classes for more granular control (e.g, .col-6 is 50% wide).
  • grid-extras.scss is for alignment and sorting options.

See for details on usage.

Fuck you, where's the real grid?

If you need a nuclear hardened grid system, check out Bootstrap. It's okay.


MIT, (c) Mark Otto 2014.