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grid-kiss: Keep CSS Grids simple, stupid

This is a PostCSS plugin aiming to replace the 24 new properties brought by CSS Grids with a single one that you immediately understand when you see it.

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Table of contents

Examples

Try it online

Try the different examples and play with the plugin on the playground. Edit the CSS and HTML on the left and the grid will be updated instantly.

Basic website layout

body {
	grid-kiss:
		"+-------------------------------+      "
		"|           header ↑            | 120px"
		"+-------------------------------+      "
		"                                       "
		"+-- 30% ---+  +--- auto --------+      "
		"| .sidebar |  |       main      | auto "
		"+----------+  +-----------------+      "
		"                                       "
		"+-------------------------------+      "
		"|              ↓                | 60px "
		"|         → footer ←            |      "
		"+-------------------------------+      "
}

is converted to:

body > header {
	grid-area: header;
	align-self: start
}

body > .sidebar {
	grid-area: sidebar
}

body > main {
	grid-area: main
}

body > footer {
	grid-area: footer;
	justify-self: center;
	align-self: end
}

body {
	display: grid;
	align-content: space-between;
	grid-template-rows: 120px 1fr 60px;
	grid-template-columns: 30% 1fr;
	grid-template-areas: 
	"header  header"
	"sidebar main  "
	"footer  footer"
}

which displays this kind of grid layout:

example-result

Responsive layouts

Use different grid-kiss declarations in media queries to easily get responsive layouts. It is recommended to start by the grid on small screens, then use media queries to progressively enhance your layouts on wider screens.

responsive-layout

Installation

npm install postcss-grid-kiss --save-dev
yarn add postcss-grid-kiss --dev

Usage

If you never used PostCSS before, read PostCSS usage documentation first.

  • with command line interface :
postcss src/your.css --output dist/compiled.css --use postcss-grid-kiss
  • with Node:
const postcss  = require('postcss'),
      gridkiss = require('postcss-grid-kiss');

postcss([ gridkiss ])
    .process(css, { from: 'src/your.css', to: 'compiled.css' })
    .then(function (result) {
        fs.writeFileSync('compiled.css', result.css);
        if( result.map ) fs.writeFileSync('compiled.css.map', result.map);
    });

Read PostCSS documentation to make it work with Webpack, Gulp or your other build system.

Fallback for older browsers

CSS Grid Layout is a W3C Candidate Recommandation supported in all the evergreen browsers. It is available in Chrome 57, Firefox 52, Safari 10.1, Edge 16 and Opera 44. It is also supported on mobile iOS Safari and Chrome for Android. See Can I Use for more information on browser support.

For browsers not supporting CSS Grid Layout, Grid-kiss proposes a fallback that use absolute positionning and calc() operator. It uses a @supports query to only apply on non-supported browsers, and does not involve JavaScript.

With this fallback, Grid-kiss layouts will work on any browser supporting calc(), which is like 95% of browsers. But you should note that a fallback based on absolute positionning has some limitations:

  • It is only a fallback for grid-kiss declarations. The reason this fallback works is because of the constraints designed by purpose for grid-kiss layouts. Other Grid Layout properties such as grid-gap are not covered by this fallback.
  • New dimensions properties defined in the Grid layout specification such as min-content, max-content, minmax(), fit-content also are not supported
  • Zones with position: absolute are out of the flow. This implies that the container will no longer resize based on the zones content. Grid-kiss tries to calculate the total size of the grid when possible. If one of the rows/columns dimensions is auto or a fraction of the remaining space (fr), the height/width is set to 100%.
  • Grid-kiss adds the property box-sizing: border-box to each zone so that they don't overlap because of their padding or border size. If you don't already use this property, it may change a bit the zones dimensions.
  • The CSS output is significally bigger, between 2x and 3x in size depending on the targeted browsers

Internet Explorer does not support @supports 🙄 , so Grid-kiss needs to add another media query hack that is known to run only on IE: @media screen and (min-width:0\0). This extends support from IE9 to IE11 at the cost of a bigger output size. If you don't care about Internet Explorer support and want to reduce the output size, you should omit IE in your browserslist.

By default, Grid-kiss is looking in your browserslist config for the list of supported browsers and automatically deduce what fallbacks are needed for your project by using Can I Use data. You can override this automatic detection with the fallback option explained below.

Options

Grid-kiss comes with a few options:

postcss([ gridkiss({ ...options }) ])

fallback : add fallback for browsers not supporting CSS Grid Layout

Note: it is recommended to use automatic detection through browserslist instead of using this option. See Fallback section.

If this option is provided, it overrides automatic detection and tells explicitely whether to add or not the fallback styles to the output.

postcss([ gridkiss({ fallback: true }) ]) // always add all fallbacks
postcss([ gridkiss({ fallback: false }) ]) // never add any fallback

optimize - reduce output size

This option (enabled by default) reduces the size of the output while keeping it readable. It does so by merging grid properties and renaming zone identifiers. For complete minification, use it with cssnano.

Set this option to false if you prefer a more verbose and descriptive output. Try to toggle the option in the playground to compare the outputs.

postcss([ gridkiss({ optimize: false }) ])

selectorParser - apply custom transforms to zone selectors

This option receives a function that is applied on the selectors you wrote in the zones. This is useful to add your own transforms or selector syntax, for example to use component names in a component-based framework like Vue or React.

postcss([ 
  gridkiss({ 
    selectorParser: function (selector) {
      if (/[A-Z]/.test(selector[0])) {
        return `[data-component-name='${selector}']`
      }
      return selector
    }
  }) 
])

Alternative styles

These alternative styles for zone syntax are also supported :

  • ┌ ┐ └ ┘ for corners and │ ─ for segments
div {
	grid-kiss:		   
	"┌──────┐  ┌──────┐         "
	"│      │  │  ↑   │         "
	"│      │  │ bar →│  200px  "
	"│  ↓   │  └──────┘         "
	"│ baz  │              -    "
	"│  ↑   │  ┌──────┐         "
	"│      │  │  ↑   │  200px  "
	"└──────┘  │      │         "
	"          │ foo  │    -    "
	"┌──────┐  │      │         "
	"│ qux  │  │  ↓   │  200px  "
	"│  ↓   │  │      │         "
	"└─20em─┘  └──────┘         "
}
  • ╔ ╗ ╚ ╝ for corners and ║ ═ for segments
main {
	grid-kiss:		   
	"╔═══════╗  ╔════════════════╗      "
	"║       ║  ║    .article    ║ auto "
	"║   ↑   ║  ╚════════════════╝      "
	"║  nav  ║  ╔════╗  ╔════════╗      "
	"║       ║  ║    ║  ║ aside →║ 240px"
	"╚═ 25% ═╝  ╚════╝  ╚═ 80em ═╝      "
}

Documentation

How to draw a grid

  • Draw the different zones of your grid as shown in the example. You can use some tools like AsciiFlow.
  • Inside every zone, write a selector that matches the corresponding element. See Values accepted for selectors
  • The elements matched have to be direct descendants of the grid element
  • Separate each row by a newline (\n) and give the same indentation level to every row
  • Make sure each row starts and end by a double quote "
  • Make sure the zone corners (+) are correctly aligned. Every index in the rows where a corner character is found creates a new column.
  • Do not hesitate to make large zones with unused space, it may be useful for future modifications
  • Use Insert. key and Multi-cursor if supported by your editor to draw and edit your grids easily

Values accepted for selectors

Inside each zone, you can write a selector to associate a zone to a DOM element. It can be a tag name, a .class, an #id, or any.other[valid]#selector.

Since 1.2.0, selectors in zones may use some shortened notations specific to grid-kiss, although using a class is still the recommended method.

  • :1*:nth-child(1)
  • button:2button:nth-of-type(2)

Since 1.4.0, you can also apply custom transforms and make your own syntax with the selectorParser option

Dimensions of rows

Declare the size of a row by writing the dimension just after the last column of the grid

+------+  +------+ --- 
|  ^   |  | .bar | 40em
|      |  +------+ --- 
| .baz |               
|      |  +------+ --- 
|  v   |  |  ^   | 38em
+------+  |      | --- 
          | .foo |     
+------+  |      | --- 
| .qux |  |  v   | 40em
+------+  +------+ --- 

The - separators between dimensions are not mandatory, they are only here to make the grid more readable.

Dimensions of columns

Declare the size of a column by writing the dimension inside the top or bottom border of a zone:

+-- 640px --+      +----------+
|  selector |  or  | selector |
+-----------+      +---30%----+

You cannot set the width of a zone occupying more than one column. This would imply some calculations that may or may not have a solution. As an alternative, you can declare the size of a column just after the last row of the grid:

+-------------+ +-----+        +-------------+ +-20%-+
|  .bigzone   | |     |        |  .bigzone   | |     |
+-------------+ +-----+        +-------------+ +-----+            
+-----+ +-------------+   or   +-----+ +-------------+
|     | |  .bigzone2  |        |     | |  .bigzone2  |
+-----+ +-------------+        +-20%-+ +-------------+
| 20% | | 60% | | 20% |                | 60% |                 

The | separators between dimensions are not mandatory, they are only here to make the grid more readable.

Dimensions of gaps

You can also declare the dimension of spacing between zones the same way you do with rows and columns. These spaces are called gaps and act like empty zones. The example below defines gaps of 50px.

+-----+      +-----+      +-----+  ----
| .nw |      | .n  |      | .ne | 100px
+-----+      +-----+      +-----+  ----
                                   50px
+-----+      +-----+      +-----+  ----
| .w  |      |     |      | .e  | 100px
+-----+      +-----+      +-----+  ----
                                   50px
+-----+      +-----+      +-----+  ----
| .sw |      | .s  |      | .se | 100px
+-----+      +-----+      +-----+  ----
|100px| 50px |100px| 50px |100px|      

Values accepted for dimensions

Dimensions can be any of the specified values:

  • a non-negative length.

    • 15px
    • 4rem
  • a non-negative percentage value, optionally with a context keyword

    • 20%
    • 25% free25fr
    • 30% grid30%
    • 5% view5vw or 5vh depending on the direction
  • a non-negative number representing a fraction of the free space in the grid container.

    • 55fr
  • max or max-content: a keyword representing the largest maximal content contribution of the grid items occupying the grid track

  • min or min-content: a keyword representing the largest minimal content contribution of the grid items occupying the grid track

  • a range between a minimum and a maximum or minmax(min, max)

    • 100px - 200pxminmax(100px, 200px)
  • > *length* or < *length*: a minimum or maximum value

    • > 100pxminmax(100px, auto)
    • < 50%minmax(auto, 50%)
  • fit *length* or fit-content(*length*): a keyword representing the formula min(max-content, max(auto, length)), which is calculated similar to auto (i.e. minmax(auto, max-content)), except that the track size is clamped at argument length if it is greater than the auto minimum.

    • fit 100pxfit-content(100px)
  • calc( expr ) : an expression using native calc() CSS function

  • auto: a keyword representing one part of the remaining free space, i.e. 1fr. When used as a maximum value, it is equal to max-content. When used as a minimum value, it it is equal to min-content.

When no value is specified, row and column sizes are set as auto

Horizontal alignment of the grid

Specifies how all the zones are aligned horizontally inside the grid container. Irrelevant if one of the zones fits all the remaining free space.

  • justify-content: stretch when there are no two consecutive spaces at the beginning or the end of the rows
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"| a | | b | | c |"
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"| d | | e | | f |"
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"| g | | h | | i |"
"+---+ +---+ +---+"

grid-justify-content-stretch

  • justify-content: start when there are two consecutive spaces or more at the end of the rows
"+---+ +---+ +---+    "
"| a | | b | | c |    "
"+---+ +---+ +---+    "
"+---+ +---+ +---+    "
"| d | | e | | f |    "
"+---+ +---+ +---+    "
"+---+ +---+ +---+    "
"| g | | h | | i |    "
"+---+ +---+ +---+    "

grid-justify-content-start

  • justify-content: end

when there are two consecutive spaces or more at the beginning of the rows

"    +---+ +---+ +---+"
"    | a | | b | | c |"
"    +---+ +---+ +---+"
"    +---+ +---+ +---+"
"    | d | | e | | f |"
"    +---+ +---+ +---+"
"    +---+ +---+ +---+"
"    | g | | h | | i |"
"    +---+ +---+ +---+"

grid-justify-content-end

  • justify-content: center when there are two consecutive spaces or more at the beginning and the end of the rows
"    +---+ +---+ +---+    "
"    | a | | b | | c |    "
"    +---+ +---+ +---+    "
"    +---+ +---+ +---+    "
"    | d | | e | | f |    "
"    +---+ +---+ +---+    "
"    +---+ +---+ +---+    "
"    | g | | h | | i |    "
"    +---+ +---+ +---+    "

grid-justify-content-center

  • justify-content: space-between when there are two consecutive spaces or more between zones
"+---+    +---+    +---+"
"| a |    | b |    | c |"
"+---+    +---+    +---+"
"+---+    +---+    +---+"
"| d |    | e |    | f |"
"+---+    +---+    +---+"
"+---+    +---+    +---+"
"| g |    | h |    | i |"
"+---+    +---+    +---+"

grid-justify-content-space-between

  • justify-content: space-evenly when there are two consecutive spaces or more at the beginning and the end of the rows, and exactly two consecutive spaces between zones
"    +---+  +---+  +---+    "
"    | a |  | b |  | c |    "
"    +---+  +---+  +---+    "
"    +---+  +---+  +---+    "
"    | d |  | e |  | f |    "
"    +---+  +---+  +---+    "
"    +---+  +---+  +---+    "
"    | g |  | h |  | i |    "
"    +---+  +---+  +---+    "

grid-justify-content-space-evenly

  • justify-content: space-around when there are two consecutive spaces or more at the beginning and the end of the rows, and four consecutive spaces or more between zones
"  +---+    +---+    +---+  "
"  | a |    | b |    | c |  "
"  +---+    +---+    +---+  "
"  +---+    +---+    +---+  "
"  | d |    | e |    | f |  "
"  +---+    +---+    +---+  "
"  +---+    +---+    +---+  "
"  | g |    | h |    | i |  "
"  +---+    +---+    +---+  "

grid-justify-content-space-around

Vertical alignment of the grid

Specifies how all the zones are aligned vertically inside the grid container. Irrelevant if one of the zones fits all the remaining free space.

  • align content: stretch when no space rows
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"| a | | b | | c |"
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"| d | | e | | f |"
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"| g | | h | | i |"
"+---+ +---+ +---+"

grid-align-content-stretch

  • align-content: start when at least one space row at the end
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"| a | | b | | c |"
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"| d | | e | | f |"
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"| g | | h | | i |"
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"                 "
"                 "

grid-align-content-start

  • align-content: end when at least one space row at the beginning
"                 "
"                 "
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"| a | | b | | c |"
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"| d | | e | | f |"
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"| g | | h | | i |"
"+---+ +---+ +---+"

grid-align-content-end

  • align-content: center when at least one space row at the beginning and one space row at the end
"                 "
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"| a | | b | | c |"
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"| d | | e | | f |"
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"| g | | h | | i |"
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"                 "

grid-align-content-center

  • align-content: space-between when there is one space row between zones
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"| a | | b | | c |"
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"                 "
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"| d | | e | | f |"
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"                 "
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"| g | | h | | i |"
"+---+ +---+ +---+"

grid-align-content-space-between

  • align-content: space-evenly when there is one space row at the beginning, at the end and between zones
"                 "
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"| a | | b | | c |"
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"                 "
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"| d | | e | | f |"
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"                 "
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"| g | | h | | i |"
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"                 "

grid-align-content-space-evenly

  • align-content: space-around when there is one space row at the beginning and at the end, and two space rows between zones
"                 "
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"| a | | b | | c |"
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"                 "
"                 "
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"| d | | e | | f |"
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"                 "
"                 "
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"| g | | h | | i |"
"+---+ +---+ +---+"
"                 "

grid-align-content-space-around

Horizontal alignment inside a zone

Each zone can specify an alignment indicator. When no indicators are specified, defaults are stretch horizontally and vertically.

  • justify-self: start with < or
+-------------+    +-------------+  
| .item-a  <  | or | .item-a  ←  |
+-------------+    +-------------+

grid-justify-self-start

  • justify-self: end with > or
+-------------+    +-------------+
|  >  .item-a | or |  →  .item-a |
+-------------+    +-------------+

grid-justify-self-end

  • justify-self: stretch with < and > or and in this order
+--------------+    +--------------+
| < .item-a  > | or | ← .item-a  → |
+--------------+    +--------------+

grid-justify-self-stretch

  • justify-self: center with > and < or and in this order
+--------------+    +--------------+
| > .item-a  < | or | → .item-a  ← |
+--------------+    +--------------+

grid-justify-self-center

Vertical alignment inside a zone

  • align-self: start with ^ or
+-------------+    +-------------+
|   .item-a   | or |   .item-a   |
|      ^      |    |      ↑      |
+-------------+    +-------------+

grid-align-self-start

  • align-self: end with v or
+-------------+    +-------------+
|      v      | or |      ↓      |
|   .item-a   |    |   .item-a   |
+-------------+    +-------------+

grid-align-self-end

  • align-self: stretch with ^ and v or and in this order
+-------------+    +-------------+
|      ^      |    |      ↑      |
|   .item-a   | or |   .item-a   |
|      v      |    |      ↓      |
+-------------+    +-------------+

grid-align-self-stretch

  • align-self: center with v and ^ or and in this order
+-------------+    +-------------+
|      v      |    |      ↓      |
|   .item-a   | or |   .item-a   |
|      ^      |    |      ↑      |
+-------------+    +-------------+

grid-align-self-center

New lines and position of alignement characters do not matter. Just make it visually understandable.


Credits for images : CSS Tricks