Praveen Puglia Web Developer

Reusing Areas In CSS Grid

I have been playing around with CSS Grids for some time now and it has been an extremely delightful experience. So much so that I have submitted a talk proposal at MetaRefresh 2017. If it gets selected, it’s gonna be my first time ever speaking at a conference. I am nervous. If you are gonna be at MetaRefresh and wanna know about Grids, go vote! 😊

Back to the topic…

Grid has areas. We can define the entire layout with area names and ASCII art. For example -

.container {
    display: grid;
    grid-template-areas:
        "header header"
        "main  sidebar"
        "footer footer";
}
/* Assign areas...*/
.page-header {
    grid-area: header;
}
...

This is going to generate a standard two column layout grid. Something like this… Two column layout using CSS Grid areas

What’s great about area names is that we can reuse them. Confusing? Let me give an example.

Say we are creating a comments section for a blog which has to look like this. Comments section from a typical blog

And if we add a little bit of borders, we see how the grid should be constructed. Comments layout with grid lines

It’s clear that the avatar and the comment(input/text) is used exactly the same way in both the places. So, we should be able to create two grids, both of which can dedicate a place for avatar and the comment. Here’s what I mean. Depicting areas.

Here’s how that might look in code.


<!-- Comment Area -->
<div class="comment-input">
  <div class="avatar"></div>
  <div class="input">
    <!-- in real world, there'll be a text area in here! -->
    Your comments here...
  </div>
</div>

<!-- Comment List -->
<ul class="comment-list">

  <li class="comment-item">
    <div class="avatar"></div>
    <div class="comment">
      Your comment...
    </div>
    <div class="meta">
      few minutes ago... by Praveen Puglia
    </div>

    <!-- Nested Thread -->
    <ul class="comment-list">
      <li class="comment-item">
        <div class="avatar"></div>
        <div class="comment">
          Your comment...
        </div>
        <div class="meta">
          few minutes ago... by Someone Else
        </div>
      </li>
    </ul>
    <!-- Nested Thread Ends -->
  </li>
</ul>

… & relevant CSS.

.avatar {
  grid-area: avatar;
  height: 64px;
  width: 64px;
}
/* Comment Input */
.comment-input {
  display: grid;
  grid-template-columns: 64px 1fr;
  grid-template-areas: 'avatar comment';
}
.input {
  grid-area: comment;
}

/* Comment List */
.comment-list {
  /* To make sure that nested threads take up the entire width of the grid. */
  grid-column-end: span 2;
}
.comment-item {
  display: grid;
  grid-template-columns: 64px 1fr;
  grid-template-areas: 
    'avatar comment' 
    'meta meta';
}
.comment {
  grid-area: comment;
}
.meta {
  grid-area: meta;
}

Things to notice,

  • We declared two grids which greatly describe the relation among different elements.
  • We totally reused the area names avatar and comment among the grids.
  • We reused the .avatar element in both the places.
  • We created two different elements .input & .comment which belong to the same area in both the grids but we still can style them individually.

To me, grid, in this case and many more like it, is doing a great job at establishing relationships among elements used on page and making it easy to understand for humans.

Here’s the final demo!

See the Pen A Generic Comments Section - Using CSS Grids by Praveen Puglia (@praveenpuglia) on CodePen.

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