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Karen Menezes works towards an open, adaptive web that is accessible to all. She has an inexplicable love for CSS and responsive user interfaces. In her downtime, she loves urban gardening, dancing, cooking and filing CSS browser bugs. You can connect with her here.
When they hit the front-end landscape a few years ago, preprocessors were heralded as the saviour of CSS, bringing modularity, meaning and even a degree of sexiness. Terms like “Sass architecture” became commonplace, ushering in a new generation of CSS developers who occasionally went to excess with their new-found power. The results were marvellous, and sometimes undesirable.
One of the unpleasant side effects was a preprocessor elitism that continues to persist. Neophyte designers who were just getting their hands dirty with CSS were overwhelmed by an influx of must-have tools and confused by the bitter partisan wars in web development forums.
CSS’ clip-path property is your ticket to shape-shifting the monotonous, boxy layouts traditionally associated with flat, responsive design. You will begin to think outside the box, literally, and hexagons, stars and octagons will begin to take form on your web pages. Once you get your hands dirty with clip-path, there’s no end to the shapes you can generate, simply by tweaking a few values.
While the focus of this article is on clip-path using polygons with CSS, all of the demos provide a reference to an inline SVG, in order to gain additional support on Firefox. Generating a responsive SVG clipped shape is trivial once you have created a responsive shape with CSS’ clip-path. We’ll look at this in detail later.
Although the syntax might be initially confounding, flexbox lives up to its name. It creates intelligent boxes that are stretchable, squeezable and capable of changing visual order. It provides simple solutions to layout paradigms that CSS has always struggled with: vertical centering and equal heights. Flex items are truly accommodating and a pleasure to work with.
Flexbox truly shines with HTML5 web applications. Most web apps consist of a series of modular, reusable components. You can use flexbox for those bits of layout that induce headaches and that depend on brittle CSS hacks to work. Small modules work very well with flexbox, and you can use floats and other tools for broader sections of the layout.