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Use CSS Clamp to create a more flexible wrapper utility (on Piccalilli)

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Here’s Andy Bell recommending using CSS clamp() to control your wrapper/container width because it supports setting a preferred value in vw to ensure sensible gutters combined with a maximum tolerance in rem—all in a single line of code.

If we use clamp() to use a viewport unit as the ideal and use what we would previously use as the max-width as the clamp’s maximum value, we get a much more flexible setup.

The code looks like this:

.container {
width: clamp(16rem, 90vw, 70rem);
margin-left: auto;
margin-right: auto;
}

This is pretty cool because I know from experience that coding responsive solutions for wrappers can be tricky and you can end up with a complex arrangement of max-width and media queries whilst still—as Andy highlights—not providing optimal readability for medium-sized viewports.

Using CSS Grid with minmax() is one possible approach to controlling wrappers however this article offers another (potentially better) tool for your kit.

It’s worth noting that Andy could probably have just used width: min(90vw, 70rem) here (as Christopher suggested) because setting the lower bound provided by clamp() is only necessary if your element is likely to shrink unexpectedly and a regular block-level element wouldn’t do that. The clamp approach might be handy for flex items, though.

(via @piccalilli_)

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