Yo, I’m a backend developer. I’ve been going to meetups about automated testing tools, Docker, and React. My apps have been TDD’d with love. The latest Ruby Rogues podcast about feature flags has got me itching to do a deep dive into that workflow. The interview Developer Tea did with Sam Lambert recently has me daydreaming about becoming a systems engineer down the road. All that wonder and curiosity, and I completely blanked when someone asked me about floats last week.

Most of the time spent in the ‘assets’ portion of my rails apps these past couple of years have been in there to work on jQuery and Coffeescript. What is the silver lining to this? I poked around and discovered flexbox! I’ve been so stuck in 2013 that I’ve been using frameworks with grids to position things.

With flexbox, you can center things horizontally/vertically, position things as a group or override group settings for particular elements, and you can customize behavior based on screen size- all this without heavy reliance on knowing the size of your container. How many pixels? It doesn’t matter.

Flexbox Resources I Used

  1. CSS-Tricks: Guide to Flexbox Props to Chris Coyier for giving a quick and easy-to-follow rundown of the properties of flex containers and their items.

  2. Codepen Don’t you dare read that article the same way you do your Twitter feed at 11:30pm! You can do something simple like what I did- just get yourself up and running with something so you can learn how to control the positioning and flow of your objects.

  3. Flexbox Froggy This open-source game was such an inviting way to keep practicing flexing the flexbox to something other than my boring boxes. You can do all 24 levels in one sitting.

Do I remember what floats do now? Yes, I can use them in my stylesheets to place them on the left or right side of their container.

Will I use them more? Perhaps. Learning about flexboxes has given me one more tool in my toolbox to feel comfortable when I mosey on to the frontend.

What a buy-one-get-one-free moment! Asked one question; got to remind myself of something and learn something completely new, too.

When I was a kid, I remember seeing infommercials for the Encyclopaedia Britannica on TV. I remember thinking it was for rich families because it was something you could pay installments for (must by out-of-this-world expensive if people couldn’t pay for it all together). Anyway, I remember wondering how much smarter these rich families were than me since they didn’t have to go to the library or their classroom and wait their turn to read these things. How priveleged am I now that I have all of this at my fingertips!

Thank you, Universe, for stumping me last week- allowing me to learn and reminding me how lucky I am to have grown with the same thirst for knowlege I had in my childhood.