Fence Riding Once Again

screenshotApparently the fixed/fluid-width toggle feature here at SimpleBits was a popular one. The latest realign bid farewell to the option, instead settling on a centered, fluid-width layout with a conservative max-width applied. For those that requested it, the ability to toggle between fixed and fluid is now back. There are a few reasons I decided to add it back in:

  1. Well, you asked. Actually, I don’t usually cave in to reader demands, hence my recent useless-but-riveting articles regarding oatmeal cookies and (of all things) the weather.
  2. It’s so dead-simple to implement. Well, after reading this it should be.
  3. Choice can be nice. Since max-width isn’t currently supported by all browsers, giving those readers an easy option for readable line-length seems to me a Good Thing.
  4. It’s fun to play with. Along the same lines as twirling a pencil in your fingers like the drumstick of a spandex-wearing drummer from the 80s.


  1. Doxdesk has a very useful little script called minmax.js that brings max/min-width/height to Internet Explorer. With some conditional comments this could be hidden from all non-IE browsers.

  2. Vyse says:

    I agree twirling a pencil is real fun. I don’t get to do it a lot nowadays, but when in college i “practiced” a lot ;-)

  3. Chris Gwynne says:

    I could never do the pencil twirling thing. Hmm it is a cool trick, going to have to practice.

  4. I’m glad the choice is there, but why did it default to fixed?
    Also, the button looks a bit thrown on.
    Enough moaning, it always takes time for me to adjust to new layouts.

  5. cboone says:

    Rather than use the ALA article, you might want to check out the more up-to-date version of the same thing: Brothercake’s Invasion of the Body Switchers (co-produced with Malarkey).
    It’s a bit more overhead, but a bit more robust and contemporary in action. It works well across browsers and degrades well in those in which it doesn’t work. You can use it harmony with the normal stylesheet switching mechanism (supported by Firefox, for instance), or not.
    And it comes with a manual. Good stuff.

  6. Damien says:

    Thats cool, have to admit I hadnt noticed it until you pointed it out.

  7. James said:
    “but why did it default to fixed?”
    That’s a great question. In fact, I should really make the default fluid. Update coming soon…

  8. Shaun Inman says:

    “It’s fun to play with.”
    And when set to fluid your site looks like it’s wearing a mini bow-tie.
    Okay, nevermind. :)

  9. Ryan Miglavs says:

    I can do the pencil-twirling bit, but I have to admit I’m rubbish at wearing spandex. Therefore, I’ll keep my layout on fixed-width, thank you.

  10. Shaun said:
    “And when set to fluid your site looks like it’s wearing a mini bow-tie.”
    LOL. Always dressed to impress, I say. And folks — that is not a clip-on.

  11. martin says:

    I like to read this site on a portable device. The layout was not designed for a ~400px screen. Scrolling is not fun.

  12. Martin – I’m curious, which portable device are you viewing the site with?

  13. Dan, I like your Style Switcher (it’s good it’s back;-).
    Also the fixed-width default design.
    Maybe not the last re-design/re-align so much, but it’s a matter of personal taste, and it’s you website, so you can do whatever pleases you with the design, right? ;-)

  14. Bryce Sheehan says:

    Pen spinning is always a good time waster for Year 12 lessons going nowhere – or Friday afternoons.
    @ Those who yearn to learn the art of pen spinning: http://pentrix.com/
    Thats where I started off, might go back to it and give the harder ones more of a shot…

  15. Doh! Thought you wouldn’t do it Dan! Noticed it a few days ago before the post, guess you were testing it out a little. I like it…welcome back.

  16. James says:

    Doesn’t one of your books refer to this function on your site? Seems like you would want to keep this feature at least until your book goes out of style….. never!

  17. martin says:

    I am viewing the site on a Dell Axim X51v

  18. Ado says:

    Is the problem with ‘liquid layouts’ from your point of view, that they aren’t bullet-proof?

  19. Yes, i’ve missed the toggle little thingy :) glad to see it again, but i just notice that with a 800×600 resolution the layout doesn´t center and a horizontal scroll appears.
    But great job as usual.

  20. Lynn Deman says:

    Yes…the style switcher is a good idea…always fun to play with…:)
    But could we get a button that reverts back to your previous web-site format…maybe call it “designing in the sun” style…:)…