Currently I am working on a React version of my portfolio site. I like my Jekyll version, but wanted to compare UX between React and Jekyll. I also wanted to add animation and interactivity which were not present in my Jekyll site.

I came across a design challenge pretty quickly into the project. The “raised footer” issue. Pages which had little or no content meant a footer which failed to stay grounded to the bottom of the page. It was time to add the Flexbox “sticky footer” solution developed by Philip Walton. Suggestions on Github that

html, body {
    height: 100%;
}

would be enough is simply not true. Just check out devices with irregularly great heights like Kindle Fire HD or not so irregular devices like Nexus 10 and see what happens with your footer! better yet, check out your own empty or nearly empty pages!

I also found that React developers seem to have a hard time translating traditional implementations of Flexbox to React DOM configurations. I had that problem at first as well. But then I started examining the structure of my React application from the React point of view, and things became clear pretty quickly.

With a regular HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript application, I would add the Site class to the <body></body> tag:

<body class="Site"></body>

Then I would add the Site-content class to a <div></div> I would create purely for the sake of the flexbox sticky footer:

<body class="Site">
    <div class="Site-content"></div>
</body>

The structure of a React application, however, can confuse matters a bit at first. This is how my React Portfolio’s index.html looks like right now:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
    <head>
        <meta charset="utf-8">
        <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=edge">
        <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1">
        <meta name="description" content="">
        <meta name="author" content="Maria D. Campbell">
        <title>Portfolio Site Built With React</title>
        <!-- CSS -->
        <!-- Fonts -->
  <link href="https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Inconsolata" rel="stylesheet">
    </head>
    <body>
        <div id="root"></div>
    </body>
</html>

And this is what my App.js looks like:

import React, { Component } from 'react';
import {Header} from './components/Header';
import {Main} from './components/Main';
import {Footer} from './components/Footer';

class App extends Component {
	render() {
		return (
			<div className="App Site">
				<div className="Site-content">
					<div className="App-header">
						<Header />
					</div>
					<div className="main">
						<Main />
					</div>
				</div>
				<Footer />
			</div>
		);
	}
}

export default App;

If I were to add the Site class to the <body></body> in index.html and then created a new div below it for the Site-content class, it would not work. Why? because it would mean that the <Footer /> component would end up being included, and that doesn’t do.

So I had to determine what in React would act as the equivalent of the <body></body tag and the proceeding <div></div> tag.

Forget about the <body></body> tag! It’s the <div className="App"></div> which is React’s <body></body> tag. Then, I added a new <div className="Site-content"></div> below that. Notice how the <Footer /> component has been isolated from the rest of the App’s structure?

Lastly, I added the necessary CSS in my _sticky-footer.css POSTCSS module:

:root {
    --space: 1.5em 0;
    --space: 2em 0;
}

.Site {
    display: flex;
    flex-direction: column;
    min-height: 100vh;
}

.Site-content {
    flex: 1 0 auto;
    padding: var(--space) var(--space) 0;
    width: 100%;
}

.Site-content:after {
    content: '\00a0';
    display: block;
    margin-top: var(--space);
    height: 0;
    visibility: hidden;
}

This is based on Philip Walton’s Solved By Flexbox/Sticky Footer. Try it out for yourself and let me know what you think.

My Portfolio Site built with React

Happy coding!

Related Resources:

Solved By FlexBox Sticky Footer