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    npm install superficial

    A library for managing responsive inline styles on React components.

    Superficial allows you to define CSS rules at explicit widths. It automatically generates the values in-between!


    Superficial allows you to define "looks" that are applied to parts of your components. These looks behave like CSS blocks, except you can specify values for explicit widths. Wrap your component with superficial() before you export it, and pass in a width prop. Superficial will calculate the right CSS attributes for whatever width you provide!

    import React from 'react';
    import superficial from 'superficial';
    class MyComponent extends React.Component {
      render() {
        return (
          <h1 looks={[this.looks.header, this.looks.base]}>
            Let's Be Superficial!
    MyComponent.looks = {
      header: {
        // We want the font-size to be 12px when the component is 200 pixels wide,
        // but 20px when the component is 400 pixels wide.
        fontSize: { 200: '12px', 400: '20px' },
      base: {
        // You can also group properties by specifying the width first
        200: {
          // Use your favorite shorthand properties. Superficial will interpolate
          // the values individually
          margin: '0px auto',
          padding: '16px 12px 4px',
        400: {
          margin: '16px auto',
          padding: '8px 18px 14px',
    export default superficial(MyComponent);

    In this example, we specified CSS properties for when the component is 200px wide and 400px wide. But if we pass it an intermediary value, it computes the values for us!

    <MyComponent width={300} />

    The resulting HTML looks like this:

    <h1 style="font-size: 16px; margin: 8px auto; padding: 12px 15px 9px">
      Let's Be Superficial!

    Where does the width come from?

    Superficial's strength comes from the ability to express your component's look as a function of its own width (rather than the document width, as with media queries). Where this really shines is in the ability to determine the width value of child components, as in the following example:

    function SideBySide(props) {
      return (
        <MyComponent width={props.width / 2} />
        <MyComponent width={props.width / 2} />

    Superficial also provides a small <DocumentListener /> component that will automatically pass down the browser width to its children (and listen for any resizing). You can use it like this:

        <App />

    Now your App component will have a width property that matches the clientWidth of the browser page.

    Special cases

    There are a few cases where the Superficial library makes some assumptions about what you intend, where otherwise things might be ambiguous. In the examples below, we show what the resulting value is exactly between two breakpoints. Note that the between function does not exist; it is provided solely to illustrate the library's behavior in certain cases.

    CSS shorthand expressions

    between('5px auto', '15px auto')             // '10px auto'
    between('rgb(0, 0, 0)', 'rgb(50, 150, 250)') // 'rgb(25, 75, 125)'
    between('5px 20px 0', '10px 30px')           // ERROR!
    between('5px 20px 0', 0)                     // '2.5px 10px 0'

    Superficial will interpolate all the values in your string, allowing you to use shorthand CSS values. The library is agnostic to what format you use, and will simply pull out the values from each breakpoint. The format, however, needs to be the consistent for a given CSS property. Mixing different types of shortand (margin: { 100: '15px auto', 400: '20px 5px 10px' }) is not supported. The only exception is that 0 can be applied against an expression of any length.

    Single-Breakpoint expressions

    height: { 500: '100px', 0: 0 }; // Standard definition
    height: { 500: '100px' };       // Syntactic shortcut

    Frequently, it may be valuable to express a single breakpoint, assuming a linear responsiveness for values below. If a property is specified for a given width, it can be assumed that it should scale proportionally below that width. If a single breakpoint is provided, Superficial will treat the expression as though there were an additional breakpoint at 0 width for which the property value is 0.

    Mixing unit and unitless values

    between(0, '15px') // '7.5px'
    between(5, '20em') // '12.5em'

    If you use a value without a unit (for example, border: 0), and at a different width, provide a value with a unit, Superficial will assume it should use the unit throughout that range. So if the nearest neighbor is border: '15px', pixel values will be used in-between.

    Mixing different units

    between('15px', '-20%')  // 'calc(7.5px + (10%))'
    between('25vw', '42rem') // 'calc(12.5vw + (21rem))'

    If you mix units, Superficial will try to handle this gracefully using the CSS calc() function. Note that this may not be supported in legacy browsers, so we recommend you use the same units across breakpoints.

    Using "static" values

    between('15px auto', '0px 5px') // '7.5px auto'
    between('15px', 'inherit')      // 'inherit'
    between('none', '30%')          // 'none'

    Values like auto, inherit, and none don't really make much sense as part of a range of values. If you choose to use them, they will take precedence over their counterparts.


    Bug reports and pull requests are welcome on GitHub at


    The library is available as open source under the terms of the MIT License.




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