Theoretical Framework

In On the Relationship Between Old and New Technologies, Haas describes the simple replacement model "which assumes that old and new technologies are clearly differentiated from one another, both theoretically and in practice, and that new technologies simply replace older, obsolete technologies" (210). The simple replacement model does not work does not concur within the scope of my project. Flexbox has worked its way up to becoming a W3C candidate recommendation. It has existed and does exist within the realm of other types of grid systems, mainly grid. Flexbox has not replaced Grid; they are both supported and have different uses. While Flexbox may be better for aligning items, Grid is better for complex layouts. A "simple replacement" of technologies does not exist. Flexbox is still developing from its initial working draft. It is becoming easier to do 2D layouts with Flexbox and the more designers play around with it and create tutorials, the more possibilities Flexbox can offer.

Even though Flexbox is one of the newest, updated grid technologies it has not completely replaced other grid technologies. The simple replacement model is not as simple as Haas describes. The replacement model partially worked in the case of <table> and grid because grid allowed for responsive layouts not possible in <table>. However, some people still choose display:table as their go to for grid layout. Flexbox cannot do everything grid can, but it does allow for more flexibility, hence its name. With Grid, content is arranged in the order it's coded. By default, Flexbox will arrange items in source order. However, with one simple property the order can be changed.


Vygotsky challenges Haas’ simple replacement model, noting it would be very unlikely because of “meditational means—that is, technology—is tied inextricably to social and cultural structures, on the one hand, and individual goals and practices on the other” (Haas, 212). Meditational means are the support behind many technologies such as <table>. The design for grid-based technology developed through the need to have information relayed properly. The human activity of reading a newspaper was translated into a grid-based design. A Vygotskian approach on studying technology suggests “multiple technologies for literacy exist”, “their history-of-use is complex and overlapping” and “technology’s uses are tied intrinsically to other human activities” (213). Aside from newspapers, other print items like articles and brochures are mimicked through grid technology. This original concept design remains for Grid and Flexbox, but as the technology improves it can be adapted to replicate almost any print source.

As Vygotsky proposes, technology is overlapping which is true with Flexbox and Grid. Instead of choosing Flexbox or Grid, using them together could create the best complex, responsive layout. Flexbox can be used for alignment of items and Grid for stability with nesting. Flexbox can act as a stand-alone layout design. The more it improves, the less designers will rely on technologies like Grid, which has more support. The transition from one technology to another can be slow, as seen in this case. Grid came out in 2007 and Flexbox in 2009. They were developed concurrently for several years, but Flexbox was not completely supported until October 2015.