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This post is part of my Today I learned series in which I share all my web development learnings.

I'm still wrapping my head around container size queries. The concept is clear (I think), but now that they're there, I'm finally catching up.

MDN Compat Data (source)
Browser support info for @container

Manuel Matuzović discovered you can detect a container's portrait or landscape mode with Container Size Queries.

Orientation queries might be the solution to a niche problem, but I think it's exciting and makes a nice demo.


The CSS to make this work is as follows:

.container {
  container-type: size;
  height: 12rem;

@container (orientation: portrait) {
  .portrait {
    display: grid;

  .landscape {
    display: none;

Building this component took me surprisingly long because orientation queries have a big gotcha. If you want to evaluate a container's orientation, you must consider the inline and(!) block size and define container-type: size. And this is where it becomes tricky for browser makers. How would you implement a container query that depends on X and Y axis with the dynamic nature of CSS? I've no idea.

So currently, you have to set an explicit height in all major browsers (Chromium, Safari, Firefox), or your container has zero height if you want to consider both axes in your queries. Badumpts... Container queries and browsers are complicated.

In summary, this functionality makes a fancy demo, but it's hard for me to find a use case for a orienation: portrait when I have to define the component height myself. But hey – today I learned. 😅

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Stefan standing in the park in front of a green background

Frontend nerd with over ten years of experience, "Today I Learned" blogger, conference speaker, Tiny helpers maintainer, and DevRel at Checkly.