As a webdeveloper you probably know how image/media behavior sucks regarding responsive webdesign. Some quick CSS fixes solve your issues usually:

img {
    max-width: 100%;
    height: auto;

But there is more than that. You may want to set an foreground image to fill its wrapping element, containing its intrinsic aspect-ratio and also want it to be repositioned always to center. Or, if you ever wanted to resize an iframe responsively in its initial aspect-ratio you might got into real trouble. Of course there are fixes for that kind of problem, too, but they all in all one can say:

Media resizing behavior is outta control!

Let's fix that

Yes, we're going to fix this now. There's a webstandard for it, it's the CSS property called object-fit. With that you'll set an media-element's size like you've been able to set for background images via background-size for a long time now. object-fit can have the following values:

img {
    /* Fills image into the parent element so it's fully covered. Contains aspect-ratio. */
    object-fit: cover;

    /* Fills image into the parent element so the img is fully shown. Can create letterboxes. */
    object-fit: contain;

    /* Fills image into the parent element so it's fully covered. Shrinks image, not respecting aspect-ratio. */
    object-fit: fill;

But browser support is as following:

| Browser | natively? | |----------|------------| | Internet Explorer | - | | Google Chrome | v31+ | | Firefox | v36+ | | Safari OS X | 7.1+ | | Safari iOS | 8+ | | Opera | v19+ |

Fix the browser support

As the browser support is not that good I wanted to have a interim solution. If you wanna depend on jQuery there also is a polyfill. The problem is, this polyfill isn't that performant as it calculates the image sizing live at runtime.
When I started to write a vanilla JavaScript polyfill I realized the very same problem. While the solution I chose kind of worked, it didn't please me. Fortunately, when I asked Christian Schaefer for a code review, he came up with a much smarter idea.

Christian rewrote the whole code to work with CSS classes that are applied via JavaScript depending on the current 'situation' / 'state' of the image in a container. Additionally we wrap an x-tag around the image element to be able to apply a CSS-only style solution. This way there's no need to constantly calculate sizes of the image to drastically improve the performance of the polyfill.

Well, enough said—check out the object-fit Polyfill on GitHub. It's also available via bower and npm. Simply enter the following into your command line:

npm install object-fit


bower install object-fit

And this will get you the polyfill as a component. By the way, there is no need for Modernizr. We have a neat and very small feature-test baked right into the polyfill.

Thanks to Christian for his great support and contributions!


Anselm is founder of Colloq, freelance frontend developer and publishes an industry-leading web development newsletter.

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