$container: 1288px !default;
$gutter: 40px !default;
$columns: 12 !default;

$container is primarily used with the container() mixin and class, that set a max width for the page including padding on the left and right of $gutter. $columns is used to set the default number of columns when using candlepin mixins and classes.

Using Container

Best practice for using container is to use either the mixin or the class:

.example {
    @include container;
<div class="container">
    // ...

This sets a max width, padding, margins, and position: relative. Note that because Boilerplate sets a default box-sizing of border-box, the paddings are included in the max width: so, 1288px with 40px gutters gives you 1208px for your content.


While you should feel free to use candlepin directly as well, Boilerplate provides a prebuilt grid() mixin and class as well.

.example {
    @include grid;

grid() defaults to a single column up to md, two columns from md to lg, three columns from lg to xl, and four columns above that, with fixed vertical and horizontal gutters of $gutter.

Columns (Deprecated)

Lastly, there’s still included a deprecated columns() mixin and class. While it still works, both flex and grid are simpler, more robust, and result in cleaner markup.