Simple Guidance For You In CSS Preprocessors

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a style sheet language used for describing the presentation of a document written in a markup language like HTML. CSS is a cornerstone technology of the World Wide Web, near to HTML and JavaScript.

There are many CSS preprocessors to choose from, however, most CSS preprocessors will add some features that don’t exist in pure CSS, such as mixin, nesting selector, inheritance selector, and so on. These features make the CSS structure more readable and easier to maintain.

Here are a few of the most popular CSS preprocessors:

What is SASS?

SASS (Syntactically Awesome Stylesheet) is a CSS pre-processor, which helps to reduce repetition with CSS and saves time. It is a more stable and powerful CSS extension language that describes the style of a document cleanly and structurally.

Use:

  • It is a pre-processing language that provides indented syntax (its own syntax) for CSS.
  • It provides some features, which are used for creating stylesheets that allow writing code more efficiently and is easy to maintain.
  • It is a superset of CSS, which means it contains all the features of CSS and is an open-source pre-processor, coded in Ruby.

Features:

  • It is more stable, powerful, and compatible with versions of CSS.
  • It is a superset of CSS and is based on JavaScript.
  • It uses its own syntax and compiles to readable CSS.
  • You can easily write CSS in less code within less time.
  • It is an open-source pre-processor, which is interpreted into CSS.

Example:

Sass has two syntaxes. The .sass file extension uses the older syntax that is indentation-based and omits semicolons and curly brackets from the code. The newer and more widely used syntax belonging to the .scss file extension. It uses the standard CSS syntax with braces and semicolons.

Below, you can see a basic example of the Sass/SCSS syntax. The code simply declares two variables, $primary-color, and $primary-bg and applies them to the body HTML element.

Syntax 1

/* SCSS */

$primary-color: seashell;
$primary-bg: darkslategrey;

body {
  color: $primary-color;
  background: $primary-bg;
}

Syntax 2

/* Sass */

$primary-color: seashell
$primary-bg: darkslategrey

body
  color: $primary-color
  background: $primary-bg

What is LESS?

LESS is a CSS pre-processor that enables customizable, manageable and reusable style sheet for a website. LESS is a dynamic style sheet language that extends the capability of CSS. LESS is also cross-browser friendly.

Use:

  • Less codes are simple and well organized as compared to CSS
  • Less supports cross-browser compatibility
  • Less is a CSS pre-processor and after compilation, it generates simple CSS which works across the browser.

Features:

  • A cleaner and more readable code can be written in an organized way.
  • We can define styles and it can be reused throughout the code.
  • LESS is based on JavaScript and is a superset of CSS.
  • LESS is an agile tool that sorts out the problem of code redundancy.

Example:

LESS uses the standard CSS syntax with the .less file extension. This implies a substantial .css document is a legitimate .less record too. In this way, it’s extremely simple to get the syntax in the event that you definitely know CSS, regardless of whether LESS has a couple of additional components that you won’t discover in CSS, for example, the @ sign for factors.

Syntax

/* LESS */

@primary-color: seashell;
@primary-bg: darkslategrey;

body {
  color: @primary-color;
  background: @primary-bg;
}

What is STYLUS?

The first version of Stylus was launched one year after LESS, in 2010 by TJ Holowaychuk, a former Node.js developer. The stylus is written in Node.js so that developers can easily integrate it into their Node projects. It was influenced by both Sass and LESS.

Features:

  • Variables have a very clear syntax, we only need to pay attention to the equal sign.
  • Transparent mixins are a unique feature in Stylus.
  • They allow us to add automatic vendor prefixes to newer properties with insufficient browser support.

Example:

Stylus uses the .styl file extension and it allows us to write code in many different ways. We can use the standard CSS syntax, but we can also omit brackets, colons, and/or semicolons or leave out all punctuation altogether.

Syntax 1

/* Stylus standard CSS syntax */

primary-color = seashell;
primary-bg = darkslategrey;

body {
  color: primary-color;
  background: primary-bg;
}

We can remove all punctuation (brackets, semicolons, colons)

Syntax 2

/* Stylus syntax without punctuation */

primary-color = seashell
primary-bg = darkslategrey

body
  color primary-color
  background primary-bg

Conclusion:

All the three CSS pre-processors clarified here pretty much have comparable highlights. They all follow the DRY standard and can perform conditional statements, functions, and operations. Simply pick one as per your coding recognition and start utilizing it in your next project.