Sass Introduction

CSS is crafted to be simple, but overtime your styles become large and your files become bloated with selectors grwoing out of control. Scaling simplicity is difficult. When you scale css:

  • Slight variations of colors, fonts, numbers,
    & other properties arise
  • Effective curbing of repetition can decline.
  • Stylesheet size may become unmanageable

Enter Sass, the Syntactically Awesome Stylesheets.

What is Sass?

Here is what Sass is:

  • Looks like CSS, but adds features to combat shortcomings.
  • Preprocessor, like CoffeeScript & Haml
  • Sassy CSS (.scss) is the default file extension.
  • CSS is valid SCSS

style.scss

$main: #444;
.btn {
	color: $main;
	display: block;
}
.btn-a {
	color: lighten($main, 30%);
	&:hover {
		color: lighten($main, 40%);
	}
}

style.css

.btn {
	color: #444444;
	display: block;
}
.btn-a {
	color: #919191;
}
.btn-a:hover {
	color: #aaaaaa;
}

Comments

Sass adds // for single line comments – not output after compile

style.scss

// These comments will
// not be output to the
// compiled CSS file
/* This comment will */

style.css

/* This comment will */

Avoid CSS @import

The CSS @import rule should be avoided to as it prevents parallel downloading. @import with .scss or .sass happens
during compile rather than client-side. Which file extension to use is optional.

application.scss

// Imports styles found in 'buttons.scss'
// when the compiler processes application.scss
@import "buttons";

Partials

Adding an underscore creates a partial. Partials can be
imported, but will not compile to .css

application.scss

// Will import _buttons.sass, buttons.sass,
// _buttons.scss, or buttons.scss
@import "buttons";

Nesting Selectors

Consider the Sass file below:

.content {
	border: 1px solid #ccc;
	padding: 20px;
}
.content h2 {
	font-size: 3em;
	margin: 20px 0;
}
.content p {
	font-size: 1.5em;
	margin: 15px 0;
}

When compiled the CSS output will look like:

.content {
	border: 1px solid #ccc;
	padding: 20px;
}
.content h2 {
	font-size: 3em;
	margin: 20px 0;
}
.content p {
	font-size: 1.5em;
	margin: 15px 0;
}

Pretty much the same. The whole point of using Sass is to structure you styles in a way easier for you to interprete what you are intedning to do. Now look at the following Sass file:

.content {
	border: 1px solid #ccc;
	padding: 20px;
}

h2 {
	font-size: 3em;
	margin: 20px 0;
}
p {
	font-size: 1.5em;
	margin: 15px 0;
}

This will generate the same CSS file as above, but we have nested selectors in our Sass file.

Nesting Properties

Certain properties with matching namespaces are nestable:

.btn {
	text: {
		decoration: underline;
		transform: lowercase;
	}
}
.btn {
	text-decoration: underline;
	text-transform: lowercase;
}

While nesting, the & symbol references the parent selector:

application.scss

.content {
	border: 1px solid #ccc;
	padding: 20px;
	.callout {
		border-color: red;
	}
	&.callout {
		border-color: green;
	}
}

application.css

.content {
	border: 1px solid #ccc;
	padding: 20px;
}
.content .callout {
	border-color: red;
}
.content.callout {
	border-color: green;
}

Above, & references .content

application.scss

a {
	color: #999;
	&:hover {
		color: #777;
	}
	&:active {
		color: #888;
	}
}

 

application.css

.sidebar {
	float: right;
	width: 300px;
}
.sidebar h2 {
	color: #777;
}
.users .sidebar h2 {
	color: #444;
}

Nesting is easy, but dangerous, so do not nest unnecessarily.

Here’s an example where over-using nesting can become messy.

application.scss

.content {
	background: #ccc;
	.cell {
		h2 {
			a {
				&:hover {
					color: red;
				}
			}
		}
	}
}

 

application.css

.content {
	background: #ccc;
}
.content .cell h2 a:hover {
	color: red;
}

Here the outcome has a dangerous level of specificity.

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