Deep dive into CSS Preprocessors

On May 31st, I gave this talk at SFHTML5 about CSS Preprocessors:

24 thoughts on “Deep dive into CSS Preprocessors

  1. If I well understand, now I’ve learned and I use LESS, I have to move to SASS… And install Ruby on my machine… Thanks Jonathan to give me some work !!! I was bored with JavaScript conception and frameworks (more than thousand to learn…).

    Thanks for the presentation and call me when you are back in France.

    • Haha don’t worry moving from Less to Sass is very easy, there is actually a converter made by the lead developer of Sass to do it.
      Hum, I don’t think I will go back to France any time soon ;)

  2. I really enjoyed your presentation, Jonathan. I get that you like Sass, but I think that Sass and Stylus have the same features, shouldn’t they be equal on the final graph? Compass is a great helper, but for the ones who love DIY the same can be accomplished with Stylus.

    • I like Stylus too, but the problem is that it really has a smaller community than Sass and Less, that’s why it’s a little bit lower than Sass on the graph. But the point of this graph is to show that even if I consider Sass a better choice, this difference is really small. Your workflow is improved so much – no matter which one you choose – that is doesn’t really matter in the end :)

  3. Hei Jonathan.
    Thank you for this presentation. This is very cool stuff. The way as I try to come more deeply into jQuery I will come into SASS
    I like to become much more efficient in developing templates for our customers. And thats why I like all this fantastic stuff you and everybody arround are building to make the live easier.
    Thank you and all others involved here.

  4. Hi Jonathan,

    On the Less tutorial page, you have a link where you “strongly recommend reading or watching” your CSS Preprocessors talk (“reading” being the operative word).

    Where can I read the transcript of your talk?


  5. Salut Jonathan, thanks for the great presentation!

    We’ve been wrestling with a growing CSS bloat problem for a short while now and we recognise the runaway freight train that it can/will become. Someone here recently proposed BEM as a possible long term solution, and I’m curious whether you’d consider it to be another type of CSS preprocessor – and what comparison you’d make between it and SASS for example?

    • Hi dakisan.
      I haven’t used BEM yet, but from what I remember of my readings (correct me if I’m wrong), it’s constituted of a CSS naming convention and an HTML templating system (or pre-processor). If this is true, then for the CSS part, nothing overlaps between CSS naming convention and CSS pre-processors. You can generate some CSS from Sass that follows the convention just like you would do for any kind of CSS. And for the HTML part, any templating system (like Jade for instance) would work fine too to achieve similar results. But again I didn’t do much research about BEM so feel free to correct me about it if I misunderstood it :)

  6. What do you think about building css with PHP (or any other server side language.)?
    You can benefit the whole features of a programing language, and php is installed on any hosting provider.

    • That is a very interesting question! I actually did for fun my own preprocessor using Java classes to be able to use inheritance. It works great, but the only problem is the syntax. A Java / PHP / Ruby / JavaScript file doesn’t look like CSS at all so you would have to convert all your existing CSS files to Java, which is not super fun and doesn’t look really good. So ideally you would have to implement some sort of parser in Java to read a pseudo-CSS file, and then implement in this pseudo-CSS language all the features you need, like inheritance for instance. And… Well that’s exactly what Sass and Less do ;)

  7. Just a head’s up (you’ve probably heard this by now). You’ve got it backwards: criterion is the singular form, criteria is the plural. A lot of people misuse criteria and you’ve probably heard plenty of that in the States; some people have never heard of the word criterion, except as the name of a fine film production company.

  8. If we are heavily moving to node.js would you say that the lack of community is less of an issue? I ask because in the node world the stylus+jade is likely to be relevant forever, but I don’t want to bet in a technology that will have to be replaced in a couple of years.

    • In a Node environment I would go with Jade / Stylus, the integration is great because it’s maintained by the same guy who does Express :)
      And the community and not that bad !

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