Syntactically Awesome Style Sheets (SASS): The Turbo-Charged CSS

SASS Technology

“I don’t believe in Sass. I write stylesheets by hand. Can you please leave my workflow alone? I don’t want to change it. Go away!”

Though it sounds like an over-dramatization, these words were spoken by a developer when she was forced to take a look at the Sass model while writing CSS. That was the thinking anyway. In reality, Sass is a powerful tool – a tool that any web developer can use daily. It took a while for the developer to come around, but when she did, it all happened for good.

We have been using Sass for the last many years, and as a Sass development company, our efficiency has doubled up after using it. Initially, we too had some misconceptions that prevented us from taking that tiny risk of giving it a go. Our developers follow a certain way of writing and managing stylesheets, and they were worried if they would have to completely alter the way of doing it.

Let’s go out on a limb and say we all know that writing CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is critical to describe how HTML elements must be displayed on a web page to define style, design, layout, and everything you need to create an amazing website. As you go through the pains of creating large, complex websites, you might start to wonder if CSS could handle all that you wanted in there.

What is CSS?

CSS wasn’t originally designed to do the things we do with it today. Advancements like rapid browser innovation and implementation of CSS3 are moving along well, but CSS has its limitations and most of the times we find ourselves bending its properties to get the work done.

A typical CSS file is an extremely linear document which is rarely appealing in an object-oriented programming environment. As web applications are becoming more complex, we are altering the original design of CSS to do things never imagined before. Though there are a lot new features and powerful properties in CSS3, there are still holes to be plugged.

You have heard of DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) principle. It declares, “Every piece of knowledge must have a single, unambiguous, authoritative representation within a system.” The basic idea is that duplicating code can be confusing and cause failure in programming. Write commonly-repeated patterns once and reuse those bits throughout the application – is a thought that comes out of common sense. It’s efficient and easier to maintain code this way.

CSS is anything but DRY. One look at a CSS file and a developer will cry out loud. While CSS is easy to understand and use, web is getting more complicated, more nuanced, and more challenging, and CSS needs to grow and be future-proof to accommodate all those developments. How is it ever going to happen?

Behold. Sass is here.

What is Sass? (Or What Does a Sass Development Company Do)

Sass is a CSS pre-processor, a superset of CSS that adds features that are not available in regular CSS. It helps developers to write cleaner and easier to understand CSS code. It helps to keep things organized and allows you to create stylesheets faster.

A CSS pre-processor is a scripting language that extends CSS by allowing developers to write code in one language and then compile it into CSS. Other less popular preprocessors include Less and Stylus.

Sass provides a simpler, more elegant syntax for CSS and implements various features that are useful for creating manageable stylesheets.

While normal CSS doesn’t allow (yet) things like variables and mixins (reusable blocks of styles), Sass provides a syntax that does all of that and more. Examples of some use cases for it include:

• Building themes.
• Team collaboration using version control.
• Fast prototyping with defined mixins/frameworks.

What Sass Can Do?

Sass comes with an abundance of features including:

Pre-processing: You can write code in .sass or .scss file extensions, save it, and the outcome is a normal .css file that you can serve on your website.

Variables: It is a way to store information that you can reuse throughout your stylesheet. You can store colors, fonts or any CSS value that you will reuse. Any change you want throughout your stylesheet can be done by changing the variable value in one spot. This brings a lot of consistency in design.

Nesting: You can “nest” your CSS selectors in a way that follows the hierarchy of your HTML. For example, you can nest your media queries while coding a responsive website. You don’t have to scroll up and down the CSS file looking for the query you need to modify.

Partials: You can create partial Sass files that contain small snippets of CSS that you can use in other Sass files. This helps in compartmentalizing your CSS, and the project becomes easier to maintain.

Mixins: They are one of the most powerful features of Sass. With the many different vendor prefixes, writing CSS3 styles can be redundant. You may use a mixin to cut out the extra vendor prefixes. Mixins allow for clean code repetitions.

Extending: Using @extend lets you share a set of CSS properties from one selector to another. All of the shared attributes will be coded once and inherited saving developers a lot of time.

Operators: It allows for mathematical operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division with your CSS. So, Sass will display an error if you use invalid units in CSS.

Spericorn as a Sass Development Company

There is no doubt Sass is powerful and has completely revitalized the way we approach our web styling. At the same time, we are also aware that Sass won’t solve all of your problems or cure your bad habits. Inefficient, puffed-up stylesheets will remain inefficient when using Sass. Only when used properly and intelligently, Sass can be of any use in creating stunning websites.

One thing we are sure of is that Sass extends the basic CSS features by providing you with powerful functionalities that will enable you to create superior products. Using Sass, we can write more readable, maintainable and reusable CSS code. It also adds basic programming capabilities to CSS.

As a Sass development company, our experience has taught us to never start from scratch on a new web design project. There are a lot of things that remain the same no matter what new project comes along. Reuse the components and reduce the time – this is the mantra of Sass.

Our hard work in ramping up and spending gazillions of hours getting comfortable with this new way of coding CSS, has started paying off, in the form of rising productivity and more scalable SCSS files. The transition was slow, but we know it’s worth it.

Have a Sass project or thinking how to handle a growing stylesheet? We are interested and would love to chat.