The Top 4 Benefits of Using CSS Preprocessors

This is a walk-through article by one of ClinkIT Solutions’ lead developers providing the benefits of using CSS Preprocessors.

CSS or Cascading Style Sheets refers to the language used to design and present HTML. As an essential part of web development, CSS is what makes web pages look good and load faster through a variety of fonts, colors, and layout options.

But for complex systems or larger projects, CSS can be quite a challenge to use and maintain because it’s a little primitive or incomplete. As the web evolves, there is a continuous need to introduce new specs in order to build a function or re-use a definition.

Pre-processors have advanced features that can make code in CSS extensible, reusable, and maintainable. Because it enables you to plug-in logic into your CSS code, it will eliminate the need to write different vendor versions – creating reusable, maintainable and extensible code in CSS. By using a pre-processor, you can easily increase your productivity, and decrease the amount of code you are writing in a project.

So why CSS preprocessors? Given that user interface and user experience are nowadays just as important as actual usability, websites today are more complex in terms of design. In my opinion, front-end development can be just as tedious – and tools like CSS preprocessors help.

There are several benefits to using CSS preprocessors like SASS (Syntactically Awesome Stylesheets) and LESS (Leaner CSS), but let’s highlight those that we find most useful.

  1. Multiple Files of Preprocessed CSS Code Later Compiled Into One
    For one, they allow you to separate preprocessed CSS code into multiple files and folders that are later on compiled into one stylesheet. This is especially useful when you’re working on a website with a lot of components – it makes it easier for you to navigate through your code when styles need editing. There are a lot of helpful articles that suggest how you can properly maximize this capability such as what is explained here.
  2. Nesting of Style Rules
    Another very appealing capability of these processors is that it basically allows you to write style rules within another style rule so that you don’t have to repeat selectors. This also helps you group parent and children selectors, as well as any added media queries so that your code is not scattered.
  3. Extensibility of Classes
    In addition to that, you can reuse and extend classes or attach a subset of style rules to other classes to reduce redundancies as well.
  4. Reusability of Variables & Snippets of Style Rules
    Lastly, you can even declare your own variables and snippets of style rules that act somewhat like functions with input parameters (“mixins”) that you can keep reusing.

SaSS and Less.js are two of the most popular CSS preprocessors available today.

SaSS

SaSS (Syntactically awesome Style Sheets) is an open-source CSS preprocessor that offers and supports two syntax options to simplify and extend CSS. You need to install Ruby to run it.

Less.js

Less (Leaner Style Sheets) is a JavaScript tool that runs on Node and is designed to extend the default functionalities of CSS.

Conclusion

With the freedom and capabilities that comes from using variables, mixins, and functions, CSS preprocessors can keep your stylesheets well-organized, flexible, reusable, and more maintainable to help you write better and cleaner CSS code.

Whether you’re just getting started with CSS or building complex systems with a preprocessor like Sass or Less.js, you’ll need a dedicated server, advanced web hosting, and a next-generation cloud hosting platform. Contact ClinkIT Solutions to get started.