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An Event Apart: Preprocessing is for Everybody

Chris Coyier - An Event Apart Talk

At An Event Apart – Austin 2013, Chris Coyier shared his thoughts on CSS Preprocessing, specifically SASS. Here are my take-aways:

  • CSS as a language is not as ‘abstracted’ as it could be, and so preprocessing serves to solve this.
  • Preprocessing involves writing variables, mix-ins which are sets of variables, extends, and other short-hand ways to make writing CSS quicker. Rachel Nabors explains variables, extends and mix-ins here
    • also involves nesting css styles in a more logical way
  • Some additional software can help with writing CSS3 in SASS, such as Compass and AutoPrefixer (a postprocessor)
  • Ways to convince your team:
    • Preprocessing simplifies the process
    • Allows for consistency
    • Makes CSS prefixes a breeze
    • Makes your site faster
  • How to transition to SASS:
    • CSS files are technically valid SCSS files so you can start renaming files to .scss and import them into a global.css
    • Begin by replacing common colors with variables. Just like this.
    • Also begin by nesting a related thing. Just like this.
    • Learning the SASS syntax really takes about an hour
  • Final thought: CSS is meant for computers to understand – so lets make it more productive to write it by preprocessing!
    • Earlier this year, I signed up for Chris Coyier’s video-learning section of his website called, The Lodge. In it, he has a video series where he redesigns his blog, He uses SASS throughout and it was really eye-opening to see it in action throughout the full redesign process. Besides learning SASS techniques, I picked up 100+ new tricks/tips for writing html/css and how to approach website layout (especially how to troubleshoot issues). It’s great to see how another developer builds things and ‘compare notes’.

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