8 CSS preprocessors to speed up development time
The Web Dev Zone is brought to you in partnership with Mendix. Discover how IT departments looking for ways to keep up with demand for business apps has caused a new breed of developers to surface - the Rapid Application Developer.
CSS allow you to do lots of things, but some features are missing to developers. What about variable, constants, and general faster syntax? As normal CSS can’t do that, people created preprocessors to allow the use of variables on CSS files and then parse it to regular stylesheets.
Less is probably the most well known CSS preprocessor. It allow a
simplified syntax and the use of variables. Less CSS is for the Ruby
programming language, however it looks like Aaron Russel created an extension for creating cached stylesheets your PHP projects can use.
Get it: http://lesscss.org
On their website, Sass claims to make CSS fun again. To be honest, I
must admit that what this project is capable of is very interesting.
Like Less CSS, it allow the use of variables and have a simplified
syntax. Sass is definitely a great tool, unfortunely only available for
Ruby, as far as I know.
Get it: http://sass-lang.com/
If like me, you’re a PHP Lover,
here is a css preprocessor made for your favorite language. I haven’t
tested it yet, but Turbine looks very cool. It allow a minimal syntax,
automatically gzip multiple css, fix cross-browser issues, and a lot
more. A must check if you’re into PHP.
Get it: http://turbine.peterkroener.de/index.php
Switch is a full featured, production ready CSS preprocessor. It runs
under Apache with mod_python, or as an environment-agnostic command
Get it: http://sourceforge.net/projects/switchcss/
CSS Cacheer is a very cool preprocessor which allows developers to
create plugins. It requires PHP and Apache with mod_deflate and
mod_rewrite in order to work.
Get it: http://retired.haveamint.com/archive/2008/05/30/check_out_css_cacheer
Another interesting preprocessor, written in PHP 5. Among other things, this tool allow you to use expressions such as margin-left: (200px * 3/2 – 10px); in your stylesheets.
Get it: http://pornel.net/css
DtCSS speeds up CSS coding by extending the features to CSS. Such as
nested selectors, color mixing and more. DtCSS reads the CSS file with
special syntax written for DtCSS, and outputs the standard CSS. It also
comes with a smart caching system.
Get it: http://code.google.com/p/dtcss/
Unfortunely, CSS PP is still in alpha status, but the authors says
the code will be released very soon. One of the good points of this
projects is that it will be available in PHP, Python and Ruby. Great
news for developpers who work with all of these languages.
Get it: http://csspp.org/