Styling Smarter with CSS Preprocessors

  • September 10, 2013 · 7:30 PM
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Whether you're an app developer, entrepreneur, or straight-up designer, if your work involves the Web - and whose doesn't, these days? - sooner or later, you might run into CSS. Designers are starting to build interactive wireframes in the browser, products are expected to have feature parity across platforms, and if you're trying to get a functional prototype ready for a big pitch, you might have to code a basic implementation yourself. Time, effort, and leveraging existing knowledge are all factors in these scenarios.

With the advent of CSS3, Cascading Style Sheets are more flexible and powerful than ever before, but they still can't match more "traditional" coding languages for power and flexibility, and can stymy even seasoned coders who find their usual bag of tricks completely useless in the obtuse world of Web markup.

Enter CSS preprocessors: they allow you to use modern programming concepts (like variables, nested declarations and in-style math) that save time and effort during the coding phase, then crunch your styles and output plain-Jane CSS for browsers to consume. It works so well that Bootstrap, one of the most popular Web frameworks for getting good-looking sites up quickly, is built on one (LESS) for stability and customization.

Adam will give you an overview of how CSS preprocessors work and why they're nifty, show you how to build a development environment around them, and walk you through customizing Bootstrap's .less styles to modify your own installation to suit your needs. Adam will also touch upon Sass, another popular preprocessors, but will focus on LESS since it's what I'm familiar with and will be most useful to people using Bootstrap. Feel free to bring your laptops; Adam willtry to make time for some hands-on exercises.

BIO: Adam Powers is an experience designer, technologist and cognitive science nerd with a passion for bridging the gap between people and the things that make them happy. He has diverse experience in Web design and development, human-computer interaction, educational leadership and community organization, with coursework from UC San Diego's CogSci/HCI program and an axe to grind against poor user experience.

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  • Chance R.

    I left wanted to try LESS. We'll see if it fits in my dev workflow.

    September 11, 2013

  • Tom O.

    Great presentation.

    September 10, 2013

  • Allan D.

    I just built something using Codekit(haml/sass/compass) + foundation4, and now porting that work to rails. It would be interesting to see if there is a way to do templating outside of rails (ala .kit) but use haml at the same time.

    September 5, 2013

    • Allan D.

      The funny thing is, I have sass installed, but I hardly used it when creating my CSS. I have to break the mold when creating CSS so that I build it with sass in mind. I'm so used to building without sass that it doesn't come second nature.

      September 9, 2013

  • Tony S.

    In prep for this meeting I also looked deeply into Compass and am interested in a followup on use of Compass and SASS somewhere. Personally am not using Codekit(am not dev on an Apple). Personal objective is to use on straight HTML, possibly with Angularjs.

    September 9, 2013

  • DW

    Adam's a cool cat. Looking forward to it.

    September 7, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hope in the future the group focus is more on HTML5 in production. Seems that people are to into categorizing the new abilities in relation to past frameworks. Shame, really.

    August 28, 2013

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