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Styling Smarter with CSS Preprocessors

  • Sep 10, 2013 · 7:30 PM
  • Qualcomm Building QRC (Qualcomm Research Center)

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 Powers 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 preprocessor, but will focus on LESS since it's what he's familiar with and will be most useful to people using Bootstrap. Feel free to bring your laptops; Adam will try 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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