CSS preprocessors like LESS and Sass are hugely popular – and for good reason! Once you’ve picked up their syntax, they can shorten the time taken to write CSS, give you all sorts of useful functions, enable CSS compression, and give you a warm fuzzy feeling inside. Well, perhaps not that last one but you get the idea.
I’ve been using Sass for a few recent projects and I quite like it although it does give me a slight sense of disconnect from my normal working environment. In case you might be wondering why, I use (shock horror) Dreamweaver as my main coding and development environment. I find it works really well, OK?!
So, I expect to use Sass more and more but I’m not making it my first priority. Instead, I want to spend a lot more time making my final CSS smarter by reading more about OOCSS, SMACCS and similar – and putting these into practice. For me and my ‘typical’ projects, I can put a style sheet together quickly enough so the time saving factor of LESS or Sass is not the main thing. It just seems to make more sense for me (at the moment) to focus on making the end product smarter.
Of course, time saving and writing smarter CSS are not mutually exclusive but I think that concentrating on one of these will be better for me. You may have a different process or be at a different development stage – in which case, all power to your elbow! (or something like that). For me though, the OOCSS route looks better at the minute.
So, I have been thinking a lot about responsive web design recently. I’ve been reading about some CSS frameworks and recoding some of my core files so they can adapt to any grid system that I choose to use. As a result, I’ve decided to use fluid or elastic layouts or hybrid layouts wherever possible from now on.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been browsing a few responsive grid systems/CSS frameworks, partly as a means of learning new responsive web design methods and also because I’ve been considering whether I should completely redevelop the core set of files that I use for website layouts. I think that the answer to that question is ‘No’ because I’ve yet to find a system that completely resonates with me.
Neverthless, I’ve definitely learned some new methods by looking at the CSS/HTML code of each system so I’d encourage you to do the same. Without exception, all frameworks that I’ve looked at have been very well commented so it’s been relatively easy to understand how they work.
I’ve looked at 8 or 9 systems/frameworks and downloaded a subset of these to look into more thoroughly:
I’m going to extend my learning here by rebuilding a personal site with one or more of these systems (probably starting with InuitCSS). Why not do the same? I bet you’ll learn some useful new techniques by doing so!
I’ve been really busy with client work recently but I have managed to set aside some time every day for reading and browsing. Here are some some interesting links I’ve seen in my web travels:
That’s all for now.
» CSS3 Foundations is a new book that combines practicality with inspiration to show you how to create modern websites.
Sync files between computers. Share files with your clients, friends, and family using DropBox. It's great!