5 Effective CSS Preprocessors to choose from for your next website project

Posted by on Aug 18, 2015 in Useful Resources | 0 comments

With all the hype that has been created by the CSS preprocessors, it isn’t surprising to find web developers who are using them for speeding up their web development cycle. With the idea of preprocessing being around since a few years, there have been regular debates about the best CSS preprocessors that can be chosen for a specific type of web development venture.

Continue reading this post as I’ll be offering you a helpful insight on the significance of CSS preprocessors and their five types which can cut down the additional time that’s consumed in writing lengthy CSS. So, let’s get on!

What’s the need of using CSS preprocessors?

While initially presumed to be an extra layer of complexity in the development cycle, CSS Preprocessor is just not that. The reality is that using a CSS preprocessor can actually turn fantastic for your website development project. For instance, if you want to apply a specific type of styling to multiple elements, you’ll be required to type in the same CSS for nearly half a dozen times. It is a CSS preprocessor that comes handy under such a situation. It not only eliminates the need for writing CSS repetitively but also allows you to define global styles using functions, followed by enabling you to re-use them throughout the CSS using a single line of code.

Now, let’s get to know about six absolutely stunning CSS preprocessors for you to choose from


Popularly known as Less, this is a CSS Preprocessor which extends CSS syntax via the use of variables, mixins, rule-set looping and nested style rules. Loaded with multiple techniques for making the CSS more maintainable, extendable and themable, Less is the CSS preprocessor which runs inside Node, within Rhino and in the browser. Moreover, there are multiple third-party tools which allow you to compile the files and keep a watch over any changes performed to the same.

For example, by using LESS, the below CSS

@base: #f938ab;


.box-shadow(@style, @c) when (iscolor(@c)) {

-webkit-box-shadow: @style @c;

box-shadow:         @style @c;


.box-shadow(@style, @alpha: 50%) when (isnumber(@alpha)) {

.box-shadow(@style, rgba(0, 0, 0, @alpha));


.box {

color: saturate(@base, 5%);

border-color: lighten(@base, 30%);

div { .box-shadow(0 0 5px, 30%) }


will compile to this:

.box {

color: #fe33ac;

border-color: #fdcdea;


.box div {

-webkit-box-shadow: 0 0 5px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.3);

box-shadow: 0 0 5px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.3);



CSS-Crush comes loaded with all the features that a contemporary CSS preprocessor is expected to have. Some of the most important ones include: mathematical operations, auto-vendor prefixing, property inheritance via nested rule sets, variables and many more. One of the greatest assets of CSS-Crush which make it one of the most preferred CSS preprocessors is that it is being implemented in PHP- a popular scripting language that’s being used in recognized platforms like Magento, WordPress and Drupal. As compared to other preprocessors, CSS-Crush doesn’t expect you to configure Node.js or Rails for being able to avail its multiple features.

Here’s an example of how you can define device widths using CSS-Crush syntax:

@set {

smartphones-width: 320px;

tablets-width: 768px;

laptops-width: 1680px;

4k-monitors-width: 3840px;




Sass has been regarded as one of the most recommended CSS preprocessors which comes with two different syntaxes as mentioned below:

  • Ø Sass– this is the original syntax
  • Ø SCSS– this is a new syntax that’s similar to the native CSS

You can define and use variables in Sass syntax in the following way:

$serif-font-stack: “Georgia”, “Times New Roman”, serif

$monospace-font-stack: “Cousin”, “Courier”



font: normal 18px/22px $serif-font-stack

pre, code

font: 600 bold 18px/22px $monospace-font-stack


Likewise, in SCSS syntax, you do it in the following way:

$serif-font-stack: “Georgia”, “Times New Roman”, serif;

$monospace-font-stack: “Cousin”, “Courier”;


body {

font: normal 18px/22px $serif-font-stack;



pre, code {

font: 600 bold 18px/22px $monospace-font-stack;




As a strong contender to the very popular Sass, Stylus is a CSS Preprocessor which comes with 60+ custom functions. One of the most effective functions is saturation() which allows you to adjust the saturation of a CSS color using mathematical concepts. Plus, you can use Stylus for eliminating colons(:), semi-colons(;) and braces ({ }) as well. Here’s how the Stylus syntax looks like:



display block

border-radius 10px

The above syntax will compile to the following:

.button {

display: block;

-webkit-border-radius: 10px;

-moz-border-radius: 10px;

border-radius: 10px;


Myth is yet another brilliant CSS Preprocessor which requires Node.js for allowing you to use specific CSS syntax without having to wait for the web browsers to go on with implementing a new CSS feature. It is Myth preprocessor which will look after all the code that’s necessary for making the property expression function within the chosen browser. For example, here’s a W3C Valid way of using calc():

:root {

–purple: #847AD1;

–large: 10px;



a {

color: var(–purple);



pre {

padding: var(–large);
margin: calc(var(–large) * 2);




Myth will compile the above syntax to the following:

a {

color: #847AD1;



pre {

padding: 10px;
margin: 20px;





The best part about using Myth is that you need not learn a new syntax. This preprocessor uses existing W3C-standard CSS features.

That’s it!

Final Words

As a coding professional, using any of the above mentioned CSS preprocessors will seriously reduce the amount of CSS that you’re supposed to write for including the desired styling. So, go ahead and choose the right CSS preprocessor for your upcoming web project now!


About the Author
Rick Brown is a veteran app developer with Mobiers Ltd., where you can hire iOS app developer. You can get his assistance, to explore more about iOS app development services and its leverages.

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