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CSS Preprocessing: Tools and Automation Techniques

CRACS/INESC TEC and School of Media Arts and Design, Polytechnic of Porto, Rua D. Sancho I, n.° 981, 4480-876 Vila do Conde, Portugal
This paper is an extended version of our paper published in the 6th Symposium on Languages, Applications and Technologies (SLATE 2017), Porto, Portugal, 26–27 June 2017.
Information 2018, 9(1), 17;
Received: 12 November 2017 / Revised: 5 January 2018 / Accepted: 10 January 2018 / Published: 12 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Special Issues on Languages Processing)
PDF [299 KB, uploaded 12 January 2018]


Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a W3C specification for a style sheet language used for describing the presentation of a document written in a markup language, more precisely, for styling Web documents. However, in the last few years, the landscape for CSS development has changed dramatically with the appearance of several languages and tools aiming to help developers build clean, modular and performance-aware CSS. These new approaches give developers mechanisms to preprocess CSS rules through the use of programming constructs, defined as CSS preprocessors, with the ultimate goal to bring those missing constructs to the CSS realm and to foster stylesheets structured programming. At the same time, a new set of tools appeared, defined as postprocessors, for extension and automation purposes covering a broad set of features ranging from identifying unused and duplicate code to applying vendor prefixes. With all these tools and techniques in hands, developers need to provide a consistent workflow to foster CSS modular coding. This paper aims to present an introductory survey on the CSS processors. The survey gathers information on a specific set of processors, categorizes them and compares their features regarding a set of predefined criteria such as: maturity, coverage and performance. Finally, we propose a basic set of best practices in order to setup a simple and pragmatic styling code workflow. View Full-Text
Keywords: CSS; preprocessors; postprocessors; CSS workflow; web formatting CSS; preprocessors; postprocessors; CSS workflow; web formatting

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Queirós, R. CSS Preprocessing: Tools and Automation Techniques. Information 2018, 9, 17.

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