Using the LESS CSS Preprocessor for Smarter Style Sheets

Less-css in Using the LESS CSS Preprocessor for Smarter Style Sheets

As a Web designer you’re undoubtedly familiar with CSS, the style sheet language used to format markup on Web pages. CSS itself is extremely simple, consisting of rule sets and declaration blocks—what to style, how to style it—and it does pretty much everything you want, right? Well, not quite.

You see, while the simple design of CSS makes it very accessible to beginners, it also poses limitations on what you can do with it. These limitations, like the inability to set variables or to perform operations, mean that we inevitably end up repeating the same pieces of styling in different places. Not good for following best practices—in this case, sticking to DRY (don’t repeat yourself) for less code and easier maintenance.

Enter the CSS preprocessor. In simple terms, CSS preprocessing is a method of extending the feature set of CSS by first writing the style sheets in a new extended language, then compiling the code to vanilla CSS so that it can be read by Web browsers. Several CSS preprocessors are available today, most notably Sass2 and LESS3.

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81 Comments to “Using the LESS CSS Preprocessor for Smarter Style Sheets”

  • evil chevy October 1, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    The small company I work at needs a website redesign, and would prefer to do it internally. What software and coding do I need to know to do this? It doesn’t have to be super flashy, just an attractive design that gets the job done.

    I have considered Dreamweaver, but I don’t know what kind of programming I would need to learn (CSS, HTML, PHP ???). I am new to web design so I don’t know what to learn.

  • Larry R October 2, 2013 at 9:45 am

    I have been completely out of web design for over six years and have no idea what direction it is headed. I’m interested in dabbling in it again, but feeling a little too lazy to research what languages I should learn or relearn. With broadband access allowing such high use of audio, video, etc. what languages are best suited for the web now and in the future? From a language point of view, where is web design headed?

  • clntvrrt October 3, 2013 at 3:40 am

    I am a non-programmer with lots of internet business ideas and I want to learn an easy language to play around and make websites in. What’s the best language/tools to learn to get started making websites real quick? And what resources/books/sites do you recommend?

  • Chester October 3, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    from the ground up. I don’t mean using those already made for you website templates, but really build one myself, something that could be use professionally, for example.

    I understand it may probably involve knowledge in several different programming languages, but where should I start?

    I don’t know a thing about programming yet

    Thank you very much!
    Thank you very much Andrew and Jeff!
    Thank you very much Rashi!
    Thank you very much Dark Phantom, Luther Sullivan and Djerk!
    Thank you very much Smelly Cat!

  • MAK & CHEESE October 4, 2013 at 2:05 am

    My regular chinese food place can not explain this due to a language barrier, and I do not want to order all three.

  • Austin October 4, 2013 at 6:25 am

    Here’s my story! I want to be a web designer, so i’m trying to see how it’s done… but the amount of information out there is VAST! I mean HTML, Java script, CSS? I’ve not got any experience with using programming languages so i have no clue where to start.

    MY ultimate goal would be to be able to create something really good looking, like a flash website, but i’d like to be able to create other basic sites too! Thanks in advance.

  • mendhak October 4, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    I want to learn how to program and code, but I have no idea where to start. I know that it won’t be simple and quick, but I’ve got plenty of time to learn. Where should I start? Thanks for any help.

  • Kobe October 4, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    I would like to be able to design a website basically from scratch. Where do I begin? Can I become an expert with DreamWeaver or FrontPage, or is there more to it than just that? I am a beginner who is looking to learn everything about designing, hosting, and managing websites.

    Any information to get me started on the right track is appreciated.

  • sick_mick_101 October 4, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    I am a Computer Engineering Student… I am already familiar with a mixture of technologies listed below:

    1. Digital Electronics (that includes Logic Designing and Switching Theory).
    2. Computer and Data Networking.
    3. Computer Programming:
           a. Client and Server Scripting (using ASP and ASP.NET).
           b. Web Programming like Flash, HTML, Cascading Style Sheets etc.
           c. Major Languages including C#.NET, Visual Basic.NET, Java etc.

    I am seeking for a good project title, which may employ all of my above specialties, for my final year project…

    I would be delighted if any of you share with me your past project experience…

  • johnkaiser 22 October 5, 2013 at 5:17 am

    Im now learning html. I understand there are more languages i need to learn in order to develop websites. In which sequance should i learn them? Which language first and which one later?

  • Miguel M October 6, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    I’ve seen other people do it.
    Where they make they’re font small,
    I want that too. (:
    Any suggestions?
    Thanks in advance!

  • Lucas H October 8, 2013 at 8:44 am

    Thanks in advance!
    I forgot to mention that it is for a website I own.

  • Ramblin Spirit October 9, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    I am very new to web design as I have no prior experience and know little HTML.
    I just want to know what the best software is to purchase to design blogs. I have downloaded CS5 Design Premium with Dreamweaver and Photoshop, but I realize this is a little advanced for me and expensive!!!
    Does anyone have suggestions of software or ways to build blogs and websites easily and inexpensive?


  • Paul M October 10, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Hello there!!!!! At this moment I only know the basic of internet, Im trying to make a website like craigslist in my country, Im planning to do it in about 8-12 months what will give me enough time to learn how to do it….My question is what kind of programs I have to learn in order to do a project like this….Thanks in advance guys!!!!

  • lcollier93sbcglobalnet October 10, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    My partner is making a template in dreamweaver for joomla site and we are not to sure on how to upload it to it. We appreciate the help, thanks in advance.

  • Mathew October 12, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    So what I need is for there to be a drop down menu that has three options to choose from. Then when you click one of those options, text and links based on your selection appears. I am probably just being dumb, but thanks in advance.

  • Alex October 14, 2013 at 7:46 am

    Hi all,
    I want to become a WEB DEVELOPER. For that what are the essential programming languages needed. I am little bit confused, my friends advised me soo many languages. So friends Pls, Plzzzz guide me.Exactly needed Programming Languages.

  • Hannah October 16, 2013 at 2:58 am

    I have a table that scrolls. All I want to know is how do I change the scrollbar color of that scrolling table?

    So far, I have a table that has text and images in it, and it scrolls down. How do I make the scrollbar different colors? Not the scroll bars on the entire page, but the scrollbar of just that scrolling table.

    Thanks in advance!

  • norrin_shadowwolf October 18, 2013 at 4:08 am

    I’m looking to learn Programming, but the one that’s mostly Web based. I want to be able to make my own Websites, get into others, finding whatever exploits are there, and being able to patch them, if allowed by the Admins. What Language should I start with? HTML, XHTML, Javascript, PHP, Perl, Ruby, MySQL? Which one should be learnt first? Javascript seems interesting, but then I might be known as a Script Kiddie, lol. I don’t know. I’ll be using Windows 7, by the way. Thanks.
    Oh, and I have Python also. Lol, don’t know it that matters. I’ll be doing all this from home.

  • Mr SoLo DoLo November 3, 2013 at 8:43 am

    I’m an expert developer in html, css, javascript, ajax, php, flash, actionscript, and quite handy in graphic design too. I want to teach people these skills online, via goto meeting or some other web based system. I have no idea what to charge, what is a common price for this kind of thing? Or if you don’t know, what do you think is fair?

  • Armas November 6, 2013 at 1:03 am

    Hey I’d like to pursue a career in web design / development and would like to know what qualifications could act as a possible way into it.

    So far I’ve started to learn the basics of HTML and CSS and I plan to learn Javascript afterwards, so can anyone tell me what qualifications would be useful or any other tips?

    Thanks 🙂

  • Erin November 7, 2013 at 7:48 am

    I’ve been looking about the internet for tutorials for more advanced css but I can’t seem to find any that show me anything I feel I know already. Is there anywhere that I can find some more advanced stuff?

  • MentallyCryppled November 10, 2013 at 7:51 am

    I’m doing a website, and I was testing it with Firefox, however, when I tried it with Google Chrome, if lost it looked different. This would be easy to fix, but it won’t work in Firefox if i fix it for Chrome. Is there any way to make it apply only to google chrome?
    Thanks in advance.

  • Courtney November 20, 2013 at 11:51 am

    I need to create a web page as a work project. I have limited experience doing this kind of work; only what I learned in high school years ago. I am positive things have changed since then. I remember using word pad and then some how importing that onto the internet.

    Any help, advice and suggestions would help tremendously. Thank you in advance for any help you can give. Also, please ask questions if it would help you better explain a technique or method or give advice. Thank you again!!

  • vanvark83 November 25, 2013 at 2:11 am

    I want to make my own website, however I do NOT want to go to those people that make you a website. My website will be very “flashy” and I want it with all kinds of graphics and what not. Do you guys know of any websites that teach you HTML, CSS, Javascript and everything you need to know about web development.

  • Ray D November 25, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    I know a good bit of CSS and HTML, so where can I expand my knowledge on these things?

  • Milk84 November 26, 2013 at 4:17 am

    I have a template that I made and I want to use it on my freewebs site. I turned it into the CSS code thing and tried using it, but the stupid old template is still there with no changes.

    What am I doing wrong?

  • vimal November 29, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    I have been experimenting with designing CSS web templates with the intention to sell them. I am getting pretty good, but I want to make sure they are compatible with as many hosting sites as possible.

    Are most standard CSS templates compatible with hosts or is there something else I should be doing?

    Thanks in advance.

  • nyyankees1123 November 29, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    If there is a way to do it without code, that would be helpful. Thanks in advance.

  • Sriram R November 30, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    I’ve been trying to learn how to make a website for a while and went through the basics of the languages (HTML, CSS, PHP). I’ve also installed the trial version of Dreamweaver to give it a try, but it was too complicated. I’m just wondering, is there any FREE programs that are sort of like dreamweaver?

  • Gabrielle January 18, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    Terrific post however , I was wondering if you
    could write a litte more on this subject? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit further.
    Thank you!