Category Archives: WEB DEVELOPMENT

What is SASS CSS Preprocessor and Do You REALLY Need It?


Back in the day, there was HTML. It was just text and so easy. To make the text pretty, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) were born to separate content from presentation. This wasn’t enough…

SASS is one of the scripting languages for CSS (like LESS, STYLUS, CSS-Crush, Myth, etc.). So, instead of searching and replacing colors or any other CCS attribute through ever expanding stylesheets, SASS compiles the stylesheet using variables and other coding to dump out a .css file.

The advantage to using SASS is that you can reuse CSS and flavor it for all sorts of projects. You can break your CSS code into logical sections. The danger of any sort of machine generated code is that you might get some bloat.

Oh–and did I mention that you have to install and learn another language and work with the command line? After my debugging adventures with grunt and a missing comma, I’m not too keen on learning another syntax.

But, do you really need SASS or any other preprocessor? CSS actually has variables. Of course, they don’t call them that. They’re called “CSS Custom Properties.” 

The problem was that custom properties weren’t supported in all browsers. They are now supported by recent versions of all modern browsers, even MS-Edge.

There are still other coding functions that SASS and the other CSS preprocessors can do that plain CSS can’t.

So… the answer to whether or not you need SASS is a definite MAYBE. Just watch those commas.


What is Grunt?


What the heck is a JavaScript Task Runner?

Grunt is a command line tool that runs on Node.js and automates your JavaScript build process.

Grunt is an “easy” way compile coffeescript, sass, compass. It can minify, concatenate, and a whole lot more. Everything is simple… as long as you know what you’re doing.

I put the install process for both Node.js and Grunt in the post on Trimming CSS Fat.


HTMLy Flat-File CMS


If you’re looking for a “light” alternative to WordPress that doesn’t require a massive learning curve, PHP-driven HTMLy just might fit the ticket.

HTMLy a simple PHP CMS program that stores all the posts in Markdown. It’s also open source and free. It looks like recent development is a few months old, which is a concern. There is not a lot of documentation available either. Many of these applications are one-man shows. If this guy disappears, so does the program. The good news is that the github issue forum is active.

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[Rx] Customizing Open Live Writer

olw_01Way back in the day, Microsoft gave out a very good offline blogging program called Windows Live Writer. It was an offline WYSIWYG blog editor that allowed you to write, save, and post all from the comfort of your local PC desktop and came bundled in an online package called Windows Essentials. The program stalled out on version Windows Live Writer 2012. Microsoft opened sourced the program as Open Live Writer at the end of 2015.

Like the older version, it’s possible to tweak the theme and to make it look more like your blog.

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[Rx] Trim CSS Fat Using Win7 Grunt

2016-01-26_113926Back in the day, you didn’t have to worry about “devices.” Now, we’re all modern. We have stylish CSS that makes HTML look hipster-good on any screen size you can imagine. To do all this you need css code, lots of code.

You  can punch the code-masters ticket and roll your own CSS or you can attach everything to a CSS framework (Bootstrap, Foundation, etc.).

These frameworks don’t know what you want, so they give you EVERYTHING. You have a screen the size of you large toenail? Not a problem, but the typical websites uses less than 80% of all the framework css code. 

The price you pay for a kitchen sink framework is speed. Luckily, if you have a need for speed, you can trim out the CSS fat using unCSS.

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