12 Useful SASS Compiler Tools works with SASS , LESS, Stylus and more

sass compiler

The word ‘SASS’ became a common word today, that floating around among web designers and developers. SASS (Syntactically Awesome StyleSheets) is a CSS preprocessor. A preprocessor is a program that takes one type of data and converts it to another type of data with the help of a compiler. In the case of CSS, <a style=”text-decoration: none;” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank” href=”https://sass-lang.com/install”>SASS</a> is a popular CSS preprocessor that launched with an aim to processed CSS and thus makes the coding simpler and more efficient.

If you are a web artisan, you may know what a CSS preprocessor is. To whom, who are new in this area, a CSS preprocessor is basically a scripting language that extends CSS and then generates it into regular CSS. Sass, Less, and Stylus these three are the primary CSS preprocessors on the market today.

Well, now we know what a CSS preprocessor is. But the question is: Why Preprocessing CSS? And How we will be benefited while using a CSS preprocessor?

Why Preprocessing CSS?

Because CSS is primitive and incomplete. You can’t build a function, or inheritance, or reusing a definition. These functionalities are quite hard to achieve in CSS. By using a preprocessor, you can easily implement those in your project and thus increase your productivity, and decrease the amount of code you are writing. CSS Preprocessors come with the aim of saving developer time and effort. Let’s see how it works:

Let’s assume you are designing a website where the primary color code of your website is #2870dc; that means the color code of the header, footer, links or some other bullet points is #2870dc. So, you have defined the following color code in all the tags of your CSS file. But if you want to change the primary color, or sometimes you have to change it to fulfill the client’s requirements. So, how you will handle it with CSS? You have to search and go all those tags where you define the color code in previous and change it manually. For a small file, it won’t very difficult, but while the file is about 10/20 thousands line or more than that then it became really a panic for a developer.

Let’s see how you can handle it with SASS. We can define our primary color as a variable in SASS, and call them where we need to use it. Look at the example in below.

$primary-color: #2870dc;
$secondary-color: #dc28c6;
p, a{
color: $primary-color;
}
hr{
	color: $secondary-color;
}

So, whenever we need to change the primary color or something else of a website, we do not change it to the whole script, just change the value of one variable can resolve it, while using SASS.

How we will be benefited while using a CSS preprocessor?

There are many advantages and various reasons why CSS preprocessors can be a valuable tool in our development process. One of the biggest reason is preprocessors make our CSS DRY (not having to repeat yourself). A CSS preprocessor expands the capabilities of CSS by allowing us to use variables that store values, nested rules declarations, create mixins for common snippets and libraries, and thus saves our time with the improvement of the entire project.

Let’s see some example how we write code in CSS vs how we write code in SASS.

Code in CSS:

ul{
  margin: 0;
  list-style-type: none;
}
ul li{
  float: right;
}
ul li a{
 color: #229ed3;
}
ul li a:hover{
  color: #999;
}

Code in SASS:

$link-color: #999;
$link-hover: #229ed3;

ul{
    margin: 0;
    li{
        float: right;
    }
    a{
        color: $link-color;
        &:hover{
            color: $link-hover;
        }
    }
}

Importance of a Compiler to Preprocessing CSS

So, now where do you write SASS code or how to start writing SASS code? Well, you can write SASS or Less code using any text/code editor but you can’t send SASS/Less code directly to the browser, because it a browser doesn’t know what to do with it. That’s the importance why you should use a CSS preprocessor to translate or compile the SASS code into standard CSS code.

There are many compilers for SASS/Less/Stylus. But not all of them are good as expected. In this article, we’ll cover the best tools for compiling SASS and also works with Less and Stylus.

Koala (MAC, Windows, Linux) – Free

Koala is an open source and free GUI based application or compiler for compiling SASS and other preprocessors like Less, Compass, and CoffeeScript. This tool is available to download for Windows, Mac or Linux and can run on there. Koala needs either Ruby or libSass installed locally to successfully compile SASS or other files.

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Scout-App (MAC, Windows, Linux)- Free

Scout-App is an open-source and cross-platform CSS compiler that can compile both SASS and Compass out of the box. It has the most of the features of any paid compiler. Scout-App was designed with a powerful translation engine allowing it to change languages on the fly.

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Compass

compass-sass-compiler

Compass is an open-source CSS authoring framework which uses the SASS stylesheet language to make writing stylesheets powerful and easy. It has all the powers of SASS and comes with ready to use mixins, functions and other utilities. Compass runs on any computer that has ruby installed.

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Prepros (MAC, Windows, Linux)-Paid

Prepros SASS Compiler

Prepros is eligible to compile almost all preprocessing languages like Sass, Less, Stylus, Cssnext, Jade/Pug, Markdown, Slim, CoffeeScript and more. It is a powerhouse, a grid production engine in itself, a framework to create grid frameworks. Prepros reloads your browser automatically every time you save a file in the code editor.

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Hammer (MAC)-Paid

hammer-sass-compiler-for-mac

Hammer has been dubbed a “game changer” for web development. It ships with built-in support for Sass (with Bourbon), CoffeeScript, Slim, HAML & Markdown, as well as Hammer’s own special tags with automatic language compilation, to HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

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LiveReload (MAC, Windows, Linux)- Paid

livereload-gui-sass-compiler

The feature that can make you a huge fan of LiveReload is auto compiling. Though it does not have a great or charming UI. However, the job of converting SASS and LESS to CSS of this compiler is perfect. LiveReload monitors changes in the file system. As soon as you save a file, it is preprocessed as needed, and the browser is refreshed. LiveReload now works on Windows, Linux and Mac OS as well. However, the Windows and Linux version of this compiler is free now.

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CodeKit (MAC)- Paid

codekit paid sass compiler for mac

CodeKit is powerful and much more than a compler. It compiles almost everything such as SASS, Less, Stylus, CSS, CoffeeScript, Pug, Slim, Haml, TypeScript, JavaScript, ES6, Markdown, JSON, SVG, PNG, GIF, and JPEG right out of the box. But with the free version, you can compile only LESS file. You have to pay $34 if you want to use it as another compiler then.

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Sassmeister – Online Editor

Sassmeister - Online Editor

Sassmeister is an online playground for compiling SASS. In fact, it is one of the top SASS playgrounds, with the help of Sassmeister you can able to see the powers of SASS online without getting into Ruby installation. Moreover, you can choose the SASS version and syntax, CSS output style, Extensions, HTML syntax and so on.

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The following articles will help you to start working with SASS, you will learn how to compile a SASS or Less file with the help of preprocessor. You may have a look.

Final Thought

SASS is an essential part of modern web design, the sooner you start with SASS the better you design. There are many SASS tools available in the market – paid as well as free to use. All these tools we have enlisted here are great for compiling codes. Depending on your expertise level and project needs, select the right tools and give your web design workflow a modern touch.

<b>Read more <a style=”text-decoration: none;” target=”_blank” href=”https://themefisher.com/bootstrap-cheat-sheet/”>Bootstrap Cheat Sheet</a></b>

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