As we with a big percentage of developers generate their CSS style sheets using a CSS preprocessor such as Less or SASS because the CSS files are generated and while editing the CSS files directly is most of the time not as helpful.

You may as what exactly are CSS Preprocessors?

These CSS preprocessors processes text file and output exact CSS in exactly what is needed. The text file contains is depended on the individual preprocessor, but with both of the popular Less and SASS are a superset of CSS, they includes everything already in the CSS specification some additional features. The major benefit of which is that if you already know CSS, you can write valid LESS and SASS with learning some additional tricks.

As we see that CSS doesn’t include features which developers are looking for, example it’s doesn’t include variables, constants or general syntax.

As many developers understand the use of variables; are paramount as it allows developers to assign a value to a name, which can then be used throughout the stylesheet plus it’s more maintainable if you in the need to change a single value in one place then going through all of your CSS files for every instance.

Maintaining & developing CSS can takes time and using a CSS preprocessor can simplifies the task of writing readable, maintainable CSS.

If you’ve haven’t started using a preprocessor and wanting to this is the perfect article as we have rounded up a general list of 10 great CSS Preprocessors for you to look through and hopefully choose and learn.

1. Less


This is probably of one of the two that is on everyone’s lips and it is Less, as you probably already due to the title but Less is a CSS pre-processor, meaning that it extends the CSS language as it adds features that allow variables, mixins, functions and many other techniques that allow you to make CSS that is more maintainable, themable and extendable.

Less runs inside Node, in the browser and inside Rhino. There are also many 3rd party tools that allow you to compile your files and watch for changes.

2. Sass


And second to Less is Sass, the team behind Sass mention to us that it is one of the most mature, stable, and powerful professional grade CSS extension language in the world as it is completely compatible with all versions of CSS and they take the compatibility bit seriously, so that you can seamlessly use any available CSS libraries. As

As I said previously that Sass is an extension of CSS, it’s adds power and elegance to the basic language as it allows you to use variables, nested rules, mixins, inline imports, and more, all with a fully CSS-compatible syntax. Sass helps keep large stylesheets well-organized, and get small stylesheets up and running quickly, particularly with the help of the Compass style library.

3. Stylus


Stylus is a revolutionary language that been created to provide an efficient, dynamic, and expressive way to generate CSS. Supporting both an indented syntax and regular CSS style.

4. CSS on Diet


CSS-On-Diet is a preprocessor for CSS files, the key feature is mnemonics for frequently used properties, which are similar to Emmet abbreviations. Other goodies include intuitive media breakpoints, nested and single line comments, variables and mixins, a calculator, hexadecimal RGBA, minifier.

5. TurbineCSS


Turbine is a PHP-powered tool that introduces a new way for writing CSS, as it’s syntax and features are designed to decrease CSS development time and stopping headache. TurbineCSS allows a minimal syntax, automatically gzip multiple css, fix cross-browser issues, TurbineCSS has alot more to offer plus this is great for those who are into PHP.

6. CSS Crush


CSS-Crush is a standards inspired preprocessor written in PHP designed to enable a modern and uncluttered CSS workflow.

7. Hitch


Hitch is a small JavaScript library that adds expressive capabilities to CSS files, it has some of the powers that you can find within CSS preprocessors like prefixing or variables but also added some other stuff. The library comes with multiple ready-to-use selectors like “anyof, allof, has..” and allows you to define any new ones (Hitch called theme ‘hitches’).

8. Prepros


Prepros is an app for both Mac & Windows that can automatically process languages such as LESS, Sass, Compass, Stylus, Jade, Slim, Markdown, Haml and CoffeeScript. The app auto-compiles the source and injects the CSS (also HTML and JS) to the browser so that no refresh is needed. There are options for the compiler to process the output format or its style such as it being compressed or nested.

9. Myth


I can’t forget Myth in this list as this preprocess is coming up in the ranks as it lets you write pure CSS without having to worry about slow browser support, or even slow spec approval. It’s a like CSS polyfill. Myth lets you write pure CSS while still giving you the benefits of tools like LESS and Sass while you can still use variables and math functions, just like you do in any other preprocessors.

10. Clay


Clay is a CSS preprocessor just like LESS, Sass or any other on this list, but instead Clay implement as an embedded domain specific language (EDSL) in Haskell. This means that all CSS selectors and style rules are first class in Haskell functions, which makes reuse and composability easy.  Clay doesn’t really use any clever Haskell tricks which makes it easy to work with, even without a lot of Haskell experience.


10 CSS Preprocessors to Help Speed Up Your Development Time