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CSS Preprocessor: SASS over LESS or Vise-versa

There’s always a debate about who is better in every community. People debate about DC and Marvel, Coca-cola and Pepsi and in the computing world, you have Mac and PC. For web developers/designers that debate is Sass or Less.

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What Are Sass and LESS?

CSS Preprocessor

Syntactically Awesome Stylesheets (Sass) and Leaner CSS (LESS) are both CSS preprocessors.

CSS preprocessor is a program that lets you generate CSS from the preprocessor’s own unique syntax. There are many CSS preprocessors to choose from, however, most CSS preprocessors will add some features that don’t exist in pure CSS, such as mixing, nesting selector, inheritance selector, and so on.

If you plan on taking advantage in the world of web, it’s great to have an idea in one of the two pre-processors or both.

When it comes down to it, both are similar. They make writing CSS simpler, more object-oriented, and a more enjoyable experience. Nevertheless, with every similarities comes a difference. And five of them are listed here.

LESS Has More User-Friendly Documentation Than Sass

The LESS documentation is visually appealing and easier to follow for first-time users. The Sass documentation has much more of a knowledge base or wiki setup.

This is a fact that could be important to the adoption rates of either Sass or LESS since it is a platform designed for use in website design.

Sass Is in Ruby. LESS Is in JavaScript

Sass is based in Ruby and requires a Ruby install. This is no big deal if you have a Mac. However, it is a longer installation if you have a Windows machine.

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LESS was constructed in Ruby like Sass, but it has been ported to JavaScript. In order to use LESS, you upload the applicable JavaScript files to your server or compile the CSS sheets through an offline compiler.

LESS Has Better Error Messages Than Sass

Both Sass and LESS have been tested for their ability to report errors in syntax. LESS has more accurate error messages in the tests in that it reported the correct location of the error. Something like this could save a bit of time sweating over a typo.

Sass Has Compass, LESS Has Preboot

Sass and LESS have extensions available to integrate mixins (the ability to store and share CSS declarations throughout a site).

  • Sass has Compass available for mixins, which includes every option available with updates for future support.
  • LESS has Preboot.less, LESS Mixins, LESS Elements, gs, and Frameless. LESS’s software support is more fragmented than Sass, resulting in a lot of different options for extensions that may not all function the same way. For your project, you may need all of the listed extensions to get a similar performance to Compass.

To Assign Variables: Sass Uses $; LESS Uses @

Both Sass and LESS use specialized characters to assign variables. This way you don’t have to keep entering specifications; you can just enter the character.

In Sass, it’s the dollar sign ($). In LESS, it’s the at symbol (@). The only downside for LESS is that there are a few existing CSS selectors that already use @, so it may stiffen the learning curve a bit.

Now that I have laid down the difference between these two CSS preprocessors, it’s now left for you to choose which one will be easier to work with.

Don’t forget to share with us how your web development experience is going. I will be so pleased to read about it and don’t forget to share this with your friends.

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Gideon Akeni
Observe and Conquer

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