A Survey on CSS Preprocessors

Author Ricardo Queirós

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Ricardo Queirós

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Ricardo Queirós. A Survey on CSS Preprocessors. In 6th Symposium on Languages, Applications and Technologies (SLATE 2017). Open Access Series in Informatics (OASIcs), Volume 56, pp. 8:1-8:12, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2017)


In the Web realm, the adoption of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is unanimous, being widely used for styling web documents. Despite their intensive use, this W3C specification was written for web designers with limit programming background. Thus, it lack several programming constructs, such as variables, conditional and repetitive blocks, and functions. This absence affects negatively code reuse, and consequently, the maintenance of the styling code. In the last decade, several languages (e.g. Sass, Less) appeared to extend CSS, defined as CSS preprocessors, with the ultimate goal to bring those missing constructs and to foster stylesheets structured programming. The paper provides an introductory survey on CSS Preprocessors. It gathers information on a specific set of preprocessors, categorizes them and compares their features regarding a set of predefined criteria such as: maturity, coverage and performance.
  • CSS
  • Preprocessors
  • Web formatting


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  3. Davood Mazinanian, Nikolaos Tsantalis, and Ali Mesbah. Discovering refactoring opportunities in cascading style sheets. In 22nd International Symposium on Foundations of Software Engineering, pages 496-506, 2014. Google Scholar
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