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Create CSS easily with PHP

PHP CSS is a small framework that allows you to easily create uniform and minified CSS using PHP. You can then use that CSS however you please.


PHP CSS was created to help with the overall generation of CSS for a PHP application/website. If you've ever had dynamic css that is controlled by php variables or mysql database values then this will help you tremendosly. Instead of writing all of the css in your application, or in the <head> of your php file, you simply add it to the object and echo it all at once.

Getting Started

To use PHP CSS all you need to do is download the framework and include it into your project. Once included you can begin using it by instantiating the class.

require_once 'path_to_library/class-php-css.php';

use CarlosRios\PHP_CSS;
$css = new PHP_CSS;

Setting the selector

One of the benefits to using PHP CSS is that it allows you to easily manipulate HTML selectors.

$css->set_selector( '#content' );

Adding Properties

To add a property you simply use the add_property method which requires a property name and value. To add multiple properties you can use the add_properties method which requires an array of name and value pairs.

// Add a single property
$css->add_property( 'border-color', $border_color_value );

// Add multiple properties at once
$css->add_properties( array(
	'background-image'	=> $background_image_url,
	'background-color'	=> $background_color,
	'height'			=> $height,
) );

Browser Prefixes

PHP CSS comes with a few browser prefixed properties out of the box (I intend to add more over time as they are needed). If you use any of the following properties, PHP CSS will automatically provide the css for them along with the available browser prefixes.

  • border-radius
  • border-top-left-radius
  • border-top-right-radius
  • border-bottom-left-radius
  • border-bottom-right-radius
  • box-shadow
  • transition
  • transition-delay
  • transition-duration
  • transition-property
  • transition-timing-function

An example would be like so.

$css->add_property( 'border-radius', '2px' );

Which would create the following css


Changing the selector

Once you have a selector set and you've added some properties to it, you can change the selector and begin adding new properties like so:

$css->change_selector( '#wrapper' );
$css->add_property( 'max-width', '1200px' );

Final Output

When you are done creating all of your css, all you need to do is echo the contents of the css_output method. PHP CSS will write all of the css as a minified string. You can add it to the <head> of your page like so.

<style><?php echo $css->css_output(); ?></style>

Saving the CSS

Or you could save it to a separate css file as I would strongly reccomend, so that it can be cached by the browser and used properly. An example of how you could do that would be as follows.

file_put_contents( 'style.css', $css->css_output() );

WordPress Usage Example

I created PHP CSS while developing a theme in WordPress. I was able to utilize a great options framework (Redux) to generate options for my clients, and while Redux does provide a neat way to generate css, it still didn't quite meet my needs. For instance if I wanted to check an option that returned an array of values, and then apply css based on those values, I still had to write quite a bit of code. Now with PHP CSS I'm able to do so much more easily. Ex:

// Gather the options
$primary_button_type = get_option( 'primary_button_type' );
$primary_button_border = get_option( 'primary_button_border' );
$primary_button_bg = get_option( 'primary_button_bg' );
$primary_button_color = get_option( 'primary_button_color' );

// Set the selector
$css->set_selector( '.button-primary' );

// Apply the styles
if( $primary_button_type === 'flat' ) {
	// Add colors for the normal state
	$css->add_properties( array(
		'border-color'		=> $primary_button_border['regular'],
		'background-color'	=> $primary_button_bg['regular'],
		'color'				=> $primary_button_color['regular'],
	// Add colors for the hover state
	$css->add_selector_state( ':hover' );
	$css->add_properties( array(
		'border-color'		=> $primary_button_border['hover'],
		'background-color'	=> $primary_button_bg['hover'],
		'color'				=> $primary_button_color['hover'],

Media Queries

Media query support was added 9/30/16. A few new public methods and class variables were added in order to support media queries. Those methods include

  • start_media_query
  • stop_media_query
  • has_media_query (returns boolean)
  • get_media_query (returns the current media query, or an empty string)

Using Media Queries

Media Queries must be started and stopped using the start_media_query and stop_media_query methods. By doing this you create a buffer where you can insert more css the way you were previously, except this time it will all be added into a specific query. You can create a media query for a specific screen size as follows.

// Start a media query
$css->start_media_query( '(max-width: 786px)' );

$css->set_selector( '#header' )->add_property( 'background', '#222' );

// Stop the media query

// Continue with css outside of the query
$css->change_selector( '#footer' )->add_property( 'padding', '20px' );


Create CSS easily with PHP







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