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Shorthand notation

Atomic CSS generally does not offer shorthand notation (e.g., M(5px,0,0,0)) because this would increase the number of selectors or declarations in the style sheet (i.e., create bloat.)

For example, border-width/style/color can be specified in any order:

  • Bd(1px,solid,#000)
  • Bd(1px,#000,solid)
  • Bd(solid,#000,1px)
  • Bd(solid,1px,#000)
  • Bd(#000,1px,solid)
  • Bd(#000,solid,1px)

The above creates 6 different rules for the exact same styling (a solid 1px black border). While the tool could be smart and assign all those classes to the same declaration, you'd still end up with more bytes than is necessary:

.Bd(#000,solid,1px) {
    border: 1px solid #000;

It would also be possible to enforce order (i.e., width,style,color) to prevent such duplication, but you'd still end up with a lot of redundancy. For example:

  • Bd(1px,solid,#000)
  • Bd(1px,solid,#ccc)
  • Bd(1px,solid,#555)
  • Bd(2px,solid,#000)
  • Bd(3px,solid,#000)
  • Bd(1px,dotted,#000)

Would result in:

  • 4 duplicate declarations for border-width
  • 5 duplicate declarations for border-style
  • 4 duplicate declarations for border-color

...either through duplicate declarations or selector grouping:

.Bd(1px,dotted,#000) {
    border-width: 1px;

.Bd(1px,solid,#000), .Bd(1px,solid,#ccc), .Bd(1px,solid,#555), .Bd(2px,solid,#000), .Bd(3px,solid,#000) { border-style: solid; }

.Bd(1px,solid,#000), .Bd(2px,solid,#000), .Bd(3px,solid,#000), .Bd(1px,dotted,#000) { border-color: #000; }

Convenience and helper classes

X/Y notation

Even though Atomic CSS does not allow shorthand notation, many Atomic classes support "x/y notation" which applies the same styling on opposite edges. For example:

  • Mx(a) for margin-left:auto; margin-right:auto;
  • Py(5px) for padding-top:5px; padding-bottom:5px;

Border helper classes

When it comes to border styling, initial values exist for width and color but many authors may still want to set all 3 values: width, color, and style. To make things a bit less verbose, Atomic CSS offers a set of helper classes for borders which set style to solid and width to 1px (as a default).

This allows you to use a single class to create a single pixel border that either "inherits" text color or can be combined with an Atomic class for border-color (e.g., Bd Bdc(#fff)).

In case solid and 1px are not the default style you'd prefer, but you still want to use the border helper classes, you can simply redefine those classes in your own style sheet, using the rules below:

.BdStart {
    border-style: <style>;
.Bd {
    border-width: <width>;
.BdX {
    border-right-width: <width>;
    border-left-width: <width>;
.BdY {
    border-top-width: <width>;
    border-bottom-width: <width>;
.BdT {
    border-top-width: <width>;
.BdEnd {
    border-right-width: <width>;
.BdB {
    border-bottom-width: <width>;
.BdStart {
    border-left-width: <width>;

If you've chosen to namespace your Atomic classes, be sure to add the namespace to the above rules.