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CSS Coding Style

Contents

Whitespace

Use soft tabs with a two space indent.

Why: This follows the conventions used within our other projects.

Dimensions

  • Dimensions for layout should either use the variables from the frontend_toolkit or be in pixel values in multiples of 5px.

    // Bad
    .block {
      margin: 28px;
    }
    .block {
      padding: 12px 19px;
    }
    
    // Good
    .block {
      margin: $gutter;
    }
    .block {
      padding: 10px 20px;
    }

    Why: consistent measurements are better at ensuring all elements on the page line up in a visually appealing manner. Pixels are used over em or rem because they are consistent and predictable.

  • Avoid using rem sizing

    Why: Firefox allows users to change the minimum allowed font-size which forces the font-size on the html element to be at least that minimum. Rem sizes are worked out as a multiplier on the html elements font-size. Unless you are sizing everything in rem units this can cause rems to be much much bigger than you are expecting. See this pull request for details.

    If you do use rems bear in mind they are not supported in IE6, 7 & 8 so you will have to include a pixel value before each rem value for those browsers.

    font-size: 12px;
    font-size: 1.2rem; /* This line is ignored by IE6, 7 & 8 */

Bleeding edge features

When using bleeding edge featues which require vendor prefixes use the mixins in the frontend_toolkit.

.button {
  @include border-radius(5px);
}

Why: By keeping vendor prefixes in one place we can easily add or update the vendor prifixed properties in one place. We can also then remove them and add warnings to let future developers know they can remove the prefixes in the future when the vendor prefixed versions aren't needed.

Sass nesting

  • Always define parent reference selectors before defining child selectors

    // Bad
    a {
      color: red;
    
      .span {
        color: blue;
      }
    
      &:hover {
        color: pink;
      }
    }
    
    // Good
    a {
      color: red;
    
      &:hover {
        color: pink;
      }
    
      .span {
        color: blue;
      }
    }

    Why: by putting parent reference selectors first it keeps the styling for that element together. By putting styling for other elements in the middle you have to scroll around watching nesting levels to try and figure out what the & references.

  • Where possible rather than repeating selectors nest blocks together

    // Bad
    .header h1 {
      font-weight: bold;
    }
    .header span {
      color: lightgray;
    }
    .header .date {
      color: blue;
    }
    
    // Good
    .header {
      h1 {
        font-weight: bold;
      }
      span {
        color: lightgray;
      }
      .date {
        color: blue;
      }
    }

    Why: by nesting selectors it is clearer for future developers to work out that rules all affect the same elements. It also stops people accidentally adding unrelated selectors between related rules.

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