Transforms CSS-alike text into a React style JSON object
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Is a helper function to convert various CSS syntaxes into a React style JSON object


This library doesn't perform CSS autoprefixing. Use postcss autoprefixer for that.


$ npm install react-styling


This module uses an ES6 feature called template strings which allows you to write multiline strings (finally). You can still use this module with the old ES5 (regular javascript) syntax passing it a regular string, but it's much more convenient for you to just use Babel for ES6 to ES5 conversion (everyone out there does it by the way).

import React from 'react'
import styler from 'react-styling'

export default class Page extends React.Component
    return (
          <ul style={}>
            <li style={}><Link to="login" style={} activeStyle={}>Login</Link></li>
            <li style={}><Link to="about" style={} activeStyle={}>About</Link></li>


const style = styler
    list-style-type: none

      display: inline-block

        display         : inline-block
        text-decoration : none
        color           : #000000
        padding         : 0.4em

        // notice the ampersand character here:
        // this feature is called a "modifier" class 
        // (see the "Modifiers" section of this document)
          color            : #ffffff
          background-color : #000000

  // supports comma separated style classes
  // and further style class extension
  can_style, multiple_classes, at_once
    font-family : Sans

    font-size : 12pt

  multiple_classes, at_once
    font-size : 8pt


  .old-school-regular-css-syntax {
    box-sizing: border-box;
    color: black;

  .scss_less {
    color: white;

    &:hover {
      text-decoration: underline;

  curly_braces_fan {
    background: none

    curly_braces_fan_number_two {
      background: transparent

    display: inline-block

      length: 99999px

  // for Radium users
  @media (min-width: 320px)
    width: 100%

      background: white

The example is self-explanatory. The CSS text in the example above will be transformed to this JSON object

    listStyleType: 'none',

      display: 'inline-block',

        display        : 'inline-block',
        textDecoration : 'none',
        color          : '#000000',
        padding        : '0.4em',

          display         : 'inline-block',
          textDecoration  : 'none',
          color           : '#ffffff',
          backgroundColor : '#000000',
          padding         : '0.4em'

    fontFamily : 'Sans',
    fontSize   : '12pt'

    fontFamily : 'Sans',
    fontSize   : '8pt'
    fontFamily : 'Sans',
    fontSize   : '8pt'

    boxSizing: 'border-box',
    color: 'black'

    color: 'white',

      color: 'white',
      textDecoration: 'underline'

    background: 'none',

      background: 'transparent'

    display: 'inline-block',

      length: '99999px'

  '@media (min-width: 320px)': 
    width: '100%',

      background: 'white'

And that's it. No fancy stuff, it's just what this module does. You can then take this JSON object and use it as you wish.

Pay attention to the tabulation as it's required for the whole thing to work properly. If you're one of those people who (for some strange reason) prefer spaces over tabs then you can still use it with spaces. Again, make sure that you keep all your spacing in order. And you can't mix tabs and spaces.

You can use your good old pure CSS syntax with curly braces, semicolons and dotted style class names (in this case the leading dots in CSS style class names will be omitted for later JSON object keying convenience).

Curly braces are a survival from the dark ages of 80s and the good old C language. Still you are free to use your curly braces for decoration - they'll simply be filtered out.

You can also use YAML-alike syntax if you're one of those Python people.

You can use both one-line comments and multiline comments.


In the example above the result is a JSON object with a nested tree of CSS style classes. You can flatten it if you like by using import { flat as styler } from 'react-styling' instead of the default import styler from 'react-styling'.

The difference is that the flat styler will flatten the CSS style class tree by prefixing all the style class names accordingly.

The reason this feature was introduced is that, for example, Radium would give warnings if a style object contained child style objects.

Also, I noticed that React, given a style object containing child style objects, creates irrelevant inline styles, e.g. <span style="color: black; child_style_object_name: [Object object]; background: white"/>: it doesn't break anything, but if some day React starts emitting warnings for that then just start using the flat styler.


In the example above, notice the ampersand before the "current" style class - this feature is optional (you don't need to use it at all), and it means that this style class is a "modifier" and all the style from its parent style class will be included in this style class. In this example, the padding, color, display and text-decoration from the "link" style class will be included in the "current" style class, so it works just like LESS/SASS ampersand. If you opt in to using the "modifiers" feature then you won't need to do manual merging like style="extend({},,".

Modifiers, when populated with the parent's styles, will also be populated with all the parent's pseudo-classes (those ones starting with a colon) and media queries (those ones starting with an at). This is done for better and seamless integration with Radium.

Modifiers are applied all the way down to the bottom of the style subtree and, therefore, all the child styles are "modified" too. For example, this stylesheet

  display : inline-block

    border : none
    color  : black

      color      : white
      background : black

will be transformed to this style object

  display: 'inline-block',

    border : 'none',
    color  : 'black'

    display: 'inline-block',

      border     : 'none',
      color      : 'white',
      background : 'black'

Shorthand style property expansion

A request was made to add shorthand style property expansion feature to this library. The motivation is that when writing a CSS rule like border: 1px solid red in a base class and then overriding it with border-color: blue in some modifier class (like :hover) it's all merged correctly both when :hover is added and when :hover is removed. In React though, style rule update algorythm is not nearly that straightforward and bulletproof, and is in fact a very basic one which results in React not handling shorhand CSS property updates correctly. In these cases a special flavour of react-styling can be used:

import { expanded as styler } from 'react-styling'

styler `
  margin: 10px
  border: 1px solid red

Which results in the following style object

  marginTop    : '10px',
  marginBottom : '10px',
  marginLeft   : '10px',
  marginRight  : '10px',

  borderTopWidth: '1px',
  borderTopStyle: 'solid',
  borderTopColor: 'red',
  // etc


There's a (popular) thing called Radium, which allows you to (citation):

  • Browser state styles to support :hover, :focus, and :active
  • Media queries
  • Automatic vendor prefixing
  • Keyframes animation helper

You can use react-styling with this Radium library too: write you styles in text, then transform the text using react-styling into a JSON object, and then use that JSON object with Radium. If you opt in to use the "modifiers" feature of this module then you won't have to write style={[style.a, style.a.b]}, you can just write style={style.a.b}.

Here is the DroidList example from Radium FAQ rewritten using react-styling. Because first and last are "modifiers" here the :hover pseudo-class will be present inside each of them as well.

// Notice the use of the "flat" styler as opposed to the default one:
// it flattens the nested style object into a shallow style object.
import { flat as styler } from 'react-styling'

var droids = [
  'Probe Droid'

class DroidList extends React.Component {
  render() {
    return (
      <ul style={style.droids}>
        {, index, droids) =>
          <li key={index} style={index === 0 ? style.droid_first : index === (droids.length - 1) ? style.droid_last : style.droid}>

const style = styler`
    padding : 0

    border-color : black
    border-style : solid
    border-width : 1px 1px 0 1px
    cursor       : pointer
    list-style   : none
    padding      : 12px

      background : #eee

      border-radius : 12px 12px 0 0

      border-radius : 0 0 12px 12px
      border-width  : 1px


In the examples above, react-styling transforms style text into a JSON object every time a React component is instantiated and then it will reuse that JSON style object for all .render() calls. React component instantiation happens, for example, in a for ... of loop or when a user navigates a page. I guess the penalty on the performance is negligible in this scenario. Yet, if someone wants to play with Babel they can write a Babel plugin (similar to the one they use in Relay) and submit a Pull Request.


After cloning this repo, ensure dependencies are installed by running:

npm install

This module is written in ES6 and uses Babel for ES5 transpilation. Widely consumable JavaScript can be produced by running:

npm run build

Once npm run build has run, you may import or require() directly from node.

After developing, the full test suite can be evaluated by running:

npm test

While actively developing, one can use (personally I don't use it)

npm run watch

in a terminal. This will watch the file system and run tests automatically whenever you save a js file.

When you're ready to test your new functionality on a real project, you can run

npm pack

It will build, test and then create a .tgz archive which you can then install in your project folder

npm install [module name with version].tar.gz