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LESS and CoffeeScript HTTP handlers for ASP.NET web sites

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LessCoffee

HTTP handlers for ASP.NET web sites that transform *.less and *.coffee files into CSS and JavaScript respectively on the fly.

As of version 2.0 the project uses an embedded version of nodejs (embedded as a resource and extracted at runtime) to run the latest versions of the LESS and CoffeeScript (previously it used less.js-windows and coffeescript-windows).

Bundling

LESS has its own native bundling built-in using @import. In addition, this allows you to override the included files variables, which is very powerful, e.g.:

~/Content/main.less:

@import "bootstrap.less";
@import "mybrand.less";       // defines default @brand-color1 and @brand-color2
@import (less) "chosen.css";  // note how we can transclude CSS

// override brand colors from mybrand.less
@brand-color1: #f00;
@brand-color2: #baa;

// also override Bootstrap ones
@linkColor: #0064cd;
@headingsFontWeight: normal;
@navbarText: #555;

~/Views/_Layout.cshtml:

<link rel="stylesheet" href="~/Content/main.less" />

Minification

Minification is enabled/disabled by the system.web/compilation/@debug attribute in your Web.config file. If debug=true then no minification is done, otherwise the output is minified.

Microsoft ASP.NET Web Optimization

LessCoffee doesn't currently support the ASP.NET bundling and minification framework because I find using @imports more effective for LESS files at least. LessCssHandler does expose a RenderCss method that could be adapted if you fancy submitting a pull-request!

Caching

Control the cachebility of the output using the LessCoffee cache profile, e.g.

<system.web>
    <caching>
        <outputCacheSettings>
            <outputCacheProfiles>
                <!-- 1 year = 31536000 secs -->
                <add name="LessCoffee" duration="31536000" location="Any" varyByParam="*" />
            </outputCacheProfiles>
        </outputCacheSettings>
    </caching>
</system.web>

Install

If you're running Visual Studio 2010 or later then simply use the LessCoffee NuGet package.

PM> Install-Package LessCoffee

If you're using Visual Studio 2008 you'll need follow these manual steps:

  • Copy LessCoffee.dll to your web application's /bin directory
  • Add the following entries to your web.config file:
<system.web>
    <httpHandlers>
        <add path="*.coffee" type="DotSmart.CoffeeScriptHandler, LessCoffee" verb="GET,HEAD" validate="false"/>
        <add path="*.less" type="DotSmart.LessCssHandler, LessCoffee" verb="GET,HEAD" validate="false"/>
    </httpHandlers>
</system.web>

<!-- IIS 7 -->
<system.webServer>
    <validation validateIntegratedModeConfiguration="false"/>
    <handlers>
        <add path="*.coffee" type="DotSmart.CoffeeScriptHandler, LessCoffee" verb="GET,HEAD" name="DotSmart.CoffeeScriptHandler"/>
        <add path="*.less" type="DotSmart.LessCssHandler, LessCoffee" verb="GET,HEAD" name="DotSmart.LessCssHandler"/>
    </handlers>
</system.webServer>
  • If you're using IIS 6 then you will need to map the file extensions *.less and *.coffee to aspnet_isapi.dll
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