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A simple and attractive code quality tool for CSS built on top of LESS
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RECESS Build Status

Developed at Twitter to support our internal styleguide, RECESS is a simple, attractive code quality tool for CSS built on top of LESS.

Incorporate it into your development process as a linter, or integrate it directly into your build system as a compiler, RECESS will keep your source looking clean and super manageable.


$ recess [path] [options]


  • --compile - compiles your code and outputs it to the terminal. Fixes white space and sort order. Can compile css or less.
  • --compress - compress your compiled code.
  • --config - accepts a path, which specifies a json config object
  • --stripColors - removes color from output (useful when logging)
  • --watch - watch filesystem for changes, useful when compiling Less projects
  • --noIDs - doesn't complain about using IDs in your stylesheets
  • --noJSPrefix - doesn't complain about styling .js- prefixed classnames
  • --noOverqualifying - doesn't complain about overqualified selectors (ie:
  • --noUnderscores - doesn't complain about using underscores in your class names
  • --noUniversalSelectors - doesn't complain about using the universal * selector
  • --prefixWhitespace - adds whitespace prefix to line up vender prefixed properties
  • --strictPropertyOrder - doesn't looking into your property ordering
  • --zeroUnits - doesn't complain if you add units to values of 0


Lint all css files

$ recess *.css

Lint file, ignore styling of IDs

$ recess ./bootstrap.css --noIds false

Compile and compress .less file, then output it to a new file

$ recess ./bootstrap.less --compress > ./bootstrap-production.css

Watch a directory for changes and auto compile a css file from the changes. experimental

$ recess input.less:ouput.css --watch watch/this/dir/for/changes

Watch a single file for changes and auto compile a css file from the changes. experimental

$ recess input.less:ouput.css --watch


Recess provides a pretty simple programmatic api.

var recess = require('recess')

Once you've required recess, just pass it a path (or array of paths) and an optional options object and an optional callback:

recess(['../fat.css', '../twitter.css'], { compile: true }, callback)

The following options (and defaults) are available in the programatic api:

  • compile: false
  • compress: false
  • noIDs: true
  • noJSPrefix: true
  • noOverqualifying: true
  • noUnderscores: true
  • noUniversalSelectors: true
  • prefixWhitespace: true
  • strictPropertyOrder: true
  • stripColors: false
  • zeroUnits: true

The callback is fired when each instance has finished processessing an input. The callback is passed an array of of instances (one for each path). The instances have a bunch of useful things on them like the raw data and an array of output strings.

When compiling, access the compiled source through the output property:

var recess = require('recess')

recess('./js/fat.css', { compile: true }, function (err, obj) {
  if (err) throw err
    obj // recess instance for fat.css
  , obj.output // array of loggable content
  , obj.errors // array of failed lint rules


To install recess you need both node and npm installed.

$ npm install recess -g



Copyright 2012 Twitter, Inc.

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0:

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