Ruby interface for Stylus
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Ruby Stylus

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stylus is a bridge between Ruby and the Stylus library that runs on node.js. It has support for Rails 4 applications. (if you are working with Rails 3, check the 0-7-stable branch.)


If you have a Gemfile:

gem 'stylus'

or install it on your system:

gem install stylus

The ruby-stylus-source packages the Stylus source into a gem, and is installed as a dependency of this gem. Versions of ruby-stylus-source follow Stylus releases and their versions.

You can manually replace the Stylus code by placing another version of Stylus on ./node_modules/stylus, and it will be used instead of the version bundled inside the gem.

REMEMBER, you still need the node command available on your runtime for this gem to work. This gem is also compatible with the Heroku Cedar stack, enabling asset compilation during the deployment of your apps. You can check the Node.js wiki for more info.


The interaction is done by the Stylus module. You can compile Stylus syntax to CSS, convert it back, enable plugins and tweak some other options:

require 'stylus'

# Accepts a raw string or an IO object (File, StringIO or anything that responds to 'read').
Stylus.compile('application.styl')) # returns the compiled stylesheet.

# Use the :compress option, removing most newlines from the code.
Stylus.compile('application.styl'), compress: true)

# Or use the global compress flag
Stylus.compress = true

# Convert old and boring CSS to awesome Stylus.

# Import plugins directly from Node.js, like nib.
Stylus.use :nib

# Enable debug info, which sends the 'linenos' and 'firebug' options to Stylus.
# If you provide a raw content String to the `Stylus.compile` method, remember to send
# a `:filename` option so Stylus can locate your stylesheet for proper inspection.
Stylus.debug = true

With Rails and the Asset Pipeline.

Adding stylus to your Gemfile should let you work with .styl files with the Rails 3.1 Pipeline. Any asset generated with rails generate will be created with a .css.styl extension.

Any @import directive will add the stylesheet as a sprockets dependency, so you can update external libraries and it will reflect on your assets fingerprints. Also, the Sprockets load path (usually app/assets, lib/assets, vendor/assets and the assets folder inside any other gem) will be available to your stylesheets.

If the config.assets.debug is turned on, Stylus will emit extra comments on your stylesheets to help debugging and inspection using the linenos and firebug options. Check the FireStylus extension for Firebug for more info.

It should be noted that in a default rails project you should also remove the sass-rails gem. This gem includes the tilt gem required by the asset pipeline so you should also add that gem back on its own.

# gem 'sass-rails'
gem 'tilt'

For compilation of assets during deployment (e.g. for heroku) you'll also need to enable/add the rubyracer gem.

# See for more supported runtimes
gem 'therubyracer', platforms: :ruby

@import and file extensions.

Stylus and Sprockets file lookups differ on the subject of handling file extensions, and that may hurt a bit.

If you use Stylus @import to expose variables, mixins or just to concatenate code, you should use only the .styl extension on your imported files. If you use the .css.styl form (a convention from Sprockets), Stylus will treat it as a plain CSS file since it has .css on its name.

// imports mixins.styl
@import 'mixins'

@import dependency resolution

Because of how sprockets handles dependency resolution for computing file changes and expiring caches, it is necessary to specify the full import path in your import statements.

That is, given:


Imports should be specified with the full path relative to app/assets/stylesheets regardless of where the file calling the import is. In this example we use the app/assets directory, but this also applies to vendor/assets and lib/assets.

# app/assets/stylesheets/file.styl
@import "some_directory/other_file.styl"

# app/assets/stylesheets/some_directory/other_file.styl
@import "some_directory/another_file.styl"

This will ensure that all changes get reflected when any of the imported files change. If you don't do this, sprockets will not accurately be able to keep track of your dependencies.

Standalone Sprockets usage

If you're using Sprockets outside Rails, on Sinatra or on a plain Rack app, you can wire up Stylus inside a instance of Sprockets::Environment with the Stylus.setup method.

An example of serving stylesheets from ./stylesheets using just Sprockets and Rack.

require 'sprockets'
require 'stylus/sprockets'

# Serve your stylesheets living on ./stylesheets
assets =


# Run the Sprockets with Rack
map('/assets') { run assets.index }


Stylus exposes a nice API to create plugins written on node.js, like nib. The installation process should be the same as described above for Stylus (since they're all npm packages after all). You can hook them up on your Ruby code with Stylus.use:

Stylus.use :fingerprint, literal: 'caa8c262e23268d2a7062c6217202343b84f472b'

Will run something like this in JavaScript:


Questions, Bugs or Support

Drop us a line in the issues section.

Be sure to include sample code that reproduces the problem.

For more info about Stylus syntax and its features, you can check the project repository, and the docs on the GitHub page.


Available here.


Copyright (c) 2012-2015 Lucas Mazza; 2015 Forge Software, LLC.

This is free software, and may be redistributed under the terms specified in the LICENSE file.