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hillcss - A Sass Toolkit for Intuitive Layouting

Build Status npm version

1 - Why hillcss

Layouting should be separate from project Module styling. So we decided to create a toolkit of Sass functions and Markup helpers to realise a layouting framework that is lightweight and can be used independently.

hillcss covers all basic aspects of modern CSS layouting and it has also even more advantages:

Why hillcss Schema

  • Keep Focus on your Module Styles ...
  • ... Layouting is already set up with hillcss!
  • Fits perfectly into your Project
  • Generates only that parts you need
  • Very Lightweight 0.5KB (Full Configuration, GZip)
  • A simple and intuitive Grid-System
  • API for both Sass and HTML
  • Well thought out by developers for developers

2 - Get hillcss

$ npm i hillcss --save

3 - Use hillcss

Now load hillcss into your Sass project. Load hill-api.scss instead of hill.scss file in order to use only the Sass API.

@import 'node_modules/hillcss/hill';

hillcss is splitted into different Parts. Each of this parts can be configured independently. Now, the first step is to configure hillcss properly to fit into your project. The following Scss configuration variables are defined globally and without a !default flag to overwrite the hillcss defaults.


  • All parameters are optional and not required!
  • All HTML API Parameters can also be used simultaneously!

3.1 - HTML Prefix / Namespace

It is up to you how to call you layouting tool:

  • Default hill
  • Type String

Sass Config

$hill-html-prefix: myProject;


<div myProject-layout="space-bottom">...</div>
<p myProject-text="center">...</p>

3.2 - [Layout] Boxes

Hill Layout Boxes

We decided to use a Grid System based on fractions not based on percentage.

  • Default ('1/4', '1/2', '3/4', '1/1')
  • Type List
  • HTML API Enabled by Default $hill-layout-box-css-output: true default;

Sass Config

$hill-layout-boxes: (

$hill-layout-box-css-output: false; // To not render HTML API helper


  • row (Adds a clearfix (3.4) and float Boxes inside)
  • box-{fraction} (Last-child has no Box-Space (3.3))
  • box-0 (Hide elements from the screen per default with `-0)
<div hill-layout="row">
    <div hill-layout="box-1/3">...</div>
    <div hill-layout="box-2/3">...</div>

<div hill-layout="box-0">Hidden Box</div>

3.3 - [Layout] Box Space

Default Gutter Space between Layout Boxes.

  • Default 2%
  • Type Number
  • Hint If you need to create fixed box spacing, just use Pixel or Rem values. $hill-layout-box-space: 10px;

Sass Config

$hill-layout-box-space: 5%;

3.4 - [Layout] Spacing / General Helper

Variable used for vertical and horizontal spacing between block or inline-block HTMLElements. On the other hand, hillcss has a set of HTML API helper that are enabled in combination with space-helper.

  • Default 1.25rem
  • Type Number
  • Hint Pixel and REM units are both permitted
  • HTML API Enabled by Default $hill-layout-general-css-output: true !default

Sass Config

$hill-layout-space: 2rem;
$hill-layout-general-css-output: false; // To not render HTML API helper


  • space-{top, right, bottom, left}
  • space-{top, right, bottom, left}-{multiplier} // See 3.5
  • float-left
  • float-right
  • clear (Micro Pseudo-Element Clearfix)
<p hill-layout="space-bottom">...</p>

<div hill-layout="clear">
    <img hill-layout="float-right" />

3.5 - Layout Space Multiplier

Multiplier of $hill-layout-space (see 3.4) to increase Spacing but always be a multiple of the same base. If it has a value of 3, it means that for example space-bottom, space-bottom-2x and space-bottom-3x helper attributes are available in html.

  • Default 2
  • Type Number

Sass Config

$hill-layout-space-multiplier: 3;


<p hill-layout="space-top-2x">...</p>
<p hill-layout="space-right-3x">...</p>

3.6 - [Layout] Breakpoints

hillcss has variables Breakpoints which are used for the HTML API of Boxes and for the Sass API. Breakpoints makes it possible to change Box Sizing and visibility on different screen sizes. It will also being considered to use the width of the surrounding container of a Box instead of the screen size (Element Queries could be the right choice here). (We planned this for one of the next versions of hillcss)

  • Default (small: 480px, medium: 992px, large: 1280px)
  • Type Map
  • HTML API Disabled by Default $hill-layout-responsive-css-output: false !default;
  • WATCHOUT It is important to keep the order of the Sass map from smallest to largest breakpoint. Otherwise, hillcss couldn't resolve the MediaQuery ranges correctly.

Sass Config

$hill-layout-breakpoints: (
    phone-portrait: 320px,
    phone-landscape: 480px,
    phone-large: 640px,
    tablet: 992px,
    desktop:  1280px,
    desktop-large: 1600px

$hill-layout-responsive-css-output: true; // To render HTML API helper

Sass API

  • hill-device-is($breakpoint)
  • hill-device-min($breakpoint)
  • hill-device-max($breakpoint)
  • hill-device-between($min-breakpoint, $max-breakpoint)
.example {
    color: blue;

    @include hill-device-is(small) {
        color: red;


<div hill-layout="box-1/4 device-small-1/2">...</div>
<p hill-layout="device-small-0">Hidden on `small`</p>

3.7 - [Layout] Layers

To be more consistent we create a Map of z-index Layers (we call them layer aliases) and the corresponding Sass API to work with the Map.

  • Default ('highest', 'lowest')
  • Type List

Sass Config

$hill-layer-order: (

Sass API

  • hill-layer($alias)
.overlay {
    position: absolute;
    z-index: @layer('overlay'); // z-index: 2

.page {
    position: absolute;
    z-index: @layer('background'); // z-index: 1
$hill-layer-order: (
    'highest', // z-index: 3
    'center',  // z-index: 2
    'lowest'   // z-index: 1

3.8 - [Text] Sizes

hillcss comes not only with Layout helpers, Text is another Part of hillcss. With a predefined Map of different Font-Sizes and the corresponding HTML and Sass API you can keep the font sizes of your project consistent.

On the other hand, hillcss has a set of HTML API alignment helper that are enabled in combination with text-helper.

  • Default (small-3x: 0.8rem, small-2x: 0.9rem, base: 1rem, large-2x: 1.2rem, large-3x: 1.4rem)
  • Type Map
  • HTML API Disabled by Default $hill-text-helper-css-output: false !default;

Sass Config

$hill-text-sizes: (
    micro: 0.8rem,
    mini:  0.9rem,
    base:    1rem,
    large:   2rem,
    giant:   5rem

$hill-text-helper-css-output: true; // To render HTML API helper

Sass API

  • hill-text-is($size)
.example {
    font-size: hill-text-is(large-3x);


  • {font-size}
  • left
  • right
  • center
<h3 hill-text="large-3x right">...</h3>

3.9 - [Text] Root Font-Size

For REM calculation it is up to you to change the root font-size of your project. hillcss has a Sass Pixel to Rem calculation function on Board.

  • Default 16px
  • Type Number

Sass Config

$hill-text-root: 14px;

Sass API

  • rem($pixel, $root: $hill-text-root)
.example {
    width: rem(200px);          // width: 12.5rem;
    padding: rem(10) rem(20);   // padding: 0.625rem 1.25rem;