Improving software delivery in every organisation

CSS Architecture

A well-written set of stylesheets balance a number of factors including

  • Browser support - does the styling render the same in a wide range of commonly used browsers?
  • Ease of change - can we easily change the styles to meet changing customer needs?
  • Reuse - can we reuse commonly used styles easily?
  • Stability - can we safely change our styles without worrying about unrelated breakages?
  • Expressiveness - can we understand what our styles do, and do they make sense?
  • Performance - are our styles fast to load and render?

If this seems overwhelming, don’t worry, we’re here to help.

CSS Resets

One issue you will face is that even with a brand-new HTML file, without any stylesheets imported, different browsers will render this file differently. The cause of this is differing browser-default styling.

The defacto-accepted solution to this is to use a CSS reset stylesheet (of which there are many). A CSS reset will ensure that all browsers have the same basic styles upon which you can start layering custom styles ontop of.

Note: most CSS frameworks prepackage a CSS reset.

CSS Methodologies

You will also need to choose an approach to achieve a well-architected set of CSS styles.

Component Based CSS

If you are using React (or similar), it is likely that a Component-based approach makes the most sense

BEM

Block Element Modifier.

  • http://getbem.com/

we also give a mention to…

  • Component-based CSS
  • OOCSS
  • Atomic CSS
  • Scalable and Modular Architecture for CSS (SMACSS)

  • http://atomicdesign.bradfrost.com/table-of-contents/
  • https://smacss.com/book/
  • https://maintainablecss.com/chapters/semantics/
  • https://css-tricks.com/when-using-important-is-the-right-choice/

CSS Frameworks

On the one hand, CSS Frameworks are usually battle-tested in multiple browsers. Leveraging one can provide the benefit of support in many browsers. It is also much faster to get going with a CSS Framework, as many common components are likely implemented for you.

The downside is that many CSS frameworks are usually very large slabs of CSS code, which will have a significant impact on the size of your CSS assets - larger assets mean that your page load times will become slower.

Another criticism is that CSS frameworks allow you to do things their way, but provide little-to-no help when you want to implement a custom set of styles, and can sometimes hinder this process.

  • https://hacks.mozilla.org/2016/04/you-might-not-need-a-css-framework/
  • https://css-tricks.com/what-are-the-benefits-of-using-a-css-framework/

CSS Preprocessors

  • https://designmodo.com/introduction-sass/
  • https://lincolnloop.com/blog/linting-scss-sass-lint/

CSS Layout

  • https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Learn/CSS/CSS_layout
  • https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Learn/CSS/CSS_layout/Floats
  • https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Learn/CSS/CSS_layout/Flexbox
  • https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/CSS/CSS_Flexible_Box_Layout/Basic_Concepts_of_Flexbox
  • https://css-tricks.com/snippets/css/a-guide-to-flexbox/

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