css vs. scss

CSS vs. SCSS: What’s the difference?

  • 11 mins read

CSS vs. SCSS: What’s the difference?

CSS vs. SCSS — what’s the hype all about? Are you tired of writing long and tedious CSS code? Look no further than SCSS, the supercharged version of CSS that will revolutionize the way you style your website. In this article, we’ll be diving into the differences between CSS and SCSS, and explore the benefits of using SCSS over traditional CSS.

From nested selectors to variables, we’ll show you how SCSS can make your styling process faster, more efficient, and more organized. So, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned developer, read on to learn why SCSS is the future of styling.

What is CSS?

So in the world of web development, HTML is like your canvas, and CSS is like the paints you can use to create eye-catching designs on the canvas. It is a scripting language that you can use to build and design various web pages.

The primary function of the CSS language is to help you customize your web pages and make them more visually attractive. CSS is widely used alongside JavaScript and HTML.

CSS separates your website’s display from content, including layout, colors, and fonts. This separation increases content accessibility, gives you greater flexibility and control in the definition of presentation features, allows your web pages to share formatting by declaring the required CSS in a separate.css file, and decrease structural complexity and duplication.

Basic CSS terms:

CSS declarations

A declaration in CSS is a key-value pair consisting of a CSS property and its value. CSS declarations define style attributes and rules for individuals or groups of items. A colon separates the property name and value, and the whole declaration must be ended with a semi-colon.

!important Rule

The !important rule in CSS is applied to declarations to nullify the effects of any other declarations on a property and disregard the selector specificity. Important rules will ensure that a certain declaration will consistently apply to the items that have been matched.

Font Family:

The font-family CSS property indicates the typeface used in a rule set. The browser must have access to the fonts to appear effectively; these fonts can be stored locally on the computer or linked to as web fonts.

When a certain font value is not accessible, a browser will use its default font. It is considered best practice to include a multi-word typeface name in quotation marks whenever it is used.

Code Snippet:

Here is a little CSS code snippet to help you get familiar with basic CSS.

h4 { 
color: red; 
font-size: 6em;
text-decoration: underline;
}

In this example, our selector is h4. CSS Selectors help you choose which content you want to style. These CSS selectors are a component of the CSS rule set. CSS selectors select HTML elements based on their id, class, type, attribute, etc. In our code snippet, by h4, we mean every level 4 heading on our HTML page will have the same layout and declaration declared in our code snippet.

The selector is followed by the declaration block, further declaring three things. But you can see that each declaration is separated from one other using a semicolon.

In our first declaration, we make sure that every h4 heading content has the color red; note in the color properties, we can also use RGB or hex values. The code would look like

color: rgb(255, 0, 0)

In our next two declarations, we set the font size and used text-decoration to set our content to be underlined.

Benefits of using CSS:

Ease Of Use

Learning CSS is fairly simple, which greatly simplifies developing websites. Because all the codes are consolidated onto a single page, enhancing or modifying the lines can be done without passing through several different pages.

Enhanced Website Performance

The amount of code necessary to power a website can typically span many pages and sometimes even up to two. However, there is no need to worry about that while using CSS. It simply needs two or three lines of code, so the website database is not congested. This eliminates any problems with the loading speed of the website.

Device Friendly

The modifications to the CSS are device friendly. It is necessary to have a responsive web design since people access the internet through various sorts of smart devices. CSS accomplishes this goal by increasing the responsiveness of the web pages, ensuring that they will display in the same manner across all devices. 

Enables SEO

CSS can assist in improving your site’s search engine optimization. If you include CSS in your website’s pages, it will be much simpler for search engines to find your site among the results of their queries.

Easy Repositioning

The re-position property of CSS enables you to express shifts in the location of web items already existing on a page. With its implementation, developers can arrange HTML components anywhere they see fit, whether to coincide with the website’s aesthetic appeal or other concerns.

What is SCSS?

SCSS stands for Sassy Cascading Sheets. It’s basically CSS at its core but with more updated features. Natalie Weizenbaum and Chris Eppstein, and Hampton Catlin developed it.

Saasscript is the language used for scripting SCSS. SCSS incorporates all of the components found in CSS and several additional components used specifically for specialized purposes.

By utilizing SCSS, we can extend the capabilities of CSS to include a wide variety of new features, such as variables, nesting, and many more. Writing conventional CSS may be made significantly simpler and less time-consuming by using all these additional features that can be added to it.

By executing the SCSS files on the server running your web application, SCSS generates a conventional CSS that the browser can comprehend. Reading the code written in SASS or SCSS is much quicker than reading the code written in CSS.

Basic SCSS terminologies:

Variables

How cool it would have variables in our CSS; we won’t have to write all those hex codes all over again, right?

SCSS exactly does that. It allows you to declare variables that can hold properties like colors, font sizes, and other CSS attributes. Variables are an integral part of SCSS. 

The dollar sign ($) defines variables in SCSS, such as the one in the line.

Nestings

Just like HTML, SCSS provides you with nestings. Nesting is a feature of SCSS that allows you to place CSS selectors inside of one another, which may assist in making your code more understandable and organized.

Mixins

One of my favorite advantages of SCSS. Mixins are reusable pieces of CSS code that may be used to cut down on code duplication and make your code easier to maintain. 

Mixins are also known as mixin families and may be included in your code using the @include keyword, which is also used to create mixins. Additionally, mixins are defined by using the @mixin keyword.

Here’s an SCSS snipped to give you an idea of what we’re working with:

$color1:yellow ;
$color2: green;

.container {
  width: 60%;
  margin: 0 auto;

  h2 {
    color:$color1;
  }

  p {
    color: $color2r;
  }
}

In our very first two lines of the code, we define two variables and store the colors yellow and green in the respective variables. 

On our next line, we are setting the width of the class-named container to 60%. Within our container, we have two nested elements h2 and p.

We have set our h2 value to color1, which is equal to yellow; similarly, we have set our p element color to color2, green. 

Benefits of Using CSS:

Clean Code: 

Since it consists of organized code, you can produce clear, simple CSS code with fewer characters. With clean code, it is easier to find anything you need to change, making debugging relatively easier.

Excellent Documentation 

It has excellent documentation, which means that all of the necessary information can be located online and accessed by users.

Supports Nesting

It offers nesting, which enables you to utilize nested syntax and useful functions like color manipulation, mathematical calculations, and other value types.

It works with all different versions of the CSS standard. So, you may utilize any accessible CSS library.

Supports Variables

It is made up of variables that make it possible to reuse the values throughout the CSS document an unlimited number of times.

Syntax Highlighting

The CSS feature known as syntax highlighting is also available in SCSS, where it may be utilized. Using SCSS, you can use the existing code and contribute to improving its internal structure without changing the way the code behaves on the outside.

CSS VS SCSS Comparison

SCSS is more expressive than CSS

SCSS  is considered to be far more expressive than CSS  since it makes use of extra features such as variables, functions, and partials, which not only makes the SCSS easier to read but also easier to debug.

Here’s an example to demonstrate how SCSS is more expressive than CSS.

In CSS:

.container {
  width: 80%;
  margin: 0 auto;
}

.container h1 {
  color: blue;
  font-size: 32px;
}

.container p {
  color: green;
  font-size: 16px;
}

Whereas in SCSS, things are a little different. Have a look at how we accomplish the same thing:

$primary-color: blue;
$secondary-color: green;
$font-size: 16px;

.container {
  width: 80%;
  margin: 0 auto;

  h1 {
    color: $primary-color;
    font-size: $font-size + 16px;
  }

  p {
    color: $secondary-color;
    font-size: $font-size;
  }
}

As you can see, the second SCSS code is more expressive and even easier to change for instance, instead of color everywhere, you can just update the variable’s value to your choice.

SCSS Nesting makes styling easier

The standard version of CSS does not support nesting. We can’t write a class inside of another class. When the scope of the project expands, it creates difficulty with reading, and the structure could appear more appealing.

However, on the other hand, SCSS does support nesting.

Here’s a code comparison to demonstrate why SCSS nesting makes things easier

In CSS:

.container {
  width: 80%;
  margin: 0 auto;
}

.container h1 {
  color: blue;
}

.container p {
  color: green;
}

.container a {
  text-decoration: none;
}

.container a:hover {
  text-decoration: underline;
}

Here’s the code to do the same thing in SCSS:

.container {
  width: 80%;
  margin: 0 auto;

  h1 {
    color: blue;
  }

  p {
    color: green;
  }

  a {
    text-decoration: none;

    &:hover {
      text-decoration: underline;
    }
  }
}

As you can see, the CSS code gets repetitious because the “container” selector must be used again. It becomes tedious and time-consuming. SCSS, on the other hand, handles this issue through the use of Nesting.

Mathematical Operation:

You can use operators to do math calculations in your SCSS.. Using simple maths in your code can help you get better results. However, CSS doesn’t support math function functions. 

Here’s a way to how you can implement maths functions in SCSS.

$base-font-size: 16px;
$line-height: 1.5;

body {
  font-size: $base-font-size;
  line-height: $line-height;
}

h1 {
  font-size: $base-font-size * 2;  // 32px
}

.container {
  width: 80%;
  margin: 0 auto;
  padding: 10px * 2;  // 20px
}

.box {
  width: 100px / 4;  // 25px
  height: 100px % 3;  // 1px
}

In our first two lines, as you can see, we have declared two variables: base-font-size and line-height with 16px and 1.5 values, respectively. Then in the h1 selector, we declared our font-size but used the mathematical operator “*,” which multiples our value 16 with 2 to result in 32.

And then, in .container, we multiplied padding with 2, which was 10px and resulted in 20px. Similarly, we used  / and % in our next few steps.

CSS vs. SCSS: FAQS

Is CSS compatible with SCSS?

Yes, the syntax of SCSS is consistent with that of CSS, so all you need to do is rename the file .css to.scss, and you’re done. Simply like that, your very first SCSS file has been generated.

Is CSS better than SCSS?

SCSS is a wonderful option for developers to utilize since it has all the functionality of CSS and many more things that CSS does not have. SCSS has a tonne of sophisticated features. 

Variables are available in SCSS, allowing you to make your code shorter. It has several benefits over traditional CSS.

Is SCSS harder than CSS?

Not that CSS is hard to begin with. But SCSS makes it easy to write CSS that is clean, simple, and uses less code. It has less code, which makes it faster to write CSS. Because it builds on CSS, it is more stable, powerful, and beautiful. So it’s easy for designers and developers to work faster and more efficiently.

Will SCSS replace CSS?

SASS will never take over for CSS. CSS is the standard made by the W3C, and browser makers follow it (and sometimes improve it) when making the rendering engines for their browsers.

Tyler Von Harz

I am a computer and software nerd. I love working on new projects that involve taking something apart, troubleshooting, coding, writing, or developing. I started my journey down this path as a kid and opened my first computer repair shop at 18. I also own and operate a web development agency and a Youtube channel for coding.

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