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Alternatives to Less

CSS 3, Sass, Animate.css , PostCSS, and Stylus are the most popular alternatives and competitors to Less.
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What is Less and what are its top alternatives?

Less is a CSS pre-processor, meaning that it extends the CSS language, adding features that allow variables, mixins, functions and many other techniques that allow you to make CSS that is more maintainable, themable and extendable.
Less is a tool in the CSS Pre-processors / Extensions category of a tech stack.
Less is an open source tool with 16.7K GitHub stars and 3.5K GitHub forks. Here’s a link to Less's open source repository on GitHub

Top Alternatives to Less

  • CSS 3

    CSS 3

    CSS3 is the latest evolution of the Cascading Style Sheets language and aims at extending CSS2.1. It brings a lot of long-awaited novelties, like rounded corners, shadows, gradients, transitions or animations, as well as new layouts like multi-columns, flexible box or grid layouts. Experimental parts are vendor-prefixed and should either be avoided in production environments, or used with extreme caution as both their syntax and semantics can change in the future. ...

  • Sass

    Sass

    Sass is an extension of CSS3, adding nested rules, variables, mixins, selector inheritance, and more. It's translated to well-formatted, standard CSS using the command line tool or a web-framework plugin. ...

  • Animate.css

    Animate.css

    It is a bunch of cool, fun, and cross-browser animations for you to use in your projects. Great for emphasis, home pages, sliders, and general just-add-water-awesomeness. ...

  • PostCSS

    PostCSS

    PostCSS is a tool for transforming CSS with JS plugins. These plugins can support variables and mixins, transpile future CSS syntax, inline images, and more. ...

  • Stylus

    Stylus

    Stylus is a revolutionary new language, providing an efficient, dynamic, and expressive way to generate CSS. Supporting both an indented syntax and regular CSS style. ...

  • Compass

    Compass

    The compass core framework is a design-agnostic framework that provides common code that would otherwise be duplicated across other frameworks and extensions. ...

  • Autoprefixer

    Autoprefixer

    It is a CSS post processor. It combs through compiled CSS files to add or remove vendor prefixes like -webkit and -moz after checking the code. ...

  • Bourbon

    Bourbon

    Bourbon is a library of pure sass mixins that are designed to be simple and easy to use. No configuration required. The mixins aim to be as vanilla as possible, meaning they should be as close to the original CSS syntax as possible. ...

Less alternatives & related posts

CSS 3 logo

CSS 3

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The latest evolution of the Cascading Style Sheets language
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      Jonathan Pugh
      Software Engineer / Project Manager / Technical Architect · | 25 upvotes · 1.6M views

      I needed to choose a full stack of tools for cross platform mobile application design & development. After much research and trying different tools, these are what I came up with that work for me today:

      For the client coding I chose Framework7 because of its performance, easy learning curve, and very well designed, beautiful UI widgets. I think it's perfect for solo development or small teams. I didn't like React Native. It felt heavy to me and rigid. Framework7 allows the use of #CSS3, which I think is the best technology to come out of the #WWW movement. No other tech has been able to allow designers and developers to develop such flexible, high performance, customisable user interface elements that are highly responsive and hardware accelerated before. Now #CSS3 includes variables and flexboxes it is truly a powerful language and there is no longer a need for preprocessors such as #SCSS / #Sass / #less. React Native contains a very limited interpretation of #CSS3 which I found very frustrating after using #CSS3 for some years already and knowing its powerful features. The other very nice feature of Framework7 is that you can even build for the browser if you want your app to be available for desktop web browsers. The latest release also includes the ability to build for #Electron so you can have MacOS, Windows and Linux desktop apps. This is not possible with React Native yet.

      Framework7 runs on top of Apache Cordova. Cordova and webviews have been slated as being slow in the past. Having a game developer background I found the tweeks to make it run as smooth as silk. One of those tweeks is to use WKWebView. Another important one was using srcset on images.

      I use #Template7 for the for the templating system which is a no-nonsense mobile-centric #HandleBars style extensible templating system. It's easy to write custom helpers for, is fast and has a small footprint. I'm not forced into a new paradigm or learning some new syntax. It operates with standard JavaScript, HTML5 and CSS 3. It's written by the developer of Framework7 and so dovetails with it as expected.

      I configured TypeScript to work with the latest version of Framework7. I consider TypeScript to be one of the best creations to come out of Microsoft in some time. They must have an amazing team working on it. It's very powerful and flexible. It helps you catch a lot of bugs and also provides code completion in supporting IDEs. So for my IDE I use Visual Studio Code which is a blazingly fast and silky smooth editor that integrates seamlessly with TypeScript for the ultimate type checking setup (both products are produced by Microsoft).

      I use Webpack and Babel to compile the JavaScript. TypeScript can compile to JavaScript directly but Babel offers a few more options and polyfills so you can use the latest (and even prerelease) JavaScript features today and compile to be backwards compatible with virtually any browser. My favorite recent addition is "optional chaining" which greatly simplifies and increases readability of a number of sections of my code dealing with getting and setting data in nested objects.

      I use some Ruby scripts to process images with ImageMagick and pngquant to optimise for size and even auto insert responsive image code into the HTML5. Ruby is the ultimate cross platform scripting language. Even as your scripts become large, Ruby allows you to refactor your code easily and make it Object Oriented if necessary. I find it the quickest and easiest way to maintain certain aspects of my build process.

      For the user interface design and prototyping I use Figma. Figma has an almost identical user interface to #Sketch but has the added advantage of being cross platform (MacOS and Windows). Its real-time collaboration features are outstanding and I use them a often as I work mostly on remote projects. Clients can collaborate in real-time and see changes I make as I make them. The clickable prototyping features in Figma are also very well designed and mean I can send clickable prototypes to clients to try user interface updates as they are made and get immediate feedback. I'm currently also evaluating the latest version of #AdobeXD as an alternative to Figma as it has the very cool auto-animate feature. It doesn't have real-time collaboration yet, but I heard it is proposed for 2019.

      For the UI icons I use Font Awesome Pro. They have the largest selection and best looking icons you can find on the internet with several variations in styles so you can find most of the icons you want for standard projects.

      For the backend I was using the #GraphCool Framework. As I later found out, #GraphQL still has some way to go in order to provide the full power of a mature graph query language so later in my project I ripped out #GraphCool and replaced it with CouchDB and Pouchdb. Primarily so I could provide good offline app support. CouchDB with Pouchdb is very flexible and efficient combination and overcomes some of the restrictions I found in #GraphQL and hence #GraphCool also. The most impressive and important feature of CouchDB is its replication. You can configure it in various ways for backups, fault tolerance, caching or conditional merging of databases. CouchDB and Pouchdb even supports storing, retrieving and serving binary or image data or other mime types. This removes a level of complexity usually present in database implementations where binary or image data is usually referenced through an #HTML5 link. With CouchDB and Pouchdb apps can operate offline and sync later, very efficiently, when the network connection is good.

      I use PhoneGap when testing the app. It auto-reloads your app when its code is changed and you can also install it on Android phones to preview your app instantly. iOS is a bit more tricky cause of Apple's policies so it's not available on the App Store, but you can build it and install it yourself to your device.

      So that's my latest mobile stack. What tools do you use? Have you tried these ones?

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      Simon Reymann
      Senior Fullstack Developer at QUANTUSflow Software GmbH · | 20 upvotes · 886.7K views

      Our whole Vue.js frontend stack (incl. SSR) consists of the following tools:

      • Nuxt.js consisting of Vue CLI, Vue Router, vuex, Webpack and Sass (Bundler for HTML5, CSS 3), Babel (Transpiler for JavaScript),
      • Vue Styleguidist as our style guide and pool of developed Vue.js components
      • Vuetify as Material Component Framework (for fast app development)
      • TypeScript as programming language
      • Apollo / GraphQL (incl. GraphiQL) for data access layer (https://apollo.vuejs.org/)
      • ESLint, TSLint and Prettier for coding style and code analyzes
      • Jest as testing framework
      • Google Fonts and Font Awesome for typography and icon toolkit
      • NativeScript-Vue for mobile development

      The main reason we have chosen Vue.js over React and AngularJS is related to the following artifacts:

      • Empowered HTML. Vue.js has many similar approaches with Angular. This helps to optimize HTML blocks handling with the use of different components.
      • Detailed documentation. Vue.js has very good documentation which can fasten learning curve for developers.
      • Adaptability. It provides a rapid switching period from other frameworks. It has similarities with Angular and React in terms of design and architecture.
      • Awesome integration. Vue.js can be used for both building single-page applications and more difficult web interfaces of apps. Smaller interactive parts can be easily integrated into the existing infrastructure with no negative effect on the entire system.
      • Large scaling. Vue.js can help to develop pretty large reusable templates.
      • Tiny size. Vue.js weights around 20KB keeping its speed and flexibility. It allows reaching much better performance in comparison to other frameworks.
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      Sass logo

      Sass

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      PROS OF SASS
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        Variables
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        Mixins
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        Nested rules
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        Maintainable
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        Functions
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        Modular flexible code
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        Open source
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        Selector inheritance
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        Dynamic
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        Better than cs
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        Used by Bootstrap
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        If and for function
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        Better than less
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        Inheritance (@extend)
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        Custom functions
      CONS OF SASS
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        Needs to be compiled

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      Islam Diab
      Full-stack Developer at Freelancer · | 9 upvotes · 30.3K views

      Hi, I want to start freelancing, I have two years of experience in web development, and my skills in web development: HTML CSS JavaScript [basic, Object-Oriented Programming, Document object model, and browser object model] jQuery Bootstrap 3, 4 Pre-processor -> Sass Template Engine with Pug.js Task Runner with Gulp.js and Webpack Ajax JSON JavaScript Unit testing with jest framework Vue.js

      Node.js [Just basic]

      My Skills in Back end development Php [Basic, and Object-Oriented Programming] Database management system with MySql for database relationships and MongoDB for database non-relationships architecture pattern with MVC concept concept of SOLID Unit testing with PHPUnit Restful API

      Laravel Framework

      and version control with GitHub ultimately, I want to start working as a freelancer full time. Thanks.

      See more

      ReactQL is a React + GraphQL front-end starter kit. #JSX is a natural way to think about building UI, and it renders to pure #HTML in the browser and on the server, making it trivial to build server-rendered Single Page Apps. GraphQL via Apollo was chosen for the data layer; #GraphQL makes it simple to request just the data your app needs, and #Apollo takes care of communicating with your API (written in any language; doesn't have to be JavaScript!), caching, and rendering to #React.

      ReactQL is written in TypeScript to provide full types/Intellisense, and pick up hard-to-diagnose goofs that might later show up at runtime. React makes heavy use of Webpack 4 to handle transforming your code to an optimised client-side bundle, and in throws back just enough code needed for the initial render, while seamlessly handling import statements asynchronously as needed, making the payload your user downloads ultimately much smaller than trying to do it by hand.

      React Helmet was chosen to handle <head> content, because it works universally, making it easy to throw back the correct <title> and other tags on the initial render, as well as inject new tags for subsequent client-side views.

      styled-components, Sass, Less and PostCSS were added to give developers a choice of whether to build styles purely in React / JavaScript, or whether to defer to a #css #preprocessor. This is especially useful for interop with UI frameworks like Bootstrap, Semantic UI, Foundation, etc - ReactQL lets you mix and match #css and renders to both a static .css file during bundling as well as generates per-page <style> tags when using #StyledComponents.

      React Router handles routing, because it works both on the server and in the client. ReactQL customises it further by capturing non-200 responses on the server, redirecting or throwing back custom 404 pages as needed.

      Koa is the web server that handles all incoming HTTP requests, because it's fast (TTFB < 5ms, even after fully rendering React), and its natively #async, making it easy to async/await inside routes and middleware.

      See more
      Animate.css  logo

      Animate.css

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      A library of CSS animations
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          PostCSS logo

          PostCSS

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          Transform CSS with JS plugins
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          PROS OF POSTCSS
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            The "babel" of CSS
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            Customizable
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            Autoprefixer
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            Variables
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            PostCSS Flexbugs Fixes
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            Mixins
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            CSS MQPacker
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            ReactQL is a React + GraphQL front-end starter kit. #JSX is a natural way to think about building UI, and it renders to pure #HTML in the browser and on the server, making it trivial to build server-rendered Single Page Apps. GraphQL via Apollo was chosen for the data layer; #GraphQL makes it simple to request just the data your app needs, and #Apollo takes care of communicating with your API (written in any language; doesn't have to be JavaScript!), caching, and rendering to #React.

            ReactQL is written in TypeScript to provide full types/Intellisense, and pick up hard-to-diagnose goofs that might later show up at runtime. React makes heavy use of Webpack 4 to handle transforming your code to an optimised client-side bundle, and in throws back just enough code needed for the initial render, while seamlessly handling import statements asynchronously as needed, making the payload your user downloads ultimately much smaller than trying to do it by hand.

            React Helmet was chosen to handle <head> content, because it works universally, making it easy to throw back the correct <title> and other tags on the initial render, as well as inject new tags for subsequent client-side views.

            styled-components, Sass, Less and PostCSS were added to give developers a choice of whether to build styles purely in React / JavaScript, or whether to defer to a #css #preprocessor. This is especially useful for interop with UI frameworks like Bootstrap, Semantic UI, Foundation, etc - ReactQL lets you mix and match #css and renders to both a static .css file during bundling as well as generates per-page <style> tags when using #StyledComponents.

            React Router handles routing, because it works both on the server and in the client. ReactQL customises it further by capturing non-200 responses on the server, redirecting or throwing back custom 404 pages as needed.

            Koa is the web server that handles all incoming HTTP requests, because it's fast (TTFB < 5ms, even after fully rendering React), and its natively #async, making it easy to async/await inside routes and middleware.

            See more
            awesomebanana2018
            Shared insights
            on
            PostCSSPostCSSStylusStylusSassSass

            Originally, I was going to start using Sass with Parcel, but then I learned about Stylus, which looked interesting because it can get the property values of something directly instead of through variables, and PostCSS, which looked interesting because you can customize your Pre/Post-processing. Which tool would you recommend?

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            Stylus

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            Expressive, robust, feature-rich CSS language built for nodejs
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              Simple
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              Indented syntax
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              Efficient
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              Built for node.js
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              Open source
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              Expressive
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              Maintainable
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              Feature-rich
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              Better than CS
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              Variables
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              Functions
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              @extend directive
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              Contempt for curly brackets
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              Very clean
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              Mixins
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              Is Easy
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              No colons, semi-colons or even curly braces
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              Its unique
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              Dynamic selectors
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              Scriptable
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              Easy Efficiently
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              Transparent
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              Supports orthogonal architecture
            CONS OF STYLUS
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              awesomebanana2018
              Shared insights
              on
              PostCSSPostCSSStylusStylusSassSass

              Originally, I was going to start using Sass with Parcel, but then I learned about Stylus, which looked interesting because it can get the property values of something directly instead of through variables, and PostCSS, which looked interesting because you can customize your Pre/Post-processing. Which tool would you recommend?

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              Compass

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              A Stylesheet Authoring Environment that makes your website design simpler to implement and easier to maintain
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                No vendor prefix CSS pain
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                Compass sprites
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                Autoprefixer

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                PostCSS plugin to parse CSS and add vendor prefixes to CSS rules
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                    Bourbon

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                    A lightweight mixin library for Sass
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                    PROS OF BOURBON
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                      Simple mixins
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                      Lightweight
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                      No javascript
                    CONS OF BOURBON
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