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PostCSS vs Sass: What are the differences?

PostCSS and Sass are two popular CSS preprocessors. Let's explore the key differences between them.

  1. Modularity and Flexibility: PostCSS allows for the creation of custom plugins, making it highly modular and flexible. This means that developers can choose and configure only the features they need, resulting in a more lightweight and optimized development environment. On the other hand, Sass has a more opinionated and comprehensive feature set, which may provide more convenience for developers who prefer an all-in-one solution.

  2. Syntax: PostCSS follows the standard CSS syntax, making it easier for developers already familiar with CSS to adopt and work with. It allows for gradual adoption, as existing CSS files can be processed incrementally with PostCSS. In contrast, Sass introduces its own syntax, which includes nesting, variables, mixins, and other additional features. While this provides a more concise and expressive syntax, it requires developers to learn and adapt to a new set of rules.

  3. Compilation: PostCSS operates on a plugin-based architecture, allowing it to parse and modify CSS files. It can be integrated directly into build pipelines, enabling real-time processing of CSS. Sass, on the other hand, requires compilation, as it is a separate preprocessor language. It needs to be compiled into standard CSS before it can be used in a web page. This additional compilation step introduces a slight delay in the development process compared to PostCSS.

  4. Community and Ecosystem: Sass has been around for a longer time and, as a result, has a larger and more established community. This means more resources, such as tutorials, documentation, and community support, are available for Sass users. PostCSS, however, has gained popularity in recent years and has an active and growing community. It has a wide range of plugins and integrations, allowing developers to extend its functionality as needed.

  5. CSS Support: PostCSS focuses on enhancing and extending CSS capabilities. It provides features like automatic vendor prefixing, custom property sets, and future CSS syntax compatibility. It ensures that developers can write modern CSS without worrying about browser support. In comparison, Sass mainly focuses on providing syntactical improvements and reusable code patterns. While Sass also supports vendor prefixing through libraries like Autoprefixer, it is not as comprehensive as the PostCSS implementation.

  6. Learning Curve: Due to its closer resemblance to the standard CSS syntax, PostCSS has a relatively lower learning curve for developers familiar with CSS. It allows for an incremental adoption approach, where developers can start using PostCSS features gradually. In contrast, Sass introduces a new syntax and additional concepts like nesting and mixins, which may take more time for developers to learn and get used to.

In summary, PostCSS offers modularity and flexibility, follows standard CSS syntax, operates without the need for compilation, has an active community and ecosystem, focuses on enhancing CSS support, and has a relatively lower learning curve. In comparison, Sass provides an opinionated and comprehensive feature set, introduces its own syntax, requires separate compilation, has a larger and more established community, focuses on syntactical improvements and code patterns, and may require more time to learn.

Advice on PostCSS and Sass
awesomebanana2018
Needs advice
on
PostCSSPostCSSSassSass
and
StylusStylus

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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Replies (2)
Recommends
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PostCSSPostCSS

You're not correct with saying "vs Postcss". You're using Less/Sass/Stylus/... to produce "CSS" (maybe extended means it has some future features) and then in any case PostCSS will play (it is shipped with Parcel/NextJS/CRA/...)

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Decisions about PostCSS and Sass
Cory Bell

JSS is makes a lot of sense when styling React components and styled-components is a really nice implementation of JSS. I still get to write pure CSS, but in a more componentized way. With CSS post-processors like SASS and LESS, you spend a lot of time deciding where your .scss or .less files belong, which classes should be shared, and generally fighting the component nature of React. With styled-components, you get the best of CSS and React. In this project, I have ZERO CSS files or global CSS classes and I leverage mixins quite a bit.

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Pros of PostCSS
Pros of Sass
  • 21
    The "babel" of CSS
  • 15
    Customizable
  • 8
    Autoprefixer
  • 2
    Variables
  • 1
    Mixins
  • 1
    CSS MQPacker
  • 1
    PostCSS Flexbugs Fixes
  • 613
    Variables
  • 594
    Mixins
  • 466
    Nested rules
  • 410
    Maintainable
  • 300
    Functions
  • 149
    Modular flexible code
  • 143
    Open source
  • 112
    Selector inheritance
  • 107
    Dynamic
  • 96
    Better than cs
  • 5
    Used by Bootstrap
  • 3
    If and for function
  • 2
    Better than less
  • 1
    Inheritance (@extend)
  • 1
    Custom functions

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Cons of PostCSS
Cons of Sass
    Be the first to leave a con
    • 6
      Needs to be compiled

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    What is 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.

    What is 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.

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    What companies use Sass?
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    What tools integrate with PostCSS?
    What tools integrate with Sass?

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    What are some alternatives to PostCSS and Sass?
    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.
    CSS Modules
    It is a CSS file in which all class names and animation names are scoped locally by default. The key words here are scoped locally. With this, your CSS class names become similar to local variables in JavaScript. It goes into the compiler, and CSS comes out the other side.
    Less
    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.
    node-sass
    It is a library that provides binding for Node.js to LibSass, the C version of the popular stylesheet preprocessor, Sass. It allows you to natively compile .scss files to css at incredible speed and automatically via a connect middleware.
    styled-components
    Visual primitives for the component age. Use the best bits of ES6 and CSS to style your apps without stress 馃拝
    See all alternatives