SASS CSS How-to: A (Short) Review

Microsoft Dynamics GPAs well as a strong interest in Dynamics GP, I tend to have an interest in most things computer related. As such I have a few years experience with HTML+CSS and have created a few sites in the past, in addition to this blog on which I have done some customisations and enhancements of the code and theme.

I do find some of CSS a bit of a hassle when it comes to changing common elements such as colour so I was interested when I heard about the concept of SASS or Syntactically Awesome Style Sheets (I’ll admit to being happier with the acronym than the full name).

Packt Publishing, who are publishing my Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Cookbook, have published a SASS CSS How-to book by Alex Libby. This book takes a look at how to write more efficient CSS using the SASS CSS library through practical hands-on recipes;


The early chapters of the book run through the installation of the tools required to use SASS which include Ruby and a text editor with a SASS plugin. The steps are nice and easy to follow and, fortunately from my point of view, are Windows based which makes them accessible and easy to use. My one quibble is the download link to the SASS plugin for Sublime Text 2 is not valid; a little prodding around on the github project did get me the download.

The following chapters run through the process of using SASS with each recipe defined as a “Must know”, “Should know” or “Become an expert” which is a nice way of knowing which recipes are critical and which aren’t quite as important.

Despite being part of Packt Publishing’s “mini-book” range this book is a comprehensive coverage of SASS; both explaining what it is and how to use it to best effect.

I have two minor criticisms.

First, the last two recipes (The different versions of SASS – an explanation and A template for the book recipes) should be at the start of the book and, in fact, the latter one is referred to during the book as being at the start.

Secondly, one of the chapters, Using SASS with Wordpress (Become an expert) doesn’t do what the title suggests. The chapter covers the use of SASS within Wordpress by using a pre-existing Wordpress theme called Bones which already includes SASS and is about using this theme rather than using SASS with Wordpress. I know the mini-books are going to be slightly limited in scope by their nature but it would have been nice if the Wordpress section had been more about adding SASS to any theme rather than using a very basic Wordpress theme which already included it. I’ll admit this second point shows my bias as quite a heavy Wordpress user (I run four sites using Wordpress and am about to create a fifth) but the book synopsis I read before getting a copy to review did mention Wordpress without mentioning this restriction.

Overall, I think the book is very good and I do look forward to utilising the lessons learned from it. I have a custom PHP MVC framework I use for a couple of sites which could do with some retheming which I now plan to do using SASS, although this may be some time away due to the other projects ongoing such as getting to grips with SASS in a Wordpress theme.

If you’re looking to get into SASS then this book is a good, practical, introduction which is well worth purchasing.

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