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Friday, July 6, 2012

Using Sass in Rails 3.0

Sass is the default CSS preprocessor in Rails3.1 and it is tied into the asset pipeline machinery that first appears in 3.1.

I am migrating a complex app from 3.0 to 3.1 and I want to use Sass in the 3.0 production version before I make the big jump to 3.1. So far I have been using Less and the more plugin.

I recently wrote up my experience moving from Less to Sass syntax but here I want to cover the Rails side of things.

Here are the steps involved in my Less to Sass transition in Rails 3.0.5

Part 1: Remove all traces of Less

1: Remove the less gem from your Gemfile
2: Rename the app/stylesheets folder to something else
3: Move or delete the Less plugin in vendor/plugins/more so that the app doesn't see it on start up

Part 2: Set up Sass

4: Add the sass gem to your Gemfile ( gem 'sass' )
5: Run 'bundle install'
6: Create a sass directory under public/stylesheets
7: Leave any straight css file in public/stylesheets
8: Place any SCSS files in the sass directory - these could be new files or converted Less files - give them the .scss suffix
9: Remove or rename any matching css files in the parent directory
10: Restart your server and browse to your site

All being well Sass has worked in the background, created new versions of the CSS files and put them in public/stylesheets. Look for those files and test out the operation by, say, changing a background color in the SCSS file, saving the file and reloading the page. You should see the change implemented.

There are various options that you can set in your environment.rb file or similar. But you don't need any of these. Likewise you don't need to run any rake tasks or explicitly setup sass to watch certain files. It just works.

With this set up you can now get comfortable with Sass such that moving to 3.1 and the Asset Pipeline should be straightforward.

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