CSS is also known as a design language. It brings life into a dull HTML web page. Without CSS our whole internet would look tedious. But luckily, We have CSS that can help us design the internet. Writing rapid code in CSS is not just a skill, but a necessity in today’s age. Now that we have a framework and SASS software like Wix.com, That is eating the web developers’ job. It becomes necessary to evolve ourselves from mediocre coding. It’s an opportunity to upgrade our skills and become the best in our domain. Competition is fierce in web development so only the fittest will thrive.
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A quick look behind CSS history
Cascading Style Sheets as we all know was first proposed by Håkon Wium in 1994. After it’s launch CSS faced speculation from the old-school coders, Who had many doubts about the language. Though CSS is not a programming language, It was never separated from programmers.
Even a system administrator, That knows nothing about CSS still cares about new trends in front end development. Because web development, in general, depends on the larger eco-system of THE INTERNET. So coming back to the history lesson, CSS got its first breakthrough in 1998, When NetSpace and internet explore adopted the usability of CSS.
Since then we have seen CSS, CSS2, CSS3. You may think in the future we might see CSS4. But nope, the World Wide Web Consortium, the organization that manages CSS, Said further changes of future will only be made in CSS3. That’s enough of history. Let’s understand CSS in more-depth.
Different phases of CSS
Before I tell you How to code rapidly in CSS in 2020, You need to evaluate your current CSS skills. Let’s talk about different phases in CSS. Vanilla CSS is by far the most popular phase of web development. Here you are familiar with the basic syntax and structure and concepts of CSS development.
The Wireframe Replicator In this stage, you have grasped enough knowledge to replicate any static webpage on the internet. The Pro Coder In this stage, You are not only capable of developing websites but also web apps and native applications. Here you have master flex box and advance concepts like CSS grid and SASS.
Okay, Now that you know where you belong. You need to work on your CSS skills if they are not on the Pro Code level. Then you need to invest more time in CSS. And once you are on the Pro Code level you can add these useful tips into your coding to boost your productivity.
6 ways to code rapidly in CSS
1) Source Code Editor
How foolish a chef would be to cut a fish with a blunt knife. How naive a coder would be to code on notepad. I can’t emphasize enough on the importance of a Good Source Code Editor. You are not on the learning stage if you have learned advanced topics of CSS. Now you are on the implementation stage.
Here you need to have the best tools to produce the best code. You can’t just rely on Notepad++ or Basic Text Editor. You need software that is specially designed for programmers. There are dozens of Source Code Editor but if I have to cut to the chase, I would choose Visual Code Editor.
SASS stands for Syntactically awesome style sheets. It is a life savior for web developers. SASS gives you the freedom to code more freely. And many times help you to avoid CSS rules. This is especially helpful when you want to write rapid CSS code and don’t want to focus on the rules.
Here you enjoy writing code in a convenient way, not in the correct way. Basically, you write your code without rules and but still following the basics from SASS. And then converting that code from SASS to normal CSS. With just one line of code. Isn’t that amazing.
The biggest nightmare of a web developer is buggy code. And this does not necessarily happen because of bad code. But many times because of browser support. Different browsers support different levels of CSS features. Modern browsers like Firefox, Chrome supports a lot of new features. But old browsers like internet explorer simply doesn’t support such features. In such cases, Your code can crash and eventually make your website useless in a lot of browsers.
To tackle this issue, We use Prefixes. Here we instruct the browser manually to either run the code or use the backup code to fall back in case of a crash. You can easily add different Prefixes in your code by copy-pasting your CSS. On this free website https://autoprefixer.github.io/.
Plugins are the additional features that you add to your Source Code Editor. There are many types of plugins available by third-party developers. You can customize your Editor with plugins that are useful for you. I’ll share with you some of my favorite plugins for VS Code.
Live Server is a very simple plugin that automatically reload the web page After you make any changes. This is super useful when writing rapid code in CSS. You can save a mammoth of time by clicking the reload button. CSS Peek another great tool that allows you to make changes rapidly and without brainstorming.
Emmet is the best software for front-end developers. It is a plugin that autocomplete your code. You just need to write the first character and will suggest further code. Emmet also has a lot of formula or cheat code from which you can write long code with short sentences.
If you are using the VS code as I have suggested. The feature of Emmet is prebuilt into the VS code. But if you are using a different Source Code Editor like Sublime then you need to install the plugins of Emmet. It is the best and must-have tool for web developers and essential for coding rapidly in CSS.
6) CSS variables
CSS variables are a life saviour for a non-programming language. With the new feature of CSS variable, You can use the programming concept of variable in CSS. If you don’t know what is variable. A variable is a space in memory that is allocated specially to that variable. \
If you write code once, You can use the same code as many times you want. If you want to define colors that are the same but in different properties, You can assign a common variable to both of them. It may sound a bit jargon but if you really want to master CSS then you need to learn variables.