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Sass vs Stylus: What are the differences?

# Introduction

Sass and Stylus are popular preprocessor scripting languages that extend the capabilities of CSS. While they both serve the same purpose, there are key differences between the two that developers should be aware of. 

1. **Syntax**: Sass follows a strict indentation-based syntax similar to Python, while Stylus uses a concise and minimalistic syntax with fewer symbols and punctuation.
2. **Language features**: Sass offers a wider range of language features such as loops, conditionals, and mixins, making it more versatile but also more complex for beginners. Stylus, on the other hand, emphasizes brevity and simplicity, which can lead to more concise code.
3. **Installation**: Sass requires Ruby to be installed on the system as it is written in Ruby, whereas Stylus is written in Node.js and can be installed using npm, making it easier to set up for Node.js developers.
4. **Community and Support**: Sass has a larger and more established community with extensive documentation and support, making it easier to find resources and solutions to common problems. Stylus, while recognized for its efficiency, has a smaller user base and may have limited resources available.
5. **Vendor Prefixing**: Sass does not have built-in support for vendor prefixing, requiring the use of additional tools or plugins, whereas Stylus includes automatic vendor prefixing functionality, simplifying the process of ensuring cross-browser compatibility.
6. **File Extensions**: Sass traditionally uses the .sass file extension for its syntax, while Stylus uses the .styl extension, allowing developers to easily distinguish between the two languages based on the file type.

In Summary, Sass and Stylus differ in syntax, language features, installation process, community support, vendor prefixing capabilities, and file extensions.
Advice on Sass and Stylus
Needs advice

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)

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 Sass and Stylus
Saulius Kolesinskas
Engineering Manager at Vinted | 5 upvotes 路 12.1K views

We extensively use Sass and CSS Modules as our styling solution at Vinted. Even though we considered adopting a CSS-in-JS library, we ultimately leaned towards the flexibility that Sass and CSS Modules offer.

Vinted also has an internal design system where Storybook is used for development and documentation.

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Noel Broda
Founder, CEO, CTO at NoFilter | 2 upvotes 路 14.8K views

We know that Sass is not a replace for CSS, but in my mind there is no CSS with no Sass.

One of the first complement/plugins I add to the environment, are the Sass processing files/demons.

I couldn't imagine going back to pure CSS. Sass is even the way to go, regarding Styled Components, CSS Modules, and all the other options.

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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 Sass
Pros of Stylus
  • 613
  • 594
  • 466
    Nested rules
  • 410
  • 300
  • 149
    Modular flexible code
  • 143
    Open source
  • 112
    Selector inheritance
  • 107
  • 96
    Better than cs
  • 5
    Used by Bootstrap
  • 3
    If and for function
  • 2
    Better than less
  • 1
    Inheritance (@extend)
  • 1
    Custom functions
  • 69
  • 54
    Indented syntax
  • 38
  • 33
    Built for node.js
  • 32
    Open source
  • 24
  • 21
  • 17
  • 13
    Better than CS
  • 6
  • 5
  • 3
    @extend directive
  • 2
    Contempt for curly brackets
  • 2
    Very clean
  • 2
  • 2
    Is Easy
  • 2
    No colons, semi-colons or even curly braces
  • 1
    Its unique
  • 1
    Dynamic selectors
  • 1
  • 1
    Easy Efficiently
  • 1
  • 1
    Supports orthogonal architecture

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

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    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.

    What is 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.

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    What companies use Stylus?
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    Blog Posts

    Jun 19 2015 at 6:37AM

    What are some alternatives to Sass and Stylus?
    Visual primitives for the component age. Use the best bits of ES6 and CSS to style your apps without stress 馃拝
    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.
    Bootstrap is the most popular HTML, CSS, and JS framework for developing responsive, mobile first projects on the web.
    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.
    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.
    See all alternatives