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Are you using LESS, SASS or something else to manage your CSS?

Discussion in 'CSS' started by sarahk, May 22, 2018.

?

Are you using LESS, SASS or something else to manage your CSS?

This poll will close on Dec 22, 2018 at 9:45 PM.
  1. Old School CSS

    6 vote(s)
    66.7%
  2. LESS

    1 vote(s)
    11.1%
  3. SASS

    2 vote(s)
    22.2%
  4. Stylus

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Other

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. #1
    Are you using one of the pre-processors to manage CSS and if so what tools are you using?

    I've had a cursory look at it but my sites are all relatively straightforward and easy to manage with CSS so I haven't been particularly motivated - but I should!
    SEMrush
     
    sarahk, May 22, 2018 IP
    SEMrush
  2. kk5st

    kk5st Prominent Member

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    #2
    Sarah, I can't imagine a case where one of those would make things easier for anyone who actually knows the basics of html/css. Consider the cascade that Bootstrap totally craps on. Maybe its just that people who use these apps don't know html well enough and end up blowing the semantics. I've grown used to almost everything using the same container element, DIV, instead of an element that provides some semantic context and logical hooks for css and js.

    Maybe your sites are straight-forward as a result of knowledgeable use of html and css. Even a simple site becomes terribly complex when Bootstrap adds its really stupid abstract layer. I doubt there is any single well written page that ever requires multiple classes as a norm. It is the norm with Bootstrap.

    You've seen Jason's write ups. Those are not cherry picked examples of crap. They are the normal.

    gary
     
    kk5st, May 23, 2018 IP
    sarahk likes this.
  3. alfieindesigns

    alfieindesigns Active Member

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    #3
    In my opinion it depends on the situation.
    Like me, I don't use CSS pre-processor for a small scale project.
    Basically we used it when doing a template and I used SASS.
     
    alfieindesigns, May 23, 2018 IP
  4. kk5st

    kk5st Prominent Member

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    #4
    You're still making things more difficult for yourself. Usually, larger projects seem complex because insufficient pre-planning has been done regarding site and page structure. The well architected site has very few issues that are helped by an additional abstraction.

    gary
     
    kk5st, May 23, 2018 IP
  5. alfieindesigns

    alfieindesigns Active Member

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    #5
    Oh okay I have to clarify 'small scale project' I mean CSS thing (logic). Yes, I agree on some of your point.
    Personally I hate using CSS Pre-processor. But on a special case like doing a template that needs to build in like 10 variants (colors, etc) it's very easy to manipulate using CSS Pre-processor.
     
    alfieindesigns, May 23, 2018 IP
  6. digitalpoint

    digitalpoint Overlord of no one Staff

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    #6
    LESS is pretty nice. I started using it for things since XenForo 2.x switched to LESS instead of plain CSS.
     
    digitalpoint, May 24, 2018 IP
  7. sarahk

    sarahk iTamer Staff

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    #7
    sarahk, May 24, 2018 IP
  8. gutterboy

    gutterboy Member

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    #8
    I selected "SASS", but you really should add the newer version (SCSS) which I use, as some people may still be using the older style, but not a big deal ha

    For those that are skeptical, just try it out, I was also a skeptic at first, but then I gave it a go and it has changed my life haha... it is soooooo much nicer to code than coding straight up CSS, the best thing about it is the nesting. CSS is terrible at repetition and depending on how deep you go with specificity the worse it becomes; you are typing out the same thing over and over and over, with nesting all you have to do is type it once and nest everything else.

    Then you have the use of variables, mixins etc that make a lot more things a lot easier.

    Then we get into build tools such as Grunt, Gulp etc (I use Gulp) that can automatically do things for you when it compiles your code into CSS (such as auto-prefixing), just write your code, no longer worry about "does this need browser prefixing".

    Oh one last thing, it makes your organization of your code much cleaner..... instead of writing one big monolith CSS file you can separate your code into different files and then your build tool will compile them all at build time; this makes it a hell of a lot easier to find the respective code you are looking for; so you could separate it into files such as: _buttons.scss, _layout.scss, _home.scss, _about.scss and so on...

    You are missing out if you are still writing plain ol' CSS.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2018
    gutterboy, May 25, 2018 IP
  9. digitalpoint

    digitalpoint Overlord of no one Staff

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    #9
    Not using anything fancy, just a text editor.
     
    digitalpoint, May 26, 2018 IP
  10. kk5st

    kk5st Prominent Member

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    #10
    That's an awful lot of changes. My first thought is someone is destroying the branding. Does the client's stationery use that many fonts/colors?

    I could see it for major depts or subdomains, e.g. beancounters' pages, Sales's pages, Warehouse pages shipping/receiving etc. But these are not usually customer facing and have proprietary information. Pages for customers should have a limited palette of colors, fonts and general layouts that reflect and reinforce the company's brand.

    CSS's cascade is effectively a nesting algorithm. When you have well structured pages, CSS is quick and easy to write. A page has major parts, which for the knowledgeable, automagically provide a nested structure. No need for a layer of silliness.

    gary
     
    kk5st, May 26, 2018 IP
  11. deathshadow

    deathshadow Acclaimed Member

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    #11
    I have found CSS pre-processors -- much like HTML/CSS/JavaScript frameworks -- to be incompetent halfwitted trash used by people who don't know enough about HTML or CSS to be doing a single damned thing with code. They are an extra pointless time-wasting step for NOTHING of value, and if you see ANY actual benefit from them you are doing something horribly and terrifyingly WRONG!

    Like using presentational classnames in the mental-huffing-midget OOCSS approach, failing to leverage selectors and semantics, failing to maintain separation of presentation from content, etc, etc...

    It's just as mind-numbingly STUPID as bootcrap or react, or any of the rest of the bloated trash that's all hot and trendy right now amongst nubes and rubes unqualified to write a single damned line of HTML.
     
    deathshadow, May 27, 2018 IP
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  12. digitalpoint

    digitalpoint Overlord of no one Staff

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    #12
    lol... you could of course make that argument about anything. I also think 99% of "PHP developers" don't know wtf they are doing. It doesn't make PHP a bad thing, it just makes a whole lot of bad PHP code out there.

    But saying a CSS preprocessor is rubbish kind of makes me think you've never used one or haven't used one properly. Let's say you have a large site that CSS markup is applied to different parts of the site (not talking about an entire block, obviously you could reuse the same class or something). But talking about parts. Being able to have functions that generate CSS can massively cut down on the code you need to maintain. Say you had parts of your site that are similar, but not exactly the same... you could use a LESS function. Or maybe you have a base color you use for your site and you want variations of that color to automatically happen (like if you hover over a button and it becomes a lighter shade of that color... you can calculate it automatically and just have to manage the one primary color).

    Like many, many, many things... It's powerful when used properly and utter garbage when it's not. There are terrible HTML coders (I'm not even sure what to call them because they aren't coders... markup appliers? lol), horrible JS coders, etc. Doesn't mean we should get rid of HTML or JS because the retards of the world don't use them properly. Most JS developers would look at quality JS code and have no clue what is happening there or why. lol
     
    digitalpoint, May 27, 2018 IP
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  13. deathshadow

    deathshadow Acclaimed Member

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    #13
    Or you nest selectors on the former, use transparency blending either with RGBA background, linear-gradient, or inset box-shadow on the latter.

    Realistically if you have enough CSS to warrant half the things you're talking about resulting in any SCSS style approach reaping actual benefits, you have too much CSS.

    Admittedly, I'm the guy who says that for 99% of websites there is ZERO legitimate excuse for an entire CMS or Forum software to need more than 48k of CSS per media target. (as in screen, print, etc)

    Which is why when I see pages using 500k of CSS I genuinely wonder what the f*** mental damage the developer has.

    None of the claimed benefits of CSS preprocessors apply to how I would even approach doing anything, and that leaves me wondering just what / why / how people see benefit to it. EVERYTHING I've EVER seen done with it on a practical website could either be done in a fraction the code, or has ZERO damned business on a website in the first place!

    Akin to what I'm always saying about other mind-numbingly idiotic BS like jQuery, which falls neatly into one of three categories:

    1) Stuff that would be less code without the framework

    2) Stuff that's HTML or CSS' job and has no business even using JavaScript.

    3) Stuff that has no business on a website in the first place.

    LESS/SASS/SCSS falls into similar pitfalls of stuff that would be less code/effort without it, stuff that has no business on a website, or stuff that just means SOMEBODY doesn't know enough about HTML or CSS to be using either.

    See the link in your signature. (yes, I know that's a Xenforo skin)

    
    <div id="loginBar">
    	<div class="pageWidth">
    		<div class="pageContent">	
    			<h3 id="loginBarHandle">
    				<label for="LoginControl"><a href="login/" class="concealed noOutline">Log in or Sign up</a></label>
    			</h3>
    			
    			<span class="helper"></span>
    
    			
    		</div>
    	</div>
    </div>
    
    Code (markup):
    /FAIL/ at web development. But that's a Xenforo skin for you; ten times the markup needed, "semantics, what's that mean?", and a general ignorance of the most basic of HTML and CSS use.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2018
    deathshadow, May 28, 2018 IP
  14. kk5st

    kk5st Prominent Member

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    #14
    And that's the problem. If someone put a gun to my head and told me to use these apps, I could do it and produce quality html/css. But, I know what well written html and css are. A rank beginner can at least write serviceable, if not great html and css. Hand him an app to use and suddenly he is overwhelmed by a feeling of "I'm good", and his page soars out of control and ooh shiny syndrome manifests itself.

    Too many times, I see forum questions that are essentially, "How do I change the background color?" Or, "How do I put this over there?" If he knew css and had written it himself, he would have known.

    If a css preprocessor/platform is truly a muscle car, the driver ought to have at least learned to drive a 3hp go-cart without running off the track and through the tires before he climbs into that muscle car.

    I will always recommend against the apps for the simple reason that none but experienced coders have enough knowledge to determine their value to himself, nor can they know when and when not to use them. The experts are on their own.

    gary
     
    kk5st, May 28, 2018 IP
  15. deathshadow

    deathshadow Acclaimed Member

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    #15
    Oh, and the "powerful when used properly' thing -- depends on your meaning of "powerful" and "properly" -- I've never seen anything done with it nor can I conceive of anything you would do with it that would fit my definition of using HTML or CSS properly... It seems by nature designed to make it so you AREN'T using or learning to use CSS properly.
     
    deathshadow, May 28, 2018 IP
  16. alfieindesigns

    alfieindesigns Active Member

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    #16
    Well I think, only dev who really used it properly will know its power :D
    Just my thoughts.
     
    alfieindesigns, May 28, 2018 IP
  17. deathshadow

    deathshadow Acclaimed Member

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    #17
    Do you have an example that isn't total shite? I've never seen it. Without that such statements are just 'glittering generalities'.
     
    deathshadow, May 29, 2018 IP
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  18. kk5st

    kk5st Prominent Member

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    #18
    An additional thought originally from years ago, but brought to mind in another discussion.

    Defect attractors:

    These are not bugs in themselves, but they invite even
    experienced developers to find surprising results that lead to
    exasperating debug or maintenance issues.

    portability shims — especially prevalent in pages for older IE
    support. Backward compatibility is a huge defect attractor. Let
    older browsers fail gracefully, keeping functional usability.

    Special cases — conditional comments for old pages' support when
    you're too lazy or too $$$ strapped to bring them up to date. Or
    maybe you just don't know what that boilerplate bit means.

    Pre processors to handle pseudo OO especially with class inheritance.

    Text substitution macros in a pre processor stage.

    PHP, Visual Basic and javascript are by nature defect attractors.

    Database thema and SQL queries. Use an expert if you can. If
    not, expect defects. In fact always expect defects.

    The phrase, "when used properly," is a sign there are defect attractors.

    gary
     
    kk5st, May 30, 2018 IP
  19. KewL

    KewL Well-Known Member

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    #19
    I use scss + autoprefixer for everything regardless of project size, it saves me a ton of time.

    Honestly I only use a few scss features.

    1. partials, i like each section to have its own scss file.
    2. nesting, saves a ton of time writing the same selector every block.
    3. variables, i like to store colors, breakpoints, etc in variables.
    4. I use a few functions to convert px's to rems/ems

    It makes things way more legible and maintainable.

    Here's a super simple example taken from @deathshadow 's website (which by the way contains invalid CSS which the sass compiler would have caught).

    
    #mainMenu {
      list-style:display:none; /* whoops, blame the editor auto-complete xD */
      padding:0 0.5em;
      margin-bottom:1em;
      background:#444;
    }
    
    #mainMenu li {
      display:inline;
    }
    
    #mainMenu a {
      display:inline-block;
      padding:0.25em 0.5em;
      text-decoration:none;
      color:#AAA;
    }
    
    #mainMenu a span {
      color:#FFF;
    }
    
    #mainMenu a:active,
    #mainMenu a:focus,
    #mainMenu a:hover {
      background:#44C;
    }
    
    Code (markup):
    
    $white: #fff;
    $primary: #44c;
    $grayBg: #444;
    $gray: #aaa;
    
    #mainMenu {
      list-style: none;
      padding: 0 0.5em;
      margin-bottom: 1em;
      background: $grayBg;
    
      li {
        display: inline;
      }
    
      a {
        display: inline-block;
        padding: 0.25em 0.5em;
        text-decoration: none;
        color: $gray;
    
        &:focus,
        &:active,
        &:hover {
          background: $primary;
        }
      }
    
      a span {
        color: $white;
      }
    }
    
    Code (markup):
    Mine will compile to the same code. Then later when i want to use my primary color again I wont have to scroll up to figure out which hex I used.

    Here's a better example from the same site. Look how redundant this is:

    .shareAndLike {
        padding:0;
        margin-bottom:1em;
        line-height:1em;
        text-align:right;
        text-transform:uppercase;
    }
    
    .shareAndLike a,
    .shareAndLike .info {
        position:relative;
        display:inline-block;
        vertical-align:bottom;
        -webkit-box-shadow:0 0.125em 0.75em rgba(0,0,0,0.5);
        box-shadow:0 0.125em 0.75em rgba(0,0,0,0.5);
    }
    
    .shareAndLike a,
    .shareAndLike a:visited {
        padding:0.3em 0.5em 0.3em;
        margin-left:0.6em;
        text-decoration:none;
        font-weight:bold;
        color:#FFF;
        -webkit-transition:all 0.3s;
        transition:all 0.3s;
    }
    
    .shareAndLike a:active,
    .shareAndLike a:focus,
    .shareAndLike a:hover {
        color:#FFF;
        -webkit-box-shadow:0 0 0.75em rgba(0,0,0,0.4);
        box-shadow:0 0 0.75em rgba(0,0,0,0.4);
    }
    
    .shareAndLike #share_googlePlus {
        background:#F00;
    }
    
    .shareAndLike #share_googlePlus:active,
    .shareAndLike #share_googlePlus:focus,
    .shareAndLike #share_googlePlus:hover {
        background:#800;
    }
    
    .shareAndLike #share_facebook {
        padding-left:1.8em;
        background:#44D;
    }
    
    .shareAndLike #share_facebook:active,
    .shareAndLike #share_facebook:focus,
    .shareAndLike #share_facebook:hover {
        background:#00C;
    }
    
    
    .shareAndLike #share_facebook span {
        position:absolute;
        top:50%;
        left:0.15em;
        margin-top:-0.5em;
        padding:0 0.15em 0 0.45em;
        text-align:center;
        text-transform:lowercase;
        font:bold 120%/100% tahoma,helvetica,sans-serif;
        background:#FFF;
        color:#22D;
    }
    
    .shareAndLike #share_facebook:active span,
    .shareAndLike #share_facebook:focus span,
    .shareAndLike #share_facebook:hover span {
        color:#00C;
    }
    
    .shareAndLike .info,
    .shareAndLike .info span {
        background:#FFF;
        -webkit-border-radius:0.5em;
        border-radius:0.5em;
    }
    
    .shareAndLike .info {
        font:normal 100%/150% arial,helvetica,sans-serif;
        margin-left:0.5em;
        height:1.5em;
    }
    
    .shareAndLike .info span {
        position:relative;
        display:block;
        padding:0 0.5em;
    }
    
    .shareAndLike .info:before {
        content:"";
        position:absolute;
        left:-0.25em;
        top:50%;
        margin-top:-0.25em;
        width:0.5em;
        height:0.5em;
        background:#FFF;
        -webkit-transform:rotate(45deg);
        -ms-transform:rotate(45deg);
        transform: rotate(45deg);
        box-shadow:-0.25em 0.25em 0.5em rgba(0,0,0,0.1);
    }
    Code (markup):

    .shareAndLike {
        padding: 0;
        margin-bottom: 1em;
        line-height: 1em;
        text-align: right;
        text-transform: uppercase;
    
        a,
        .info {
            position: relative;
            display: inline-block;
            vertical-align: bottom;
            box-shadow: 0 0.125em 0.75em rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.5);
        }
    
        a,
        a:visited {
            padding: 0.3em 0.5em 0.3em;
            margin-left: 0.6em;
            text-decoration: none;
            font-weight: bold;
            color: #fff;
            transition: all 0.3s;
        }
    
        a:active,
        a:focus,
        a:hover {
            color: #fff;
            box-shadow: 0 0 0.75em rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.4);
        }
    
        #share_googlePlus {
            background: #f00;
    
            &:focus,
            &:active,
            &:hover {
                background: #800;
            }
        }
    
        #share_facebook {
            padding-left: 1.8em;
            background: #44d;
    
            &:focus,
            &:active,
            &:hover {
                background: #00c;
    
                span {
                    color: #00c;
                }
            }
    
            span {
                position: absolute;
                top: 50%;
                left: 0.15em;
                margin-top: -0.5em;
                padding: 0 0.15em 0 0.45em;
                text-align: center;
                text-transform: lowercase;
                font: bold 120%/100% tahoma, helvetica, sans-serif;
                background: #fff;
                color: #22d;
            }
        }
    
        .info,
        .info span {
            background: #fff;
            -webkit-border-radius: 0.5em;
            border-radius: 0.5em;
        }
    
        .info {
            font: normal 100%/150% arial, helvetica, sans-serif;
            margin-left: 0.5em;
            height: 1.5em;
    
            span {
                position: relative;
                display: block;
                padding: 0 0.5em;
            }
    
            &:before {
                content: '';
                position: absolute;
                left: -0.25em;
                top: 50%;
                margin-top: -0.25em;
                width: 0.5em;
                height: 0.5em;
                background: #fff;
                transform: rotate(45deg);
                box-shadow: -0.25em 0.25em 0.5em rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.1);
            }
        }
    }
    Code (markup):
    Again this should compile to the same code. I think nesting alone making it way cleaner and less repetitive. Scss is badass, its developers you don't like. A lot of core SASS features are being brought over to the CSS spec, we won't need sass in the future.

    The real extra step is typing .shareAndLike 25 times, not compiling scss.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2018
    KewL, Jun 11, 2018 IP
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  20. deathshadow

    deathshadow Acclaimed Member

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    #20
    Which site?!! That missing list-style doesn't seem to appear in any of my sites I'm aware of... Yeah, I'm going through all my sites here and I can find no match in any stylesheet for:

    list-style:display:none;
    Code (markup):
    Whatsoever. Wait... what? Ok, why is FF giving me a different stylesheet than vivaldi... Ok, I see what's happening, I have no idea WHY that stylesheet is getting mangled in the output.

    Apart from that though, what you're describing and doing REEKS of overcomplicating something simple. You're breaking into multiple files stuff that's easier to handle as a single -- since it's unlikely to want to edit those sections side by side at the same time -- making it harder to find things since you can't search-in-place and end up hunting FOR the file in question, and once the style inheritance gets bigger you lose track of what's being applied where by getting RID of the full selectors.

    I LIKE seeing the full selector so if I'm scrolled down I have SOME idea what the style is being applied to. Doing this:
    
    #mainMenu {
      list-style: none;
      padding: 0 0.5em;
      margin-bottom: 1em;
      background: $grayBg;
    
      li {
        display: inline;
      }
    
    
    Code (markup):
    Becomes painfully vague and cryptic the longer the more sub-properties there are. Admittedly, this is the same reason I dislike python, which makes it worse with no visual queues other than whitespace.

    Those "variables" also encouraging crappy naming, since I reskin does it really make sense to still call it 'grey' if it were to become blue? It ends up -- much like presentational classes -- self-defeating.

    What you call redundant has me scratching my head, when YOURS is the redundant one sharing no like properties! You're not nesting selectors which is why whilst you may have saved a 'whole whopping' 180 bytes (yawn) in your code, you've made it MORE DIFFICULT to figure out what in blazes it is doing! Needlessly vague reduced selectors that force you to scroll up to even figure out what the f*** they're being applied to is NOT simpler! Painfully cryptic selectors that apply to what was declared before it instead of saying WHAT it's applied to is neither simpler nor clearer! That whole ampersand thing being a stunning example of how to make it harder to deal with. The code complexity no longer matches the complexity of the task.

    MORE so if you're trying to fix an issue via the document inspector since now what the inspector is reporting has dick-all to do with the code you are maintaining. Normally not an issue when I'm working with my own code since I rarely need the inspector on that -- but when working on other's code I've butted heads with this problem which is ANOTHER of the many reasons SCSS strikes me as an all-around dumbass idea! You go to find a selector the client-side debugging is showing you, and there's ZERO damned clue what file it's in, what the ACTUAL selector in the codebase is.... To blazes with that!

    Admittedly MOST people using such trash vomiting up half a megabyte of CSS to do what I'd rarely if ever use a twentieth of which certainly doesn't help with that.

    It's an extra step adding zero useful functionality, making it HARDER to follow and maintain, over something that in total has no excuse to ever break 48k of code on 90%+ of websites... and really if "wah wah, I don't wanna type" is the excuse, you're in the wrong business. Or you don't realize how easy ^C^V^V^V is... I'd sooner type in extra stuff so I know what's going on (see my commenting style in HTML) than compromising code legibility and maintainability in the name of saving a few bytes. That reeks of the difference between minimalism and irrational obsession with byte-counting... the latter treading FAR too easily into the realm of "false simplicity" -- it LOOKS simpler, but ends up making working with it harder.

    -- edit -- huh, can gzip compression really screw up an accidental em-space turning it into a different word? That's how/why it's feeding different (and messed up) stylesheets to different browsers. That's WEIRD. Ok, fixed that; made sure character space restriction was set to ASCII7, upload with new timestamp... Gonna have to play with that -- and thanks for the catch. It's not good when what the server is serving doesn't match the code uploaded to it. Character encoding is such a stone cold b*** sometimes... very strange usually I lock my editor when working with CSS to ASCII7 since there's no real legitimate reason for a CSS file to even use extended characters. There are times I really wish the web as a whole could just settle on ASCII 0..127 and tell any languages that can't fit that to sod off.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
    deathshadow, Jun 11, 2018 IP