Fundamentals

Markup-driven CSS

Master CSS styles are driven by template markups and generate CSS rules on demand.

Premature abstraction

Markup-driven CSS Overview
Mountain
A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock.

You always abstract your style, even when unsure about its reusability.

<div class="card">
<img class="card-image" />
<div class="card-content">
<div class="card-title">Mountain</div>
<div class="card-text">A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock.</div>
</div>
</div>
.card {
display: flex;
background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255);
transition: transform 0.2s ease 0s;
overflow: hidden;
border-radius: 0.625rem;
}
.card:hover {
transform: translateY(-0.3125rem);
}
.card-image {
object-fit: cover;
width: 8.75rem;
aspect-ratio: 16 / 9;
}
.card-content {
padding: 1.5625rem;
}
.card-title {
font-weight: 600;
font-size: 1.125rem;
line-height: calc(1.125rem + 0.875em);
}
.card-text {
font-size: 0.875rem;
line-height: calc(0.875rem + 0.875em);
overflow: hidden;
display: -webkit-box;
overflow-wrap: break-word;
text-overflow: ellipsis;
-webkit-box-orient: vertical;
-webkit-line-clamp: 2;
}

Quickly build styles in markup without naming baggage. 81% code

<div class="flex translateY(-5):hover ~transform|.2s overflow:hidden bg:white r:10">
<img class="object:cover w:140 aspect:16/9" />
<div class="p:25">
<div class="font:semibold text:18">Mountain</div>
<div class="text:14 lines:2">A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock.</div>
</div>
</div>

Yes, writing abstract classes seems standard, but doing it too early brings a lot of pain.

Management and naming hell

However, it involved writing a substantial amount of code in card.css, and it required making numerous decisions along the way:

The aforementioned challenges were solely focused on styling one card; now, envisage the entire application's styling undergoing the same arduous process...

Traditional approaches often result in imprecise code due to uncertainties and incomplete information.

"You must have a complete design system and pixel-level design guidelines to suitably abstract styles."

Runaway maintainability

Wait, what would the rest of the team go through when maintaining this code?

The complexities and unpredictability arising from CSS priorities/specificity can make the process even more convoluted. As the project expands, it can quickly become unmanageable, severely impacting productivity.

In contrast, Master CSS offers a "flat" approach to applying styles on elements, avoiding entanglement in complex CSS. This enables team members to onboard more efficiently and reduces the learning curve.

Syntax-first strategy

It seems that Master CSS is against the traditional abstract coding style?

No, we advocate a mixed development strategy - syntax first, semantic second.

Syntax first:

Semantic secondary:

Design token is a core methodology for practicing design systems, so appropriately abstracting styles and markup can help you create visually consistent user interfaces more effectively, and Master CSS configuration is born for this.

Assuming the card can be reused, you can abstract it using styles with a concise syntax:

export default {
styles: {
card: {
'': 'flex translateY(-5):hover ~transform|.2s overflow:hidden bg:white r:10',
image: 'object:cover w:140 aspect:16/9',
content: 'p:25',
title: 'font:semibold text:18',
text: 'text:14 lines:2'
}
}
}

Then, use the abstract class as before:

<div class="card">
<img class="card-image" />
<div class="card-content">
<div class="card-title">Mountain</div>
<div class="card-text">A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock.</div>
</div>
</div>

Generate CSS based on markup

What! Style without writing CSS rules?

"Let's create a section with background, interactive effects, and increase its padding when width >=1024."

A few moments later... Ok, Let's "name" it home-section.

<section class="home-section"></section>

Create the home.css and start "writing the CSS rules".

.home-section {
background-color: blue;
padding: 2rem;
text-align: center;
}
.home-section:hover {
background-color: red;
}
@media (min-width: 1024px) {
.home-section {
padding: 3rem;
}
}

"What's wrong with this process? It's quite typical." Yes, the result is great, but productivity optimization is a core tenet of Master CSS.

It's a one-liner code using Master CSS. 84% code

<section class="bg:blue bg:red:hover p:32 p:48@md text:center"></section>

Generated CSS:

/* Actual output would be minified. */
.p\:32 {
padding: 2rem
}
.text\:center {
text-align: center
}
.bg\:blue {
background-color: #175fe9
}
.bg\:red\:hover:hover {
background-color: #d11a1e
}
@media (min-width:1024px) {
.p\:48\@md {
padding: 3rem
}
}

Smart rule ordering

How is CSS rule order and priority handled?

"Center-align the homepage headline when the viewport width is >=1280px, and align right when it is >=1024px."

Incorrect responsive media rules.

@media (min-width:1280px) {
h1 {
text-align: center;
}
}
@media (min-width:1024px) {
h1 {
text-align: right;
}
}

Since the order in which CSS rules are placed affects priority, when the screen width is >=1024px or >=1280px, @media (min-width:1024px) {} will be applied, but @media (min-width:1280px) {} will never be applied.

You always keep your mind alert to prevent making mistakes, as the more similar rules you have, the harder it becomes to debug.

Let Master CSS handle the prioritization automatically for you.

<h1 class="text:right@md text:center@lg">

No matter how you write the Master CSS syntax, the correct CSS rules will be generated:

@media (min-width:1024px) {
.text\:right\@md {
text-align: right
}
}
@media (min-width:1280px) {
.text\:center\@lg {
text-align: center
}
}

Not only that, but we also align rules with your expectations when using selectors like :disabled, :active, :focus, :hover, :where(), and breakpoints such as @lg, @sm&, etc. As a result, you would rarely, if ever, need to use !important.

Unit-sensed conversions

In web development, UI design is typically measured using pixels (px). However, to ensure a browser-friendly website, you must convert pixels to REM (Root Em) units to scale website elements across different devices and screen sizes, providing a consistent appearance and excellent user experience.

Look up the 1.5rem value corresponding to 24px from the table.

px121416182022242628
rem0.750.87511.1251.251.3751.51.6251.75
<h1 class="font:1.5rem">

Omit the text size unit and rely on the default conversion.

<h1 class="font:24">

Generated CSS

.font\:24 {
font-size: 1.5rem
}

This not only improves productivity but also simplifies syntax markup in class attributes.

Why not just inline styles?

Inline styles cannot apply selectors, media queries, or CSS features.

<button style="font-size: 0.875rem" disabled>Oops!</button>

You can now easily control style states in markup.

<button class="font:14 font:20@md opacity:.5[disabled]" disabled>Bravo!</button>

Build a visually consistent UI with design tokens.

<h1 class="font:lg fg:primary">Hello World</h1>

Humanize and low learning curve

"I'd need to learn a new language to use Master CSS."

Rest assured, the Master CSS syntax is based on native CSS, positioned very similarly to SASS. You can begin by writing familiar native-ish CSS and gradually incorporate our enhancements and syntactic sugar over time.

Structured syntax

Writing the same syntax as style="" within class="" serves no purpose. We aim to provide a logically simplified CSS declaration with an elegant syntax.

It can be reducible:

<!-- Same as native CSS -->
<div class="text-align:center">
<!-- Ambiguous shorthand -->
<div class="text:center">
<!-- Abbreviation -->
<div class="t:center">

It can be elegant:

<!-- Set the background to blue-60 with an opacity of .5 -->
<div class="bg:blue-60/.5">
<!-- Magnify to 1.5x -->
<div class="scale(1.5)">
<!-- Transition with a delay of 0.3s and timing-function "ease" -->
<div class="~transform|.3s|ease">
<!-- Use a utility class that translates to "display: block" -->
<div class="block">

It can be stateful and selectable:

<!-- Set a pink background on hover -->
<div class="bg:pink:hover">
<!-- Set a pink background for all subsequent sibling elements -->
<div class="bg:pink~*">
<!-- All subsequent div siblings -->
<div class="bg:pink+div">
<!-- All descendant p elements -->
<div class="bg:pink_:where(p)">
<!-- Use simplified :first instead of :nth-child to set pink background -->
<div class="bg:pink:first">

It can be responsive and conditional:

<!-- Set width to 50rem, when screen width >=1024 -->
<div class="width:800@>=1024">
<!-- Similar to previous example, using a built-in breakpoint -->
<div class="width:800@sm">
<!-- Screen width >= 600px & < 1279.98px top at 0.0625rem -->
<div class="top:1@xs&<lg">
<!-- Set background to gray-20 when in dark mode -->
<div class="bg:gray-20@dark">
<!-- Hide element for print -->
<div class="hidden@print">
<!-- Fade with a 0.2s delay when low motion is not specified by the client -->
<div class="@fade|.2s@motion">

These examples are only the tip of the iceberg.

Readable markup

A factual study by PPIG finds that syntax highlighting helps comprehension and reduces time to internalize a language.

This is a template markup written by a utility-first framework.

<div class="mt-9 rounded-lg flex text-slate-700 hover:bg-slate-200 sm:bg-slate-300">
<div class="mt-9 rounded-lg flex text-slate-700 hover:bg-slate-200 sm:bg-slate-300">
<div class="mt-9 rounded-lg flex text-slate-700 hover:bg-slate-200 sm:bg-slate-300">

Improve readability with syntax highlighting.

<div class="mt:36 r:8 flex fg:slate-70 bg:slate-20:hover bg:slate-30@sm">
<div class="mt:36 r:8 flex fg:slate-70 bg:slate-20:hover bg:slate-30@sm">
<div class="mt:36 r:8 flex fg:slate-70 bg:slate-20:hover bg:slate-30@sm">

We take pride in the experience improvement of syntax highlighting in template markup. This feature effectively reduces discomfort caused by "long class names" and facilitates a quick understanding of the overall style.

Thanks to the structured syntax of Master CSS, you can now grasp the prettier markup.

Master CSS also features autocompletion, generated CSS preview, and more. Check out our Language Service for more information.


Separation of concerns

Many folks believe that HTML and CSS should conform to the design principle of separation of concerns (SoC). We believe that applying SoC to HTML & CSS, is more a matter of cultural momentum and over-interpretation of SoC.

JavaScript aside, web UI consists of HTML structure and CSS for styling. CSS takes up a significant portion of time spent working on HTML and its related business logic. This implies that HTML and CSS are highly integrated and always used together.

Separating the two introduces a layer of abstraction where the cost usually outweighs the benefit, leading to premature abstraction.

You should focus on the separation/componentization of business responsibilities, not language separation.

Fundamentals
Rendering Modes of Master CSS

Master CSS provides three rendering modes, which you can choose according to project scale and application scenarios to meet your current business requirements.

Fundamentals
Global Styles

Normalize browser and preset global styles for more concise-style programming.

© Aoyue Design LLC.