PhpStorm 2017.3 Help

Minifying CSS

The term minification or compression in the context of CSS means removing all unnecessary characters, such as spaces, new lines, comments without changing the functionality of the source code. At the development and debugging stage, these characters improve the code readability. However at the production stage, they become unnecessary for code execution but only increase the size of code to be transferred.

PhpStorm integrates with the YUI Compressor CSS minification tool. To use the minifier in PhpStorm, you need to configure it as a File Watcher. For each supported minifier, PhpStorm provides a predefined File Watcher template. To run a minifier in your project, create a project-specific File Watcher based on the relevant template.

Installing and configuring the YUI Compressor

  1. Download and install the Node.js runtime environment.

    If you are going to use the command line mode, make sure the path to the parent folder of the Node.js executable file and the path to the npm folder are added to the PATH variable. This enables you to launch the CSS minifier and npm from any folder.

  2. Make sure the Node.js plugin is enabled. The plugin is activated by default. If the plugin is disabled, enable it on the Plugins settings page as described in Enabling and Disabling Plugins.
  3. Download and install the minification tool. The easiest way is to use the Node Package Manager (npm), which is a part of Node.js.
    1. Switch to the directory where the Node Package Manager (npm) is stored or define a path variable for it so it is available from any folder.
    2. Type the following command at the command prompt:
      npm install yuicompressor

    If you use the Node Package Manager (npm), the minifier is installed under Node.js so Node.js, which is required for starting the tool, will be specified in the path to it.

Creating a file watcher

PhpStorm provides a common procedure and user interface for creating File Watchers of all types. The only difference is in the predefined templates you choose in each case.

  1. To start creating a File Watcher, open the Settings/Preferences dialog box by choosing File | Settings for Windows and Linux or PhpStorm | Preferences for macOS on the main menu, and then click File Watchers under the Tools node. The File Watchers page that opens, shows the list of File Watchers that are already configured in the project.
  2. Click the Add button new.png or press Alt+Insert and choose the YUI Compressor CSS predefined template from the pop-up list.
  3. In the Program text box, specify the path to the yuicompressor-<version>.jar file. If you installed the tool through the Node Package Manager, PhpStorm locates the required file itself and fills in the field automatically. Otherwise, type the path manually or click the Browse button browseButton.png and choose the file location in the dialog box that opens.
  4. Proceed as described on page Using File Watchers.

Minifying the code

When a minification File Watcher is enabled, minification starts automatically as soon as a CSS file in the File Watcher's scope is changed or saved.

PhpStorm creates a separate file with the generated output. The file has the name of the source CSS file and the extension min.css. The location of the generated file is defined in the Output paths to refresh text box of the New Watcher dialog. However, in the Project Tree, by default it is shown under the source CSS file which is now displayed as a node. To change the default presentation, configure file nesting in the Project tool window.

Last modified: 29 March 2018

See Also