WebStorm 9.0.2 Web Help

Transpiling Stylus to CSS

Stylus code is not processed by browsers that work with CSS code. Therefore to be executed, Stylus code has to be translated into CSS. This operation is referred to as transpilation and the tools that perform it are called transpilers.

WebStorm supports integration with a transpiler tool that translates Stylus code into CSS.

In WebStorm, transpiler configurations are called File Watchers. For each supported transpiler, WebStorm provides a predefined File Watcher template. Predefined File Watcher templates are available at the WebStorm level. To run a transpiler against your project files, you need to create a project-specific File Watcher based on the relevant template, at least, specify the path to the transpiler to use on your machine.

On this page:

Prerequisites

  1. Download and install Node.js. The framework is required for two reasons:
    • The Stylus transpiler is started through Node.js.
    • NPM, which is a part of the framework, is also the easiest way to download the Stylus transpiler.

  2. If you are going to use the command line mode, make sure the following paths are added to the PATH variable:
    1. The path to the parent folder of the Node.js executable file.
    2. The path to the npm folder.

    This enables you to launch the Stylus transpiler and npm from any folder.

  3. Make sure the Node.js plugin is enabled. The plugin is bundled with WebStorm and activated by default. If it is not, enable it as described in Enabling and Disabling Plugins.

Installing the Stylus transpiler

The easiest way to install the Stylus transpiler is to use the Node Package Manager (npm), which is a part of Node.js.

Depending on the desired location of the Stylus transpiler executable file, choose one of the following methods:

  • Install the transpiler globally at the WebStorm level so it can be used in any WebStorm project.
  • Install the transpiler in a specific project and thus restrict its use to this project.
  • Install the transpiler in a project as a development dependency.

In either installation mode, make sure that the parent folder of the Stylus transpiler is added to the PATH variable. This enables you to launch the transpiler from any folder.

WebStorm provides user interface both for global and project installation as well as supports installation through the command line.

Installing the Stylus transpiler globally

  1. Run the installation from the command line in the global mode:
    1. Launch the embedded Terminal by hovering your mouse pointer over show_tool_window_bars in the lower left corner of WebStorm and choosing Terminal from the menu (see Working with Embedded Local Terminal for details).
    2. Switch to the directory where NPM is stored or define a PATH variable for it so it is available from any folder, see Installing NodeJs.
    3. Type the following command at the command line prompt:
      npm install -g stylus

      For more details on the NPM operation modes, see npm documentation. For more information about installing the Stylus transpiler, see https://npmjs.org/package/stylus.

  2. Run NPM from WebStorm using the Node.js and NPM page of the Settings dialog box.
    1. Open the Settings dialog box by choosing File | Settings or pressing Ctrl+Alt+S and click Node.js and NPM under Languages&Frameworks.
    2. On the Node.js and NPM page that opens, the Packages area shows all the Node.js-dependent packages that are currently installed on your computer, both at the global and at the project level. Click add.
    3. In the Available Packages dialog box that opens, select the required package to install.
    4. Select the Options check box and type -g in the text box next to it.
    5. Optionally specify the product version and click Install Package to start installation.

Installing the Stylus transpiler in a project

  • Run the installation from the command line:
    1. Launch the embedded Terminal by hovering your mouse pointer over show_tool_window_bars in the lower left corner of WebStorm and choosing Terminal from the menu (see Working with Embedded Local Terminal for details).
    2. Switch to the project root folder and type the following command at the command line prompt:
      npm install stylus
  • Run NPM from WebStorm using the Node.js and NPM page of the Settings dialog box.
    1. Open the project settings by choosing File | Settings or pressing Ctrl+Alt+S, see Accessing Settings for details. Then click Node.js and NPM under the Languages & Frameworks node.
    2. On the Node.js and NPM page that opens, the Packages area shows all the Node.js-dependent packages that are currently installed on your computer, both at the global and at the project level. Click add.
    3. In the Available Packages dialog box that opens, select the required package.
    4. Optionally specify the product version and click Install Package to start installation.

Creating a File Watcher

  1. Make sure the File Watchers plugin is enabled. The plugin is bundled with WebStorm and activated by default. If it is not, enable the plugin. See Enabling and Disabling Plugins for details.
  2. To start creating a File Watcher, open the Project Settings by choosing File | Settings 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.
  3. Click the Add button new.png or press Alt+Insert and choose the Stylus predefined template from the pop-up list.
  4. In the Program text box, specify the path to the executable file:
    • stylus for OS X and Unix.
    • stylus.bat for Windows.
    Type the path manually or click the Browse button browseButton.png and choose the file location in the dialog box that opens.
  5. Proceed as described on page Using File Watchers.

Transpiling the code

When you open a Stylus file, WebStorm checks whether an applicable file watcher is available in the current project. If such file watcher is configured but disabled, WebStorm displays a pop-up window that informs you about the configured file watcher and suggests to enable it.

If an applicable file watcher is configured and enabled in the current project, WebStorm starts it automatically upon the event specified in the New Watcher dialog.

  • If the Immediate file synchronization check box is selected, the File Watcher is invoked as soon as any changes are made to the source code.
  • If the Immediate file synchronization check box is cleared, the File Watcher is started upon save ( File | Save All , Ctrl+S) or when you move focus from WebStorm (upon frame deactivation).

WebStorm creates a separate file with the generated output. The file has the name of the source Stylus file and the extension css. The location of the generated files is defined in the Output paths to refresh text box of the New Watcher dialog. However, in the Project Tree, they are shown under the source file which is now displayed as a node.

See Also

Last modified: 11 December 2014
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