Working with Sass and SCSS in Compass Projects
IntelliJ IDEA supports development in projects structured in compliance with the Compass framework. This framework uses Sass and SCSS extensions of CSS.
On this page:
- Preparing for Compass development
- Setting up a Compass project
- Integrating Compass with IntelliJ IDEA
- Creating a Compass Sass or a Compass SCSS transpiler
- Running a Compass Sass or Compass SCSS transpiler
Preparing for Compass development
- Download and install Ruby.
pathvariable for the folder where the Ruby executable file and the
gem.batfile are stored. This lets you launch Ruby and Gem Manager from any folder and ensures that Ruby is successfully launched during transpilation.
- Install and enable the Sass Support plugin. The plugin is not bundled with IntelliJ IDEA, but it can be installed from the JetBrains plugin repository as described in Installing, Updating and Uninstalling Repository Plugins and Enabling and Disabling Plugins. The plugin is not bundled with IntelliJ IDEA, but it can be installed from the JetBrains plugin repository as described in Installing, Updating and Uninstalling Repository Plugins and Enabling and Disabling Plugins.
- The installation is performed in the command line mode. To start the built-in Terminal, hover your mouse pointer over in the lower left corner of the IDE, then choose Terminal from the menu (see Working with Embedded Local Terminal for details).
Type the following command at the command line prompt:
gem install compass
The tool is installed to the folder where Ruby executable file and the
gem.batfile are stored.
Setting up a Compass project
You can have a project set up according to the Compass requirements in two ways: create a new Compass project or create an empty project and introduce a Compass-specific structure in it. In either case, a project is set up through command line commands. Of course, you can set up a Compass project externally and then open it in IntelliJ IDEA.
During project set-up, a
conf.rb configuration file is generated. You will need to specify the location of this file when integrating Compass with IntelliJ IDEA.
- To set up the Compass-specific structure in an existing project:
To create a Compass project from scratch:
- Open the desired project in IntelliJ IDEA.
- Open the built-in Terminal by hovering your mouse pointer over in the lower left corner of IntelliJ IDEA and choosing Terminal from the menu.
Switch to the folder that will be the parent for the new project folder. Type the following command:
cd <parent folder name>
At the command line prompt, type:
compass create <the name of the project to be created>
Integrating Compass with IntelliJ IDEA
To develop a Compass-specific project in IntelliJ IDEA, you need to specify the Compass executable file
compass and the project configuration file
You can do it either through the Compass Support page of the Settings
dialog box or on the fly using an intention action
that opens the Compass Support dialog box.
Open the Compass page or dialog box by doing one of the following:
- Open the Settings / Preferences Dialog by pressing Ctrl+Alt+S or by choosing for Windows and Linux or for OS X, and click Compass under Languages & Frameworks.
.scssfile, type the following import statement:
- Click the red bulb icon or press Alt+Enter. Then choose Configure Compass from the suggestion list.
- In a
- To activate Compass support, select the Enable Compass support check box.
In the Compass executable file text box,
specify the location of the
compassexecutable file under the Ruby installation. Type the path manually, for example,
C:\Ruby200-x64\bin\compass, or choose it from the drop-down list, or click the Browse button and choose the location of the
compassfile in the dialog box that opens.
In the Config path field,
specify the location of the project Compass configuration file
config.rb. Type the path manually, for example,
C:\my_projects\\compass_project\config.rb, or choose it from the drop-down list, or click the Browse button and choose the location of the
compassfile int he dialog box that opens.
The Compass configuration file
config.rbis generated during project set-up through
Creating a Compass Sass or a Compass SCSS transpiler
Sass and SCSS are not processed by browsers that work with CSS code. Therefore to be executed, Sass or SCSS code has to be translated into CSS. This operation is referred to as transpilation and the tools that perform it are called transpilers.
IntelliJ IDEA supports integration with a transpiler tool that translates Sass and SCSS code from a Compass project without changing the Compass-specific project structure.
In IntelliJ IDEA, transpiler configurations are called File Watchers. For each supported transpiler, IntelliJ IDEA provides a predefined File Watcher template. Predefined File Watcher templates are available at the IntelliJ IDEA 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.
Install and enable the File Watchers repository plugin.
The plugin is not bundled with IntelliJ IDEA, but it is available from the IntelliJ IDEA plugin repository plugin repository. See Installing, Updating and Uninstalling Repository Plugins and Enabling and Disabling Plugins for details.
- To start creating a File Watcher, open the Settings/Preferences dialog box by choosing for Windows and Linux or for OS X 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.
- Click the Add button or press Alt+Insert and choose the compass sass or compass scss predefined template from the pop-up list.
- In the Program text box, specify the path to the executable file: Browse button and choose the file location in the dialog box that opens.
In the Arguments text box, type one of the following depending on the operating system used:
- For OS X:
- For Windows:
- For Linux (Ubuntu):
- Proceed as described on page Using File Watchers.
Running a Compass Sass or Compass SCSS transpiler
When you open a Sass or SCSS file, IntelliJ IDEA checks whether an applicable file watcher is available in the current project. If such file watcher is configured but disabled, IntelliJ IDEA 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, IntelliJ IDEA 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 (, Ctrl+S) or when you move focus from IntelliJ IDEA (upon frame deactivation).
IntelliJ IDEA creates a separate file with the generated output. The file has the name of the source Sass or SCSS 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.