When it comes to web development, we use three languages. HTML is used for building the website’s structure, JavaScript for adding interactivity to pages, and CSS to give style to elements in a page.

Now, in the world of front-end development, we have not only these three languages, but also a set of tools for these languages that improve the development process of our websites. One such tool is SASS (Syntactically Awesome Style Sheets), a CSS preprocessor that offers several advantages over traditional CSS.

In this article, we’ll explore the basics of CSS and SASS, highlight the key differences between them, and provide a quick guide on getting started with SASS.

What is CSS?

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a fundamental language used for styling web pages. It is a stylesheet language that defines how HTML elements should be displayed on a webpage.

In the early days of the World Wide Web, during the 1990s, the web was primarily a text-based environment. HTML (HyperText Markup Language) was used to structure content, but there was no standardized method to style these documents.

The need for a separate styling mechanism led to the development of CSS. The concept of CSS was first introduced in 1994 by Håkon Wium Lie. With its popularity in the early 2000s, it became the default language to control the appearance of web pages.

Here’s a basic example of CSS:

/* CSS Example */
body {
    background-color: #f0f0f0;
    font-family: Arial, sans-serif;

h1 {
    color: #333;

What is SASS?

On the other hand, SASS, which stands for “Syntactically Awesome Stylesheets,” is a preprocessor that extends the capabilities of CSS. It is referred to as a “CSS preprocessor” because it compiles into standard CSS code that web browsers can understand.

SASS introduces several features that make styling more efficient and maintainable, such as variables, nesting, and mixins.

Here’s an example of SCSS:

/* SCSS Example */
$primary-color: #3498db;

body {
    background-color: #f0f0f0;
    font-family: Arial, sans-serif;

    h1 {
        color: $primary-color;

Sass vs CSS

SASS provides a number of features that make it easier to write and maintain CSS code. These features include:

  • Nested syntax: Sass allows you to nest selectors within other selectors, making it easier to write and read complex stylesheets. CSS does not support nesting.
// CSS
body {
  font-family: Arial, sans-serif;
  color: #333;

h1 {
  font-size: 28px;
body {
  font-family: Arial, sans-serif;
  color: #333;
 h1 {
  font-size: 28px;
  • Variables: Sass allows you to define variables and use them throughout your stylesheets. This makes your code more reusable and easier to maintain. CSS does not support variables.
$main-font: Arial, sans-serif;
$main-color: #333;

body {
  font-family: $main-font;
  color: $main-color;
  • Mixins: Sass allows you to create reusable code snippets called mixins. Mixins can be used to share common code between different selectors. CSS does not support mixins.
@mixin transform($property) {
  -webkit-transform: $property;
  -ms-transform: $property;
  transform: $property;

.box {
  @include transform(rotate(45deg));
  • Imports: Sass allows you to import other Sass files into your stylesheets. This makes it easy to organize your code and reuse code across multiple projects. CSS does not support imports.
@import "path/to/your/header.scss";

body {

  • Functions: Sass allows you to define functions that can be used throughout your stylesheets. Functions can be used to perform complex calculations or to manipulate data. CSS does not support functions.
@function calculate-width($base-width) {
  @return $base-width * 1.5;

.box {
  width: calc(calculate-width(100px)); // Output: 150px

These are a few main features of SASS. You can find more featuees of SASS in the official guide.

Pros and Cons

Pros of CSS:

  1. Ease of Learning: CSS is relatively easy to learn, making it accessible to beginners in web development.
  2. Compatibility: CSS is supported by all major web browsers, ensuring consistent styling across different platforms.
  3. Lightweight: CSS files are small in size, leading to faster page load times.
  4. Direct Integration: CSS integrates seamlessly with HTML, allowing for quick implementation.

Cons of CSS:

  1. Limited Variables: CSS lacks native support for variables, making it challenging to manage consistent styles across a large codebase.
  2. Repetition: Writing repetitive code is common in CSS, which can lead to code redundancy and maintenance issues.
  3. Limited Functions: CSS has limited support for functions and calculations, making complex styling tasks more cumbersome.

Pros of SASS:

  1. Variables: SASS allows you to define variables, making it easier to maintain a consistent design language throughout your project.
  2. Nesting: You can nest CSS rules within other rules, improving readability and reducing redundancy.
  3. Mixins: SASS supports mixins, enabling you to reuse blocks of code, such as vendor prefixes or complex animations.
  4. Functions: SASS provides built-in functions for performing calculations and manipulating colors.
  5. Modularity: SASS promotes a modular approach to styling, which enhances code organization and reusability.

Cons of SASS:

  1. Learning Curve: SASS has a steeper learning curve compared to basic CSS, which may require some initial investment in learning.
  2. Compilation Step: SASS files need to be compiled into standard CSS before deployment, adding an extra build step to the development process.
  3. Tool Dependency: Using SASS requires a build tool or preprocessor, which may not be ideal for small or simple projects.

Which One Should You Use?

CSS is the only styling language that browsers understand. Therefore, the code you write in SASS language must be converted into CSS to style HTML elements.

If you are a beginner in web development. Remember that CSS is an essential tool for webs development and you must be learn before getting into SASS.

If you are more experienced with CSS and you want to be able to do more with your CSS code, then you might want to consider using SASS. SASS offers a number of features that CSS does not have, which can make your CSS code more concise, reusable and maintainable.

How To Get Started With SCSS

If you’re ready to get started with SCSS, follow these steps:

  1. Install a Preprocessor: You’ll need a tool to compile your SASS code into regular CSS. Popular options include Sass and node-sass. You can install them using npm or yarn.
  2. Create an SASS File: Start by creating an .scss file and write your SASS code in it. You can use a code editor that supports SASS syntax highlighting for a better development experience.
  3. Compile SASS to CSS: Use your chosen preprocessor to compile the SCSS file into CSS. This will generate a .css file that you can include in your HTML document.
  4. Link the CSS: In your HTML file, link the compiled CSS file using the <link> tag, just like you would with regular CSS.
<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
    <meta charset="UTF-8">
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="styles.css">
    <!-- Add your other meta tags and links here -->
    <title>Your Page Title</title>
    <!-- Your HTML content here -->


In conclusion, while CSS remains a fundamental language for styling web pages, SASS offers numerous advantages that make it a valuable tool for modern web development.

Sass and CSS are both powerful style sheet languages that can be used to control the appearance of web pages. Sass has some additional features and functionality that CSS does not have, but it is also more complex. Ultimately, the best choice for you will depend on your experience level, the complexity of your project, and your personal preferences.

Thank you for reading

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