Sass, which is said to be short for “Syntactically Awesome Stylesheets”, is a meta-language that extends CSS3 to do things that plain old CSS can’t do easily or at all, with goodies we’ve come to know and love from our programming languages: variables, nesting, mixins and inheritance. It compiles to well-formatted standard CSS, and you can even have Sass watch your Sass files so that it automatically updates your compiled CSS files as you update your Sass source.
Sass is the creation of Hampton Catlin, a “Shopifriend” and programmer who’s all about optimizing his programming tools. When he got fed up with building HTML templates for his Rails projects, he created the Haml markup language. Haml’s popular enough that it’s found its way into the most unlikely of places, such as the .NET world, where they’ve implemented it as NHaml. Just as Haml is Hampton’s optimization of HTML, Sass is his optimization of CSS.
Pragmatic Guide to Sass is currently in beta. You can get it in ebook format immediately (with downloadable updates as more of the book is finished, including the final, finished ebook) for US$13 or buy the ebook + paper book bundle, where you can get the ebook now and both the paperback edition and the final, finished ebook when the book is complete for US$30.
In the past few days I’ve been revising the CSS compatibility table with information about the latest crop of browsers. There’s no doubt about it: this is IE9’s show. It just supports nearly everything. No hassle, no buts.
Microsoft has finally taken the big leap forward we’ve been waiting for ever since they announced their decision to restart IE development back in 2005.
IE9 promises to be an excellent browser. Its CSS support is now at par with that of the other browsers — although each browser still has its specific areas where it performs less. But we cannot in good faith say that IE is behind the others any more.
In the article, he does a run-down of CSS selectors and finds that the upcoming IE9 does an excellent job of supporting them.
It wasn’t that long ago that an early version of Internet Explorer 9 – we called it Platform Preview 1 – was announced at MIX10 Conference back in mid-March. If you missed it, here’s MIX10’s Day 2 keynote session, in which the Internet Explorer team’s supreme Kahuna, Dean Hachamovitch, made the announcement (it’s the first part of the keynote, so you don’t have to watch or scan through the entire two hours):
While the Acid3 test isn’t the holy grail – some of its tests don’t mesh with the HTML5 standard as it is right now, others are still “under construction” – more compliance with HTML5 typically means a higher Acid3 score. IE9 Platform Preview 2 currently scores 68 out of a possible 100, which is an improvement over Platform Preview 1’s score of 55, and leaps and bounds ahead of IE8’s scores for 20.
People Issue #1: Standards
Another part of the “Same Markup” approach is working within the various standards groups defining the web experience. Among other things, we’ve been doing things like:
Take IE9 Platform Preview 2 for a Spin!
You can download Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview 2 right now. As with Platform Preview 1, it coexists with Internet Explorer 8, and it’s a very thin wrapper around the engine, meaning that it’s really for developer and designer testing rather than general browsing. The UI elements you’d expect in a browser, such as the address bar (you open sites using File –> Open…), nor are the security features such as Protected Mode, SmartScreen filter and XSS scripting filter.
Platform Preview 2 installs right over Platform Preview 1; you don’t have to uninstall Platform Preview 1 before installing Platform Preview 2.