“Pragmatic Guide to Sass” is in Beta!


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

It’s only fitting that Hampton is the co-author of the upcoming Pragmatic Bookshelf book Pragmatic Guide to Sass. Like Hampton, it gets straight to the point; it’s going to be about 100 pages long. He recently tweeted that “doing more than 100 pages just seemed like filler.” Given that I’m already behind in my tech reading, I’m glad that Hampton (and his co-author Michael) insist on keeping things concise.

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.

This article also appears in the Shopify Technology Blog.


Windows Phone 7 Goes RTM

Gone RTM

I [heart] Windows Phone logo: OMG WP7 RTM FTW

That’s right: the last touches have been put on the Windows Phone 7 OS and it’s now in “RTM”, Release to Manufacturing. Here’s what Terry Myerson wrote on the Windows Phone Blog:

Windows Phone 7 is the most thoroughly tested mobile platform Microsoft has ever released.  We had nearly ten thousand devices running automated tests daily, over a half million hours of active self-hosting use, over three and a half million hours of stress test passes, and eight and a half million hours of fully automated test passes.  We’ve had thousands of independent software vendors and early adopters testing our software and giving us great feedback. We are ready.

Next Up: Developer Tools

Set of wrenches: Tools

We’ve had over 300,000 downloads of the Windows Phone Developer Tools in their CTP (Community Technology Preview) and Beta states, and we’re racing towards RTM. The final version of the tools will be available on Thursday, September 16th, and yes, they’ll be available free of charge.

In the meantime, download the tools and start working on those apps!

Click here to download Windows Phone 7 Tools beta

And Then: Marketplace (and App Certification)

Windows Phone 7 Application Certification Requirements

Windows Phone Marketplace is where users will buy your apps, which means that once you’ve written and tested your apps, it’s time to submit it for certification. The requirements for getting an app certified for Marketplace, including what’s allowed and not allowed in an app, are clearly specified in the Windows Phone 7 Application Certification Requirements [PDF, 513K]. Download it and get familiar with the Marketplace policies.

Your Turn: What Should You Do?

I’ll close with the words of Brandon Watson, Director, Developer Experience and one of the guys on the WP7 team:

  1. Register at the marketplace today

  2. Finish your application or game using the Beta tools

  3. Download the final Windows Phone Developer Tools when they are released on September 16th

  4. Recompile your app or game using the final tools

  5. Have your XAP ready for ingestion into the marketplace in early October when it opens

The final tools will likely have some minor breaking changes from the Beta tools, so developers may have to fix some bugs that arise. The final tools will also include several highly requested Silverlight controls which will make it even easier for developers to deliver high quality Windows Phone 7 experiences. Also in the September 16th final release, the panorama, pivot and Bing maps controls will all be available to drop into applications.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.