Sass Rule Layout

We've been going through a bit of a reshuffle at work with regards to our front-end conventions and layout. With the introduction of Sass into the team, we took it as an opportunity to shake things up in the way we do things.

File Layout

In every project we use Luigi as our base framework and build on top of that. In terms of File Layout we have:

  • _style.scss - This should never have styles and only be used for routing and includes (e.g. Luigi and the other below files)
  • _base.scss - This includes all the base element styles (e.g. a, h1 etc.)
  • _layout.scss - This contains all the styles that are to do with the layout and structure of the site
  • _main.scss - This houses all the other styles - modular and specific.
  • _variables.scss - Contains all the variables and custom mixins for that project

With the files set up, we then revised the rule layout.

Rule Layout

When coding Less, we used to do 1 line, but still nest:

.class {font-size: 24px; color: red;
    .subclass {color: blue;}

This was readable and encouraged concise and compact declarations (otherwise you'd have to start scrolling). The main problem with this was git merge issues. As git works on a line per line basis if 2 developers changed declarations in the same line, you would have to manually merge it.

We now opt for a multi-line rule layout (this decision was also helped by Sass having a command line CSS compressor) with the following format:

.class-name {
    $variables: 10px; // Class specific variables
    @extend .other-class; // Followed by extends
    @include border-radius(); // Then any mixins
    background: red; // After that, standard declarations
    font-weight: bold;
    &:hover { // Any pseudo elements
        color: blue;
    .class-sub { // And any child elements
        color: blue;
    .parent & { // Contextual overrides
        font-weight: 100;
    @include bp(meerkat) { //  Media Queries come last
        background: salmon;
        .class-sub {
            color: orange;
This website is currently having a full content audit - apologies if some of the code or content looks a bit funky!

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Mike Street

Written by Mike Street

Mike is a front-end developer from Brighton, UK. He spends his time writing, cycling and coding. You can find Mike on Twitter.