I wrote about Less.js when it was just about to be released, and in that post I made a bold statement saying that it was going to obsolete CSS. It’s hard to say how many people use LESS today, but I for one cannot imagine going back to vanilla CSS. Sure, I’ll write it if I have to — after all, LESS has exactly the same syntax — but surrendering the features of LESS really puts you at a disadvantage. Recently we’ve also had frameworks pop up that use LESS for their stylesheets, such as the very popular Bootstrap, made by developers at Twitter.
Turning LESS into CSS
Here are some compilers you can use to turn LESS files into CSS:
Less.app (Mac OS X only) – this is what I use and it works beautifully in the background without any issues. Just add the LESS files and it will auto-compile them when they’re updated, so you just work with the LESS file as you would with CSS and then refresh the browser window when you make changes. Bryan, the creator of Less.app has another app called CodeKit in development which extends functionality to a bunch more languages like Sass and CoffeeScript.
SimpLESS (Windows, Lunux, Mac OS X) – haven’t tried this one but it should work on every platform and looks quite promising.
LiveReload (Mac OS X, Windows) – this app monitors your CSS file and reloads the stylesheet in your browser without refreshing the page. It also has an option to monitor and compile LESS files for you. I use this for reloading CSS, but not the compile feature, so can’t comment on that, but it’s worth getting just for the reload.