Javascript30 Lesson 3

What I learned from lesson 3 of JavaScript30

Lee Keitel

2 minute read

Lesson 3 dealt more with CSS than JavaScript. This lesson demonstrated the use of variables in standard CSS. Although CSS preprocessors have had variables for quite some time, the values of them can't be changed at runtime. Meaning, there's no way to change a single value and have all other dependent properties update with the new value. In contrast, when a variable in CSS is altered, every property that uses it will also be updated and repainted. This allows the programmer to change just one value such as a color, and multiple elements on the page will be updated simultaneously.

What I Learned

I had heard about variables coming to CSS but have never looked into them much. So this was the first time I've ever used them. The syntax of variables is a bit odd especially if you've used a CSS preprocessor before. Personally I've used LESS in the past. I feel the syntax is a bit clunky but I understand them wanting to maintain backwards compatibility with existing tooling. For example if $var was used instead, how would a preprocessor know if the user wants the variable “compiled” or if it's meant to be a standard CSS variable. So dispite the syntax, I see variables as a great step forward and opens up possibilities for more maintainable JavaScript and styles.

Final Thoughts

CSS variable are really nice and I can see where I may use them in the future. As for compatibility, all the evergreen browsers support them with a couple minor issues in Edge. Internet Explorer has no compatibility at all so if IE support is still needed, variables can't be used.

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