Hi, I’m Nico Hagenburger
I enjoy designing
clean, simple websites,
developing living style guides
& increasing usability.

Simple Naming for Modular CSS Class Names

A follow up to some discussions over in The Sass Way blog and guidelines for my clients.

Basically I’m doing the same. But different. Just like everybody is doing it. This naming concept is used in projects for Toyota, ProSiebenSat.1, MyVideo, Maxdome, and Homify.

Class Names

There are three basic rules to keeping it simple:

  • Lower case letters
  • Dash case
  • Meaningful, natural names

(In other words: No prefixes, no under_scores, no camelCase)

Cascading

Don’t do it. There is no cascading. CSS is much more maintainable if you avoid cascading altogether and use just class names. The same goes for #ids and HTML elements. Don’t style them.

Modules

Everything is packed into a module. A module follows the naming conventions (see above). All elements that belong to this module are connected with two dashes (--). I chose two dashes as they stand out, like there’s some meaning behind it. And that’s exactly what it is. Some people use a mix of underscores and dashes to separate modules to sub elements, but for me this looks a bit random if you are looking at the code without knowing the rules.

.teaser
  background: yellow
  border: 1px gray solid
  padding: 10px

.teaser--title
  font-size: 1.5em
  font-weight: bold

.teaser--text
  font-size: 1.1em

This code will be in a file named modules/_teaser.sass. Each module should be completely independent from another. A module could also be nested inside another module, as long as it makes sense.

Modifiers

Modifiers should be applied to the module class only and named in a way to identify it as a modifier (starting with a -):

.teaser
  background: yellow
  border: 1px gray solid
  padding: 10px

  &.-important
    border-color: red

.teaser--title
  font-size: 1.5em
  font-weight: bold

  .teaser.-important &
    font-size: 2em

.teaser--text
  font-size: 1.1em

Layout

The layout is just another module (.layout, .layout--logo, …). No extra rules needed. And yes, I don’t style body for consistency :)

Summary

I don’t want to have too many rules; just a very easy to learn and easy to adopt concept which looks similar in each file. I’ve done it in many projects for clients with different frontend developers and it works well. As a side effect, just using class names speeds up rendering in the Browser.