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CSS: Visual Optimization
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Using tools to minify your CSS


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CSS: Visual Optimization

with Justin Seeley

Video: Using tools to minify your CSS

One of the best ways to speed up your CSS code is to do something called minifying the CSS. And so minifying is actually a process where you take the CSS that you've written, and you put it in to some sort of minification or compression engine and then the CSS is thus compressed all the unnecessary line breaks and comments and things like that are stripped out, and it just becomes this big block of matrix-esque looking code. And in a recent survey of top US websites, CSS minification actually achieved about a 21% size reduction on the CSS files that where rendered through minification, and this can allow for your website to load up to about 85% faster.

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CSS: Visual Optimization
1h 11m Beginner Feb 12, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Take a tour of a workflow that optimizes CSS code for easier navigation, organization, and readability. In this course, author Justin Seeley covers best practices for writing CSS in an easy-to-read format, commenting code, developing a table of contents, and adopting other methods that help produce "cleaner" code. The course also contains tips for speeding up development with some online tools and simplification techniques.

Topics include:
  • Exploring good versus bad style sheets
  • Creating section headings
  • Indenting code for enhanced readability
  • Creating single- and multi-line comments
  • Avoiding unnecessary tags and classes
  • Creating master color and typography guides
  • Simplifying comments
Subjects:
Web Web Graphics Web Development
Software:
CSS
Author:
Justin Seeley

Using tools to minify your CSS

One of the best ways to speed up your CSS code is to do something called minifying the CSS. And so minifying is actually a process where you take the CSS that you've written, and you put it in to some sort of minification or compression engine and then the CSS is thus compressed all the unnecessary line breaks and comments and things like that are stripped out, and it just becomes this big block of matrix-esque looking code. And in a recent survey of top US websites, CSS minification actually achieved about a 21% size reduction on the CSS files that where rendered through minification, and this can allow for your website to load up to about 85% faster.

So that's pretty crazy, and you can also save load times for your pages and decrease bandwidth usage for your users. Now should be noted here that minification should only be performed once your website is ready to quote unquote go live or go to production, because you do not want to try to edit a minified CSS document, and it should also be noted that you should save a local version of the unminified CSS that you can easily edit the CSS and minify it again later. So, once you have your CSS document written out, I've got a long CSS document here for you.

It's the Bootstrap CSS from Twitter's Bootstrap platform, which you can see more about in our course here on lynda.com called Up and Running with Bootstrap. You can watch all about this, but take a look at how long this document is. It is actually over 6,000 lines of CSS. And so what I want to do is I want to take this, and I want to compress it. So I'm going to select it All and copy it to my clipboard. Now, there are a couple of different tools to do this online. Two of my favorites are CSS minifier and CSS compressor. And so I'm going to show you CSS compressor first, I like this one the best because it gives me statistics afterwards telling me how much it minified it and how much it took out of the CSS.

You have different compression modes here, low, standard, high, and highest. I mean, so if we do high that should be Okay. You also have the option to compress colors, what that's going to do is change the colors from say RGB over to a HEX code it's also going to compress the font-weights from, different weights down to just bold or bolder, something like that. So I'm going to exclude that for now. Also I may have done some special colors in here, so I don't want to compress colors. I do want to remove unnecessary back slashes and semicolons and then we'll just go ahead and paste in the CSS. And so you paste in all of your CSS, and then you hit Compress.

And once it does its thing, it's going to give you a report here to tell you different things that it found that may or may not be okay in your CSS and then afterwards you see your compressed CSS and look how tight this is and how hard that would be to read, that's like I said, it's like Neo in the Matrix. And so compression ratio here, you've compressed it by about 30.4%, and you've taken out 37,749 Bytes. And so you can select all of that, and you can copy that and then paste it back in to your code and then make that the live code on your website if you choose.

The great part about this is, is that there are tools out there that do this for you. The bad part about it is chances are your going to inevitably save over your original CSS document, and that's going to be just a really big pain, so always make sure that you save a copy first somewhere else and then do the CSS mininification and only do minification when you are ready to take the site live, and you're ready for it to just be a production powerhouse. You don't want this to be anything that you want to edit, because as you can see, it would be very hard to read any of this compressed CSS.

But again, this is going to take off anywhere from about 20 to 30% off the size of your CSS document, it's going to save load time, it's going to save bandwidth for your user, and it's going to make your website just scream fast.

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