CSS Preprocessors on Linux

As I forge ahead with learning more advanced CSS, using a preprocessor has been very helpful with larger projects. I’m putting the final touches on my previous two projects, mentioned in a previous post, and moving on to recreating a NY Times article, hosted on GitHub Pages and here’s the code on GitHub.

I’ve used SCSS with my Rails projects already, so I opted to try out the SASS syntax. I’m also attracted to how compact and efficient the code is. I’ll complete a later project using LESS and Bootstrap.

I’ve tried out a few of the CSS GUI preprocessors for Ubuntu so here’s my thoughts so far:


Very convenient for people who don’t have Ruby on their machine. The program is basically a wrapper for an online interface. It worked okay for me.


Prepros gives you an unlimited free trial but will force a pop up every few minutes that disturbs work flow. It will reload browser pages for you, and provides a local server so you can preview the page on multiple devices. It is feature rich. I was very happy with the software for a few days, but there are a few issues making me hesitate. It doesn’t seem as efficient as Koala or the command line, sometimes the compiling hangs for a few seconds or the notifications hang for too long. It will compile CSS partials even if they’re named starting with an underscore and imported into another sheet. Perhaps I’m miss handling but the software, but I was very happy with the following program.


Koala is completely free and open source. It works efficiently and quietly in the background. The only downside that I see is that it does not automatically reload browser pages for you. However, it does work well with the Atom Preview Package which will handle refreshing the pages. I am able to get a good idea of pages styling using this setup before trying it out a few browsers.

I’ll stick with this setup for the time being, but I’m planning on trying out Compass when I complete these project and I’m excited for that!