YUI CSS Min – part 2

May 20th, 2010. Tagged: CSS, performance, tools, yahoo, yui

The first part is here. It was more about building the YUICompressor, writing and running test cases. Now let's see what the compressor does exactly to your CSS.

BTW, you can play with the web UI to see for yourself how the minifier works.

Stripping comments and white space

This is the bare minimum a minifier can do. And when it comes to CSS, this is also the place where ther biggest improvement comes from. In JS for example you can rename variables and save bytes, but in CSS the possibilities are more limited. No shorter way to say text-decoration, unfortunately.

So before:

/***** 
  classmates stuff
*****/
.classmates {
    /* after 10 years */
    weight: considerable;
}

After:

.classmates{weight:considerable}

Special comments

Stripping comments is nice but not always ok. Sometimes you need to retain copyright information. Use ! at the beginning of the comment to mark the comment as special.

Before:

/*!
  (c) copyright copyleft
*/
.classmates {
    /* after 10 years */
    weight: considerable;
}

After:

/*!
  (c) copyright copyleft
*/.classmates{weight:considerable}

Thanks to the charmingly insisting Billy Hoffman and the valid case he presented, the bang (!) itself is preserved too. This way you can safely double minify. Also lint tools (such as Zoompf, YSlow and PageSpeed) can see the ! and conclude that this comment is there intentionally, not because you forgot to minify.

Striping last semi-colon

The last semi-colon in a declaration block is out. So keep it in your source for maintenance purposes and let the minifier take care of stripping it out.

Before:

a {
  one: 1;
  two: 2;
}

After:

a{one:1;two:2}

Extra semi-colons

One semi-colon is all you need, so the minifier will strip an accidentally added one.

Before:

p :link { 
  ba: zinga;;;
  foo: bar;;;
}

After:

p :link{ba:zinga;foo:bar}

No empty declarations

Empty declaration blocks don't do anything, so why send them over the net?

Before:

.empty { ;}

After:

(nothing...)

Zero values

A zero is a zero. Zero pixels or % or centimeters or whatever, it's still zero. Also sometimes (when everything is a zero) you need just one zero instead of four, or three or two.

Before:

a { 
  margin: 0px 0pt 0em 0%;
  background-position: 0 0ex;
  padding: 0in 0cm 0mm 0pc
}

After:

a{margin:0;background-position:0 0;padding:0}

Floats

For values such as 0.something, the 0 is not needed.

Before:

::selection { 
  margin: 0.6px 0.333pt 1.2em 8.8cm;
}

After:

::selection{margin:.6px .333pt 1.2em 8.8cm}

Colors values

RGB color values are nice, but not the most concise form. Make them hex. Also AABBCC hex can be the shorter ABC. But don't touch RGBA and don't touch the IE filter values in quotes.

Before:

.color {
  me: rgb(123, 123, 123);
  impressed: #ffeedd;
  background: none repeat scroll 0 0 rgb(255, 0,0);
}

After:

.color{me:#7b7b7b;impressed:#fed;background:none repeat scroll 0 0 #f00}

Before:

.cantouch {
  alpha: rgba(1, 2, 3, 4);
  filter: chroma(color="#FFFFFF");
}

After (no color minification) :

.cantouch{alpha:rgba(1,2,3,4);filter:chroma(color="#FFFFFF")}

Single charsets

Only one charset is allowed per stylesheet. So, if there's more than one, strip it. It may happen when merging several stylesheets into one.

Before:

@charset "utf-8";
#foo {
  border-width: 1px;
}
 
/* second css, merged */
@charset "another one";
#bar {
  border-width: 10px;
}

After:

@charset "utf-8";#foo{border-width:1px}#bar{border-width:10px}

Alpha opacity

There's a shorter way to write opacity filter for IE.

So before:

code {
   -ms-filter: "PROGID:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.Alpha(Opacity=80)"; /* IE 8 */
   filter: progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.Alpha(Opacity=80);       /* IE 4-7 */
}

After:

code{-ms-filter:"alpha(opacity=80)";filter:alpha(opacity=80)}

There are more filters that could be shorten besides the opacity, but MSDN suggests the longer syntax should be used, So a bit more experimentation is needed here...

Thanks!

Whew, sort of a lengthy post. Thank you for reading and coming up next time... hacks :)

If you have ideas, comments, your bug reports are welcome

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