Who is using them?
What are your thoughts? etc
I for one cannot without them! They enhance your stylesheets through functionality additions like variables, nesting, and mixins—allowing far greater command over large amounts of style.
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Hi Lyndsay and welcome to the forum
I looked into the various pre-processors a while back and frankly found all I inspected to be exercises in futility. The major theme seemed to be declare your variables, then treat the formatting as if they were nested objects, or as programming objects with inheritance.
If your css is well organized contextually, and the concept of the cascade is well understood, nothing else is needed toward formatting. As for variables, maybe. Even there, it tends to be overkill. Contextual organization pretty well abrogates the need, as the cascade and context sets styles for the entire aggregation. And, if you're using more than a few font variations or colors, you probably have a messy design that preprocessing isn't about to help.
All in all, I found them to be a waste of time.
Gary they were brought about
Gary they were brought about by programmers, who always struggle unless they have a armoury of tools in use. I remember well so many posts here from programmers of many years experience bemoaning CSS as they couldn't grasp it's flow or form unlike there more intricate languages replete with structures to be obeyed and lending order to their work.
There are benefits though, I do use less ( apparently ought to be using sass ) but use it in a half hearted manner more because of peer pressure than actual desire to, I've put the time in on CSS so like yourself have no problem managing the cascade, specificity, ordering of styles to flow and make sense, pre-processors are designed - like so much nowadays - to take over that aspect for those that are not prepared to actually put the study time in to some degree, but equally they lend some benefits ( but much like what was tried in the past in style.php with mime header adjustment ) I like and use a mixins file to which I add complex or tedious properties to write out repeatedly and can then just add them as .box-shadow() passing args back if necessary so my border radius becomes .border-radius(6px)
Primarily the reason these pre-processors have seemed to have gained a foothold might be due to the fact that frameworks have started to use them.
here though is one good reason to frown though I use an app to do the compiling, simple app that lets me state a path to folder to monitor it picks up the .less file and corresponding true .ss file on save of the .less file it re-compiles the .css file it works so fast there is no hint of a wait - drawback is though one tends to set running then open up the normal style sheet or both but as they are essentially identical easy to work in wrong file, I began a series of fairly complex re-jigging of some rulesets, later realising, or perhaps just inadvertently coming back to the .less file, I made a single change to the .less file saved and overwrote all the changes I had made to the real .css file, not something that amused me in the least.