small medium large xlarge

Scalable and Modular Architecture for CSS


Cover image for Scalable and Modular Architecture for CSS

Scalable and Modular Architecture for CSS


CSS is messy. At least, it always seems to get messy as projects and teams grow in size. If you’ve ever battled specificity issues by throwing “important!” at them, or found the components of your site so increasingly intertwined that you’re afraid to change anything, then this book is for you. If you’ve ever come into a project and found yourself confused by the existing code, then this book is for your co-workers. Scalable and Modular Architecture for CSS (SMACCS) explores techniques that can make your sites more manageable.

This work was written and produced entirely by the author. We are proud to be distributing it.

About this Title

Pages: 112
Published: 2012-07-23
Release: P1.0 (2012-08-27)
ISBN: 978-1-93778-550-5

Author Jonathan Snook says:

“I’ve analyzed my process, and the processes of those around me, and figured out how best to structure code for projects on a larger scale. This book shows you a process that works equally well for sites small and large.”

Scalable and Modular Architecture—or SMACSS (pronounced “smacks”) for short—is more style guide than rigid framework. There is no library here for you to download or install. SMACSS is a way to examine your design process and to fit those rigid frameworks into a flexible thought process. It’s an attempt to document a consistent approach to site development when using CSS. And really, who isn’t building a site with CSS these days?

Learn how to structure your CSS to allow for flexibility and maintainability as your project and your team grows.


Contents & Extracts


  • Core
    • Categorizing CSS Rules excerpt
    • Base Rules
    • Layout Rules
    • Module Rules excerpt
    • State Rules
    • Theme Rules
    • Changing State
  • Aspects of SMACSS
    • Depth of Applicability
    • Selector Performance
    • HTML5 and SMACSS
    • Prototyping
    • Preprocessors
    • Drop the Base
    • The Icon Module
    • Complicated Inheritance
  • Appendix
    • Formatting Code
    • Resources


Jonathan writes about tips, tricks, and bookmarks on his blog at He has also written for A List Apart, 24ways, and .net magazine, and has co-authored two books: The Art and Science of CSS and Accelerated DOM Scripting. When not sharing his knowledge through writing books and speaking at conferences, Snook works on the design team at Shopify.