Browser devtools have made redesigning a site such a pleasure. I love writing and adjusting a CSS file right in the sources panel and seeing design changes happen as I type, and saving it back to the file. (…) Designing against live HTML allows happy accidents and discoveries to happen that I wouldn't think of in an unconstrained design mockup
I feel very late to the party here. I tend to tinker in the DevTools Element Styles panel rather than save changes. So, inspired by Scott, I’ve just tried this out on my personal website. Here’s what I did.
- started up my 11ty-based site locally which launches a
localhostURL for viewing it in the browser;
- opened Chrome’s DevTools at Sources;
- checked the box “Enable local overrides” then followed the prompts to allow access to the folder containing my SCSS files;
- opened an SCSS file in the Sources tab for editing side-by-side with my site in the browser;
- made a change, hit Cmd-S to save and marvelled at the fact that this updated that file, as confirmed by a quick
- switched to the Elements panel, opened its Styles subpanel, made an element style change there too, then confirmed that this alternative approach also saves changes to a file.
This is a really interesting and efficient way of working in the browser and I can see me using it.
There are also a couple of challenges which I’ll probably want to consider. Right now when I make a change to a Sass file, the browser takes a while to reflect that change, which diminishes the benefit of this approach. My site is set up such that Eleventy watches for changes to the sass folder as a trigger for rebuilding the static site. This is because for optimal performance I’m purging the compiled and combined CSS and inlining that into the
<head> of every file… which unfortunately means that when the CSS is changed, every file needs rebuilt. So I need to wait for Eleventy to do its build thing until the page I’m viewing shows my CSS change.
To allow my SCSS changes to be built and reflected faster I might consider no longer inlining CSS, or only inlining a small amount of critical stuff… or maybe (as best of all worlds) only do the inlining for production builds but not in development. Yeah, I like that latter idea. Food for thought!