Easy SASS compilation in WebStorm / PhpStorm

If you are a regular reader, you might have noticed i have started using SASS a while go. If you are not, and don’t know what sass is, you can read my previous post on sass here.

Recently Webstorm/PhpStorm introduced the support for sass syntax highlighting, which is really awesome, but the compilation of SASS files is not integrated in the IDE.
There is however a way to set up Webstorm/PhpStorm to use external tools, which is perfect to make sass compilation from within the IDE possible.

Just follow the steps below, and you can enjoy the comfort of SASS compilation from within your favourite IDE.

Open the Settings panel: File > Settings

Then go to “External Tools” and click “Add…”

The following screen shows up, fill in the values you see (but point the “program” field to your sass installation path)

Now, right click on your SASS (or scss) file, and the sass tool will be right there, as you can see in the screen below.

Some additional useful tips:

  • Alternatively, if you prefer the one time compilation, or other sass parameters, just change the “parameters” field, or create some duplicates of this external tool setup.
  • If you work with “deploy to FTP” on save, make sure to enable the “Upload external changes” option.

Keep your mind fresh with stackoverflow.com

When you are programming on the same platform on a day-to-day basis it’s easy to get used to certain methodologies or approaches to the problems that are presented to you.

Except for being able to present a solution quickly, i think taking these approaches for granted is a bad habit.
As a developer, it is important to look at problems from different perspectives, come up with different solutions  and eventually pick a solution that fits best.

To keep your mind fresh and away from tunnelvision on your platform, take my advice to take a look at the questions at http://stackoverflow.com for 15 minutes every day, and answer them if you can.

Why? First of all you help others with your perspective on a problem. Second, and most profitable for yourself; it’s a great resource for seeing other perspectives on problems. If you look at other people’s solutions, you (hopefully) get a sense for approaching a problem from different perspectives by yourself.

I just started to look at the questions today, and provided some answers of which i thought were approperiate.
Some were, some were not. At least i learned from all of them. For example: i was making unjustified assumptions (doh!), was pointed at dependency injection (once again) and was shown a nice regex technique.

I learned a lot this evening,  and from now on, i’ll spend every evening on Stack Overflow for about 15-30 minutes!

Starting to share

So, there we are. Yet again, starting a blog.

I’ll explain why:
Today i attended a great online webinar called Day Camp 4 Developers, organized by Cal Evans and Kathy Evans.

This webinar was all about getting serious about your career as a developer, both professionaly and passionately.
But also about getting involved in “the community”. @lornajane‘s talk about getting involved in Open Source, the talks about defining your career path and the great people in the IRC channel were great motivations to attend this webinar, and actually do something with it and (hopefully) get involved.

Over the couple of weeks i’ll make a list of some topics of what i think is interesting to write about, share and hopefully discuss. Stay tuned!