SMACSS File Structure

Updated 2016-11-18 by Ben

We follow the SMACSS model of organizing our CSS. SMACSS stands for Scalable Modular Architecture for CSS. The SMACSS way of thinking about CSS is to divide your CSS rules into several categories. Each of these categories will get their own directory in our Sass structure.

Base Rules

Base rules are where we define all the base styles for our CSS–these are global styles that will be used everywhere and that act as a base for us to build our other styles off of.

Examples of things that would be in your base directory:

Layout Rules

This is where we define the overall layout of the site. This for repeatable layout elements. Think containers, wraps, grids. Not for headers, footers, etc.

From the SMACSS definition: <blockquote>Layout rules divide the page into sections. Layouts hold one or more modules together.</blockquote>

Take Bootstrap, for example. Classes like .container, .row, .col-sm-4 are all layout components. Classes like .nav-pill, .cards, .table are not.

Component Rules

This directory contains each component in a separate file. The name of the file should reflect the class name of the component. In a file named components/_card.sass, you should expect to find sass related to the .card class. This includes any variants (like .card--white, .card--large), media queries, and sub-element selectors (.card__header, .card__footer).

These are called modules in SMACSS, but we will call them components. This avoids confusion in Drupal (where modules is used in a different context) and also lines up with the usage of components in React.js.

State Rules

All states should be included in the component or layout file for that component. You don’t need a separate directory for this.

State rules define when an object on our site gets a new state. States can include a mobile/tablet media query and if an element is active or inactive.

The File Structure

Here’s what the file structure should look like:


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