sfLESSPlugin - 1.0.1

symfony less.js plugin

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less.js in symfony.

sfLESSPlugin is a plugin for symfony applications. It's descendant of sfLessPhpPlugin, but with LESS2 compiler in mind.

It can do most of less.js can:

  • Automatically parse your application .less files through LESS and outputs CSS files;
  • Automatically include your application .less files into page source & enable browser-side LESS parsing.

LESS & less.js

LESS extends CSS with: variables, mixins, operations and nested rules. For more information, see http://lesscss.org.

less.js is LESS2. It's written on pure JavaScript & can be runned on both sides - in browser or in node.js.


Using symfony plugin:install

Use this to install sfLESSPlugin:

$ symfony plugin:install sfLESSPlugin

Using git clone

Use this to install as a plugin in a symfony app:

$ cd plugins && git clone git://github.com/everzet/sfLESSPlugin.git

Using git submodules

Use this if you prefer to use git submodules for plugins:

$ git submodule add git://github.com/everzet/sfLESSPlugin.git plugins/sfLESSPlugin
$ git submodule init
$ git submodule update

and enable plugin in your ProjectConfigurations class.


After installation, you need to create directory web/less. Any LESS file placed in this directory, including subdirectories, will automatically be parsed through LESS and saved as a corresponding CSS file in web/css. Example:

web/less/clients/screen.less => web/css/clients/screen.css

If you prefix a file with an underscore, it is considered to be a partial, and will not be parsed unless included in another file. Example:

<file: web/less/clients/partials/_form.less>
@text_dark: #222;

<file: web/less/clients/screen.less>
@import "partials/_form";

input { color: @text_dark; }

The example above will result in a single CSS file in web/css/clients/screen.css.


sfLESSPlugin can use 2 workflows to manage your *.less files:

  1. Compile on browser side by less.js;
  2. Compile on server side by lessc.

Compile on browser side

This is default plugin behaviour. In this behaviour, all stylesheets ending with .less, added:

  • in your view.yml configs:

    stylesheets:      [header/main.less]
  • in a template view file (warning: this does not work when used inside a layout file):

    <?php use_stylesheet('header/main.less') ?>

In this case, it will be automatically changed from something like

<link href="/css/header/main.less" media="screen" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" />


<link href="/less/header/main.less" media="screen" rel="stylesheet/less" type="text/css" />

and will add link to less.js into javascripts list.

This will cause browser to parse your linked less files on the fly.

Compile on server side

In details, sfLESSPlugin server side compiler does the following:

  • Recursively looks for LESS (.less) files in web/less
  • Ignores partials (prefixed with underscore: _partial.less) - these can be included with @import in your LESS files
  • Saves the resulting CSS files to web/css using the same directory structure as web/less

You have to install lessc the less compiler: gem install less

After that, enable server behavior & disable browser behavior in app.yml:

  compile:  true
  use_js:   false

In this case, sfLESSPlugin will try to find all your less files inside web/less/*.less & compile them into web/css/*.css, so you can link your less styles as default css stylesheets:

stylesheets:      [main.css]


sfLESSPlugin server side compiler rechecks web/less/*.less at every routes init. To prevent this, add this in your apps/APP/config/app.yml:

    compile:  false

sfLESSPlugin server side compiler checks the dates of LESS & CSS files, and will compile again only if LESS file have been changed since last parsing. To prevent this check & to enforce everytime compiling, add this in your apps/APP/config/app.yml:

    check_dates:    false

Also, sfLESSPlugin server side compiler has Web Debug Panel, from which you can view all styles to compile & can open them for edit in prefered editor. For that you need to configure sf_file_link_format in settings.yml.

Last but not least, you can enable CSS compression (remove of whitespaces, tabs & newlines) in server side compiler with:

    use_compression:    true


sfLESSPlugin server side compiler provides a set of CLI tasks to help compiling your LESS styles.

To parse all LESS files and save the resulting CSS files to the destination path, run:

$ symfony less:compile

To delete all compiled CSS (only files, that been compiled from LESS files) files before parsing LESS, run:

$ symfony less:compile --clean

If you want to compress CSS files after compilation, run:

$ symfony less:compile --compress

Also, by default tasks don't use settings from app.yml such as "path". But you can specify application option to tell compiler from which app to get config:

$ symfony less:compile --application=frontend

If you want to compile specific file, not all, just use argument & file name without ".less". To compile style.less into style.css, just run:

$ symfony less:compile style


less.js is maintained by Alexis Sellier http://github.com/cloudhead