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Daisy Shaw's photo

How did you get the idea to develop Sass?

Chris Eppstein's photo

A front-end developer told Hampton "Wouldn't it be neat if CSS was like Haml?" and they were wrong but Hampton did it anyway.

A couple years later, I found mixins were a great way to create very bloated CSS and so I worked with Natalie to make them more powerful and built a framework based on it.

Over time, we discovered the actual good use cases for the tool we had made :)

Hampton Catlin's photo

I was working with two really great CSS developers back in 2006-ish when I worked at a company called Unspace in Toronto, Canada (no, I'm not Canadian). They were both brilliant and the tooling they had was shit. They would hand code ONE GIANT CSS file for our projects, and they would scope their selectors by hand-typing over, and over again the root selector... it would look like this:

.parent .child a { ...... }
.parent .child a:hover { ...... }
.parent .child .under { ...... }

They'd have hundreds of these. And, my god... if we had to change a color, it was find-and-replace-hell.

Anyhow, I went to Rails Conf 2007. At the time Natalie was just graduating high-school and living in Seattle and she had basically taken over development of Haml at this time. So, we asked her mom if we could fly her to Portland to hang out with the Unspace team and attend her first conference. And, amazingly, after some awkward parent-adult phone calls, she was allowed to come.

While there, I had been drawing up some plans for what Sass could be ('Sasstastic' was the original name). That was the original syntax that was inspired primarily by Haml. I remember between some talks, I found a side conference room, and I pitched Natalie and Jeff Hardy (now at Basecamp) about my ideas.

I think at first Natalie was pretty skeptical, but by the time she was flying home, she had taken my original testing commit and was starting to build out the Ruby Sass engine.

Originally, that interpreter was a sub-folder in the Haml project! In fact, I think it lived as part of Haml for a long time.

A couple weeks later, we released a version of Haml (would have to google to know which one) that included the first version of Sass. Whitespace sensitive. Nestied. Simple variables. I think mixins were there too.

It took us until after Less was released to actually break Sass out into it's own project.