Introduction to LESS - Part 3

Introduction to LESS - Part 3

Putting it all together & Live refresh for a better DX


3 min read

Using LESS #4: "Live Refresh"

This is our last topic we're going to cover in this tutorial and is a little known function of LESS. You can make the browser refresh automatically (locally) without having to continually hit the refresh button while styling!

All you need to do is add:

less.env = 'development';;

To your HTML markup just before the closing html tag, refresh the page and that's it! Now your page will refresh anytime you make a change live to style.less! Pretty cool huh? Make sure you TAKE THIS OFF before you deploy your solution though! Great for development, not for live usage.

Final Thoughts:

I hope you've enjoyed this introduction to the LESS.js Libary and what it can do to extend the functionality of your CSS markup. I hope to see many sites in the future using this moving forward to bring complex CSS and creative design styles to life!

This is what your final HTML and CSS markup should look like.


<meta charset="UTF-8"> 
<title>LESS.js Tutorial</title>

<!-- LESS Stylesheet -->
<link rel="stylesheet/less" type="text/css" href="css/style.less">

<!-- LESS Javascript -->
<script src=""></script>

<div id="header">
<h2>A Headline</h2> 

<p>This is some text with an <a href="#">anchor</a> present.</p>

</div> <!-- /header --> 

<div id="footer">
<a href="#">Link Name</a>
<!-- /footer -->

<!-- Dev Purposes Only --> 
less.env = 'development';;


@color: #FFFFFF; 
@footcolour: #000000;

body { background-color: @footcolour; }

#header { background-color: #000000; }

h2 { color: @color; }

#header { 
    h2 { 
        font-size: 26px; 
        font-weight: bold; 
    } //Close h2 
    p { 
        font-size: 12px; 
        color: @color; 

        a { 
            text-decoration: none; 
        &:hover { 
            border-width: 1px 
            } //Close :hover 

        } //Close a

    } //Close p 

} //Close #header

// Create Mixin .rounded-corners and assign a @radius variable to pass through

.rounded-corners (@radius: 5px) { 
    border-radius: @radius; 
    -webkit-border-radius: @radius; 
    -moz-border-radius: @radius; 

#header { .rounded-corners; } 
#footer { 
    background-colour: @footcolour; 

Enjoy LESS/CSS and happy coding!

P.S. The Mobile "Hack"

What, you thought I forgot?! Ha!

So, you want to use LESS but you're thinking of doing going mobile friendly; or you have a website already and want to make it compatible for mobile browsing?

Well, I'd start by telling you that using LESS would probably not be your best idea since you'll require JavaScript to be enabled by default on a mobile browser which means your limiting yourself to smartphone users only (not that 220 million users in North America alone is small, but you get the point) if you're trying to maximize accessibility.

If you have a website that has a re-direct via some type of CSS/Javascript media type detection or redirect where it sends you to a whole separate sub-domain/site folder/something that doesn't require access to the original style-sheet of the main (or root) website then you could use LESS for your main site and just use a normal style-sheet for your mobile portal.

This second method is our "hack" which, to be honest, isn't a hack at all really, just good ol' fashion copying the output of the style.less (from the browser, I used Firebug extension in Mozilla Firefox personally) and pasting into a fresh .css style-sheet on your mobile site. Then you can edit it down on your own to make it appropriate to display into mobile browsers as just pasting the output will give you exactly the same style-sheet as your main website, not a mobile portal.


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