Minimalist JavaScript to CSS compiler

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901.0.27 years ago7 years agoMinified + gzip package size for australis in KB


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What is this?

australis is a small and simple tool to generate CSS from plain JavaScript. No superpowers, it does only one thing, and does it well.
In this simplicity spirit, the output is not even validated. But this can easily be achieved by piping its results to a tool like csslintcsslint.

Why does it exist?

  • Writing CSS by hand is quite tedious a task (no variables, no functions,
no selector nesting, etc) but they come with the burden of learning yet another language
  • Chances are that anybody working on web frontend development can get by in JavaScript.
  • The current CSS generators based on JavaScript do not fit IMHO the sweet spot between
simplicity and power. For instance, absurdjsabsurdjs suffers from feature creep by doing way too many things than just CSS generation, resulting in an overcomplex API, and restylerestyle misses one of the very features that justify using a CSS generator - the ability to nest selectors, and although quite minimalist, it could have an easier and more elegant API


This is an example of a style sheet defined in australis:
// Value definition
const blue = '#00F'

export default {
    '.class1': {
        minWidth: '40px',

        zIndex: 10,

        // Nested selector
        '.class2': {
            minHeight: '300px',
            color: blue,

        // Nested media query
        '@media screen': {
            paddingTop: '10px',

            // Deeper nesting of media query
            '@media (max-width: 1000px)': {
                paddingLeft: '20px',

    '.class3': {
        backgroundColor: blue,

And the generated style sheet will look like this:
@media screen {
  .class1 {
    padding-top: 10px;

@media screen and (max-width: 1000px) {
  .class1 {
    padding-left: 20px;

.class1 {
  min-width: 40px;
  z-index: 10;

.class1 .class2 {
  color: #00F;
  min-height: 300px;

.class3 {
  background-color: #00F;

How to get it?

This package is on npm so just:
npm install australis --save-dev

How to use it?

As seen in the example, the style has to be defined in a plain JavaScript object, and then it has to be export default'ed (or exports.default = ... if using CommonJS)
These are the rules to be learnt:
  • If an object is defined within an object, it is understood as nesting and results in
merging the selectors or the at-rules if possible (only at-rules @media, @document or @supports are merged). The merging always has an "and" meaning. Therefore if .class2 is nested within .class1, the selector for the declaration block defined within .class2 will be .class1 .class2. Same goes for at-rules although these will be bubbled up and show up before the normal selectors.
  • Properties containing a dash can be defined in camelCase and they will be automatically
transformed to dashed form. For instance minWidth will result in min-width
  • If a property contains a comment in the form /* comment */, the comment itself will be not be in the
Then, to generate the style sheet, just call australis path/to/style.css.js, optionally passing an output path as well.
While the previously explained is the core of australis and it is enough to get the ball rolling, there are a few tools defined in the tools module that will help you with typical CSS tasks. Those are described in the API section
For any problem or suggestions, please do not hesitate to open an issue on github.



This function is the core of the package. It receives a australis style object and returns the generated CSS string. The CLI API is just a wrapper around this.
The result will be sorted in the following order:
  • @charset at-rules
  • @include at-rules
  • Rest of at-rules sorted alphabetically
  • Rest sorted alphabetically

If this package is to be used on the browser, this method must be called and its return value appended to a style tag (a bundling engine like browserify or webpack is needed to bring this to the browser)


Function to perform mixins. Receives any number of objects, and returns a shallow merge of all of them. If falsy values are passed, they will be ignored, so that it is easy to conditionally include mixins.
Usage example:
import { mix } from 'australis/tools'

// This is the mixin
const square = {
    width: '50px',
    height: '50px',

const condition = false

export default {
    '.class1': mix(
            backgroundColor: 'red',

    '.class2': mix(
        square & condition,  
            position: 'float',
            padding: '1px 1px 3px 10px',

.class1 {
  background-color: red;
  height: 50px;
  width: 50px;

.class2 {
  padding: 1px 1px 3px 10px;
  position: float;

tools.changeLight(col, factor)

Given col as a hex string (e.g. #aabbcc or #abc), and factor as number, each channel of the color is multiplied by the factor, and the result is returned as a hex string.
If any channel goes out of the 0-ff range, it will be capped to 0 or ff.
import { changeLight } from '../tools'

const color = '#aabbcc'

export default {
    '.bright': {
        backgroundColor: changeLight(color, 1.5)

    '.dark': {
        backgroundColor: changeLight(color, 0.5)

.bright {
  background-color: #ffffff;

.dark {
  background-color: #555e66;

tools.prefix(prop, value, prefixes = 'webkit', 'moz', 'ms', 'o')

Given a property prop, a value value and optionally an array of prefixes, a new object will be returned, having the original property and all its prefixed variants as keys, and value for each value (it can be used with at-rules as well, like key-frames)
import { prefix } from 'australis/tools'

export default {
    '.animated': prefix('animation', 'slide')

.animated {
  -moz-animation: slide;
  -ms-animation: slide;
  -o-animation: slide;
  -webkit-animation: slide;
  animation: slide;

tools.multivalue(prop, values)

Given a property and an array of values, it returns an object that will be rendered as if the property was defined for each value.
import { multivalue } from 'australis/tools'

export default {
    '.my-flex-box': multivalue('display', ['-ms-flexbox', '-webkit-flex', 'flex']),

.my-flex-box {
  display: -ms-flexbox;
  display: -webkit-flex;
  display: flex;

Note: this takes profit of the /* comment */ stripping.