Tag Archives: Sass

Setting up Mixture to work with WordPress and Compass

Assuming you have Mixture and XAMPP (or similar local server) installed and your WordPress site is already working locally.

  • Make sure there’s no existing compass folder or config.rb file in your theme folder.
  • Start XAMPP (or other local server).
  • Start Mixture.
  • Click Open in Mixture and select your theme folder inside wp-content/themes
  • Select your theme folder for the Preprocessor location.
  • Enter your localhost URL for the Partner server address, in my case it’s http://localhost

Mixture will now report errors. Here’s how to fix them.

Assuming you have the following file structure in your theme folder:

WordPress theme file structure example

  • style.css in the root of the theme that only contains theme information header, an @import statement for your “global” css file (that contains all your styles) and maybe also an @import statement for your parent theme’s stylesheet if you are working on a child theme. Here’s an example style.css for a child theme:
Theme Name:     Twenty Twelve Child
Description:    Child theme for the Twenty Twelve theme 
Author:         Ben Pearson
Author URI:     http://benpearson.com.au
Template:       twentytwelve
Version:        1.0

@import url("../twentytwelve/style.css");

@import url("css/global.css");
  • All your SCSS files are kept in the an scss folder. I have a global.scss file in this folder that imports all the partials like _navigation.scss. This global.scss will be compiled to css/global.css and then imported by style.css
  • All your CSS will the exception of style.css is kept/compiled in a css folder.
  • All your images are kept in an images folder
  • All your javascript is kept in an js folder

Open the mixture.json file that has been newly created in your theme’s root folder and make the following change:

"useCompass": true,

This will create a compass folder in your theme folder with a config.rb file inside it.

Now change the preprocessorLocations in mixture.json to the root like so:

"preprocessorLocations": "/",

Open compass/config.rb and change the CSS, SCSS, images and javascript paths to the following:

css_dir = "css"
sass_dir = "scss"
images_dir = "images"
javascripts_dir = "js"

Click View locally in Mixture to view your site through Mixture and take advantage of it’s SASS/Compass compiler and live reload functionality.


Using Mixture with a virtual host (optional)

The following instructions work on Windows 7. They may also work on other operating systems.

Assuming you have already setup a virtual host.

Make the following changes to mixture.json, substituting bp.benpearson for the name of your virtual host.

"serverHostname": "bp.benpearson",
"serverPort": 80,
"simpleModePartnerServer": "http://bp.benpearson/",

When you click View locally in Mixture it will open the site at a URL like:


The :63229 is there because that’s the port that Mixture is using. To get rid of this you need to make sure port 80 is free for Mixture to use. In my case port 80 is being used by XAMPP.



Using rem units

What are they?

rem is a CSS3 unit which can be used instead of the em and px units. rem stands for “root em”.

Why use the rem unit?

Like the em unit, the rem unit is useful in responsive design. But whereas the em unit is relative to the font-size of it’s parent, the rem unit is relative to the root or html element.

That means that we can define a single font size on the html element and define all rem units to be a fraction/multiple of that and not have to worry about units compounding as they do with the em unit.

Here is a basic example of rem usage.

html { font-size: 62.5%; } 
body { font-size: 1.4rem; } /* = 14px */
h1   { font-size: 2.4rem; } /* = 24px */

A base font-size of 62.5% is used so we have the convenience of sizing the rem units in a way that is similar to using px.

font-size: 100% is equal to font-size: 16px in most browsers. 62.5% of 16px is 10px. So 1rem would equal 10px and 2rem would equal 20px etc.

Browser support

The rem unit is not supported by IE8 and below. To overcome this, a pixel unit fall-back needs to be declared. SCSS mixins can make this a little easier.

html {
    font-size: 62.5%; /* = 10px; */

/* Declare the mixin with a default value of 16 for it's $pixels argument */
@mixin font-size( $pixels: 16 ) { 

    /* Convert the $pixels value to px units using the + operator */  
    font-size: $pixels + px; 

    /* Convert the $pixels value to rem units.  */
    font-size: (pixels / 10) + rem; 


The following is an example of how to use the mixin if you want a want a font-size of 20px and 2rem.

p {
    @include font-size(20);