My favored SCSS setup with Bootstrap 4

TL;DR — what you’ll learn here

  • How I integrate Bootstrap 4 and structure my SCSS in small to medium projects.

You can find this setup as an example on github:

Edit August 2018: You can find this setup within a custom Gatsby starter in this repository of mine.

Please note that I used this repo also as an example for my last article about Setting up Brunch with Bootstrap 4, so that’s the only reason it’s based on Brunch.

First things first

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My requirements and how I use Bootstrap

  • use only selected components of Bootstrap instead of having the whole Bootstrap CSS in production
  • customize Bootstrap easily without touching the Bootstrap core files or overwriting styles over and over again
  • getting a neat and clean CSS in the end :)

My folder and file structure

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Directory “scss”

Directory in “scss”: Bootstrap

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Bootstrap uses !default on each variable, which makes customizing very easy. It’s the opposite of the notorious !important: While !important is like “Oh, there’s a rule for this? I don’t care, use this!”, a variable with !default will only get defined by SASS if it isn’t already set.

Take the variable $enable-rounded: true !default; as example: It’s set in Bootstrap and rounds all the corners. And if I don’t want rounded corners? Simple: I write $enable-rounded: false; in the pre_default file. So when SASS is compiling the Bootstrap variables, $enable-rounded is already set and won’t be touched. I didn’t have to overwrite anything! Neat, huh?

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Directory in SCSS: bootstrap_ext

Suppose I want to change the border width for all buttons and add a class for dark buttons: I create a file _button.scss — that’s the name of the respective Bootstrap component — in the “bootstrap_ext” directory and adapt the style like this:

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With this structure it’s easy to keep a clear overview where a style comes from and what Bootstrap component it extends or is based on.

From here it’s up to you how to create your structure. In a pet project I’m working on, I’m using this structure:

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Directory “vendor”

Directory “components”

Directory “views”


Things I learned

  • I like my styles neat and clean
  • I’m getting a hang on component based SCSS (and I just learned that’s a legit term)

Written by

Frontend Developer with a special love for JavaScript and Unit Testing. Passionated about communities.

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