nickf on code

Javascript and code nerdity

CSSpecific Plugin for SublimeText

A small post to announce a small plugin for Sublime Text 2. It’s called CSSpecific and simply, it calculates the specificity of your CSS selectors.


When two CSS selectors target the same element, one of them has to win, right? Deciding which one is the winner is a matter of detecting which is the most specific. You can read the full technical details of this in the CSS Spec, but basically it works like this:

A specificity score is 3 values. We’ll refer to these values as “a,b,c”.

A selector’s specificity is calculated as follows:

  • count the number of ID selectors in the selector (= a)
  • count the number of class selectors, attributes selectors, and pseudo-classes in the selector (= b)
  • count the number of type selectors and pseudo-elements in the selector (= c)
  • ignore the universal selector

At the end, whichever has the highest score wins, reading left to right, a > b > c. Note that any number of lower-valued selectors never outvalues a higher valued selector. So, even a selector which had 1000 classes in it would be less specific than one which had a single id. (0, 1000, 0) < (1, 0, 0)

The plugin

So the plugin, when activated, reads all the CSS selectors from your file (even in HTML files), and collates them in a display panel alongside their score. For simplicity the score is presented as a single number: a * 100 + b * 10 + c, which means that if you DO have a selector with 1000 classes, this plugin will tell you that it has a higher score, but you know what? If you have a selector with more than 10 classes or elements, you got bigger problems, pal.


/* 001 */ div
/* 010 */ .active
/* 100 */ #nav
/* 101 */ #nav > ol
/* 012 */ div + a[href]
/* 002 */ a:active

Check it out on github, let me know what you think, send bug reports, pull requests… all that “social coding” stuff.