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Version: 1.0.1

Tuning Vendor Prefixes from Compass Stylesheets

Underneath the covers of Compass's vendor prefixing and legacy browser support is the very same data that drives the website caniuse.com.

This data allows Compass to correlate browser support with browser usage statistics and browser versions for you. By telling Compass the user thresholds where you're comfortable letting a user's experience degrade gracefully or break Compass will automatically add or remove vendor prefixes for particular features according to the browser statistics corresponding to them.

Allowing Graceful Degradation in Legacy Browsers

CSS features that can degrade gracefully (E.g. border-radius) are set by default to adhere to the $graceful-usage-threshold variable. This variable defaults to 0.1 which means that when 0.1% of users (1 in 1,000) would be affected by removing the prefix for that feature, it will be removed.

Allowing Broken Design in Legacy Browsers

CSS features that do not degrade gracefully (E.g. flexbox) are set by default to adhere to the $critical-usage-threshold variable. This variable defaults to 0.01 which means that when 0.01% of users (1 in 10,000) would be affected by removing the prefix for that feature, it will be removed.

Ensuring a Browser Version Is Supported

Sometimes you may wish to fully support a browser version no matter how few people are using it. Maybe the CEO uses it and it has to look perfect. In this case you can set the minimum browser version for each known browser with the $browser-minimum-versions map. For instance, if you need to support IE 6, you would set $browser-minimum-versions to (ie: '6'). Please note that since not all browser versions that Compass tracks are numbers, every version specified must be a string.

Excluding a Browser no Matter How Many Users it Has

The $supported-browsers variable defines which browsers your site supports. By default, all browsers are supported. You can use this setting to whitelist only certain browsers, or you can blacklist specific browsers by rejecting them from the full list. Example: $supported-browsers: reject(browsers(), opera-mini, android)

Discovering Browsers and Versions

The list of browsers and versions that are known to compass is guided by the underlying data. You can inspect these values in the console:

$ compass interactive
>> browsers()
("android", "android-chrome", "android-firefox", "blackberry", "chrome", "firefox", "ie", "ie-mobile", "ios-safari", "opera", "opera-mini", "opera-mobile", "safari")
>> browser-versions(ie)
("5.5", "6", "7", "8", "9", "10", "11")

Tweaking Support on a Per-Feature Basis

Each CSS3 module provides feature-specific threshold variables. These default to either $graceful-usage-threshold or $critical-usage-threshold, which should be good enough, but if it's not, you can adjust the support for just the features that matter to you. For example, the border radius module has a configuration variable $border-radius-threshold which defaults to $graceful-usage-threshold. But if rounded corners are essential to your design, you may want to set it to something lower.

Prefix Context

There are two variables relating to prefix context.

$prefix-context will be set to a prefix whenever a prefix is in scope.

$current-prefix is set the prefix that is currently being emitted. This is different from $prefix-context in that sometimes it is null when rendering official syntax within the scope of some other prefix.

All Compass mixins are aware of the prefix context and you can use them freely and get the output you expect. You can also check the context yourself if you feel it is necessary. For example, the keyframes mixin accepts a content block which is repeated several times:

@import "compass/css3";
@include keyframes(my-animation) {
  0% {
    @if $prefix-context == -moz {
      // Do something mozilla specific in your animation.
    }
    @include border-radius(5px); // only outputs the -moz prefix an
  }
}

However, Compass comes with a handy mixin for targeting content to a specific prefix context: with-browser-prefix. This mixin can be used to establish a context or prevent content from being placed into a context where it doesn't belong. For example, we could have written the example above as:

@import "compass/css3";
@include keyframes(my-animation) {
  0% {
    @include with-prefix(-moz) {
      // Do something mozilla specific in your animation.
    }
    @include border-radius(5px); // only outputs the -moz prefix an
  }
}

Similarly, you can constrain compass output to a particular prefix. The example below would only generate the mozilla and official keyframes directives and prefixed properties.

@import "compass/css3";
@include with-prefix(-moz) {
  @include keyframes(my-animation) {
    0% {
      @include border-radius(5px); // only outputs the -moz prefix an
    }
  }
}

Targeting Legacy Browsers

When a generic mixin has support for a legacy browser, the legacy specific styles should be wrapped in a for-legacy-browser mixin. In this way, the legacy content will only appear when not in an incompatible context and will be automaticaly removed when the usage of that browser range falls below acceptable thresholds.

Browser Context

If you are in a selector or scope that you know is specific to a particular browser version, you can let compass know this with the with-browser-ranges mixins.

Debugging Browser Support

If you find yourself in a situation where you see a browser prefix you didn't expect or don't see one that you did, it may be helpful to turn on browser support debugging by setting $debug-browser-support to true.

This will cause CSS comments to be generated into your output that explains why support for certain browsers was included or excluded.

You can also use the with-browser-support-debugging mixin that will enable browser support debugging for all compass mixins uses within its content block.

The output will look like this:

/* Capability css-animation is prefixed with -moz because 1.03559% of users need it which is more than the threshold of 0.1%. */
/* Creating new -moz context. */
@-moz-keyframes foo {
  0% {
    /* Content for ie 8 omitted.
       Not allowed in the current scope: ie 8 is incompatible with -moz. */
    opacity: 0; }

  100% {
    /* Content for ie 8 omitted.
       Not allowed in the current scope: ie 8 is incompatible with -moz. */
    opacity: 1; } }
/* Capability css-animation is not prefixed with -ms because 0% of users are affected which is less than the threshold of 0.1. */
/* Capability css-animation is not prefixed with -o because 0.04931% of users are affected which is less than the threshold of 0.1. */
/* Capability css-animation is prefixed with -webkit because 51.42143% of users need it which is more than the threshold of 0.1%. */
/* Creating new -webkit context. */
@-webkit-keyframes foo {
  0% {
    /* Content for ie 8 omitted.
       Not allowed in the current scope: ie 8 is incompatible with -webkit. */
    opacity: 0; }

  100% {
    /* Content for ie 8 omitted.
       Not allowed in the current scope: ie 8 is incompatible with -webkit. */
    opacity: 1; } }
@keyframes foo {
  0% {
    /* Content for ie 8 omitted.
       Not allowed in the current scope: The current scope only works with ie 10 - 11. */
    opacity: 0; }

  100% {
    /* Content for ie 8 omitted.
       Not allowed in the current scope: The current scope only works with ie 10 - 11. */
    opacity: 1; } }

More Information

There are many useful mixins and functions in the code reference for browser support in compass.