Bootstrap, Sass and Compass in PrestaShop 1.6

Starting with version 1.6, PrestaShop theme API heavily relies on the Bootstrap framework (version 3), together with Sass and Compass. Simply put, if you want to build a 1.6-compatible theme, you must use these technologies.


About Bootstrap

Bootstrap is "a sleek, intuitive, and powerful mobile first front-end framework for faster and easier web development." This tools makes it a lot simpler to build responsive web sites – meaning websites which adapt their design to the size of the screen, from mobile phone to giant TV.

A Bootstrap design is made of:

Bootstrap uses a whole new way of working on web project that will really benefit all your forthcoming project – even non-PrestaShop ones! We strongly advise to dive into it:

General technical information

Bootstrap uses some specific HTML elements which make it a requirement to use HTML5. Be careful to use the proper HTML5 doctype for all your template files!
Likewise, CSS3 is used for many CSS properties.

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="fr">

Bootstrap 3 is made to be mobile friendly from the start of your project: instead of adding optional mobile styles to your project, these styles are built into the core of the project, ensure that it displays well on all devices.
In order to ensure that your project renders well and that the touch zoom works as expected, you must add the viewport meta tag to your template's head element:

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">

Bootstrap makes it easy to build a responsive design, and you can use a little trick to make your images responsive too: use Bootstrap's img-responsive class on the image. That class will make your image use max-width: 100%; and height: auto; in order to adapt to the parent element.

<img src="" class="img-responsive" alt="Description of the image">

Fluid grid system

Bootstrap uses a 12-column grid system, which helps you build a fluid layout. You can use media queries to indicate breakpoints to the grid system, so that it can scale up or down its number of columns depending on the screen size. The default size is tailored for very small screen sizes (up to 480px width, for small phones), so no media query is required there. Bigger screen size are managed using the following queries:

/* Small devices (tablets, 768px and up) */
@media (min-width: @screen-sm) { ... }

/* Medium devices (desktops, 992px and up) */
@media (min-width: @screen-md) { ... }

/* Large devices (large desktops, 1200px and up) */
@media (min-width: @screen-lg) { ... }

Bootstrap uses class prefixes to differentiate devices by their screen sizes:

For instance:

For each device, Bootstrap also provides CSS classes, allowing you to change the column's position:

For instance:

Bootstrap & Sass: Using variables and mixins


You can configure Bootstrap by editiing the variables in the _variables.scss file. For instance:

@grid-columns: 12;
@grid-gutter-width: 30px;
@grid-float-breakpoint: 768px;


A mixin lets you make groups of CSS declarations that you want to reuse throughout your site. For instance:

@mixin border-radius($radius) {
  -webkit-border-radius: $radius;
     -moz-border-radius: $radius;
      -ms-border-radius: $radius;
          border-radius: $radius;

.box { @include border-radius(10px); }

You can use use mixins to define new styles. For instance:

.wrapper {
.content-main {
.content-secondary {

...for the following HTML code:

<div class="wrapper">
  <div class="content-main">...</div>
  <div class="content-secondary">...</div>

Bootstrap classes

Bootstrap has many default CSS classes, and PrestaShop defines several more, to help you build a consistent design.

Helper classes

These classes are to be used when design an element that uses one of PrestaShop's Helper classes.

Responsive classes

These classes are useful to show/hide an element depending on the device.

Navigation, tabs and menus

The main classes for these contexts are:

Here is an example of a navigation bar with a menu on the right:

<div class="navbar navbar-fixed-top">
  <div class="navbar-inner">
    <div class="container">
      <a class="btn btn-navbar" data-toggle="collapse" data-target=".nav-collapse">
        <span class="icon-th-list"></span></a>
      <a href="#" class="brand">SiteTitle</a>
      <div class="nav-collapse collapse">
        <ul class="nav pull-right">
          <li class="active"><a href="#">Home</a></li>
          <li><a href="#">About Us</a></li>
          <li><a href="#">Contact Us</a></li>

Here is an example of menu tab:

<ul class="nav nav-tabs">
  <li class="active"><a href="#">Home</a></li>
  <li><a href="#">Profile</a></li>
  <li class="dropdown">
    <a href="#" data-toggle="dropdown" class="dropdown-toggle">Messages <b class="caret"></b></a>
    <ul class="dropdown-menu">
      <li><a href="#">Inbox</a></li>
      <li><a href="#">Drafts</a></li>
      <li class="divider"></li>
      <li><a class="disabled" href="#">Trash</a></li>


Main classes for tables:

Sample usage::

<table class="table table-condensed table-hover">
    <th>First Name</th>
    <th>Last Name</th>
  <tr class="warning">
    <td>[email protected]</td>
    <td>[email protected]</td>
    <td>[email protected]</td>


Main classes for this context:

Sample usage:

<div class="panel panel-default">
  <div class="panel-heading">
    <h1 class="panel-title">Panel Title</h1>
  <div class="panel-body">
      This is the content of the panel.
  <div class="panel-footer clearfix">
    <div class="pull-right">
      <a href="#" class="btn btn-default">Go Back</a>


Sample usage:

<div class="container">
  <div class="row">
    <div class="col-xs-6">
      <div class="thumbnail">
        <img src="avatar.jpg" alt="Sample Image">
        <div class="caption">
    <div class="col-xs-6">
      <div class="thumbnail">
        <img src="avatar.jpg" alt="Sample Image">
          <div class="caption">


Main classes:

Breadcrumb example:

<ul class="breadcrumb">
  <li><a href="#">Home</a></li>
  <li><a href="#">Products</a></li>
  <li class="active">Accessories</li>

Header and paragraph example:

<div class="list-group">
  <a href="#" class="list-group-item">
    <h4 class="list-group-item-heading">What is HTML?</h4>
    <p class="list-group-item-text">HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language. 
      HTML is the main markup     language for describing the structure of Web pages.</p>
  <a href="#" class="list-group-item active">
    <h4 class="list-group-item-heading">What is Twitter Bootstrap?</h4>
    <p class="list-group-item-text">Twitter Bootstrap is a powerful front-end framework for faster 
    and easier web development. It is a collection of HTML and CSS based design template.</p>
  <a href="#" class="list-group-item">
    <h4 class="list-group-item-heading">What is CSS?</h4>
    <p class="list-group-item-text">CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheet. CSS allows you to specify 
    various style properties for a given HTML element such as colors, backgrounds, fonts etc.</p>


Main classes:

A container that has the form-group class always needs a label. To add a label and display it, you must use the sr-only class. For instance:

<div class="form-group">
  <label class="sr-only" for="exampleInput">Email address, label not visible</label>
  <input type="email" class="form-control" id="exampleInput" placeholder="Enter email">

Classes that change the appearance of zones depending on content validation:

Classes that enable the display of an icon in the textarea:

For instance:

<div class="form-group has-warning">
  <label class="control-label" for="input1">Label with warning</label>
  <input type="text" class="form-control" id="input1">
  <span class="glyphicon glyphicon-warning-sign form-control-feedback"></span>

Buttons and links

Main classes:

<span class="button ajax_add_to_cart_button btn btn-default disabled">
  <span>{l s='Add to cart'}</span>
<a itemprop="url" class="button lnk_view btn btn-default" 
    href="{$|escape:'html':'UTF-8'}" title="{l s='View'}">
  <span>{l s='More'}</span>
<button type="submit" name="submitMessage" id="submitMessage" 
    class="button btn btn-default button-medium">
  <span>{l s='Send'}<i class="icon-chevron-right right"></i></span>


About Sass

Sass is the acronym for "Syntactically Awesome Style Sheets". It is a language that you can use to build your CSS files.
While remaining CSS3-compatible, it brings a lot of features that make it easier to create consistent CSS rules with less work, most notably less copy-pasting: nesting, variables, classes, control directives (if, for, each, while), etc.
To achieve this, Sass requires the use of a preprocessors: it turns your Sass files into CSS files that all browsers can read.

Sass has two syntaxes it can use:

You can see the difference between both syntaxes here:

h1 {color: #000; background: #fff}
  color: #000
  background: #fff


Sass (and Compass in the first place, see below) require the installation of the Ruby language on your machine.

Here are some installers:

Once Ruby is installed on your machine, install Compass – which will in turn install Sass. Go to your Ruby command line and type "gem install compass".

Starting a project project

You are now ready to create your first project:

  1. Go to the /themes folder of your local installation of PrestaShop.
  2. Open a Ruby command line window for this folder, and type "compass create".
    Compass will automatically detect or create the config.rb configuration file that is necessary for the compilation of your project.

To make sure that .scss files are automatically compiled, you can type this Ruby command: "compass watch".

Not a command line fan?

If you would rather not spend your time in the command line, Scout is the cross-platform application for you: it is a self-contained Ruby environment that gives you easy access to Compass and Sass.

Download it here:

After you have installed it, you must:

  1. Create your project at the root of your theme's folder.
  2. Indicate the folder of your .scss files (Input folder).
  3. Indicate the folder for your CSS files (Output folder).

Sass syntax


There are two ways to add a comment to a Sass file.

The first one enables you to add comments without having them used in the final CSS file:

// This comment is not used in the CSS file.
a { color: green; }

The second one uses the regular CSS syntax, and enables you to add comments that WILL be used in the final CSS file:

/* This comment is used in the CSS file. */
a { color: green; }


Sass enables you to nest blocks in order to define rules that apply only within that selector:

nav {
  ul {
    margin: 0;
    padding: 0;
    list-style: none;
  li { display: inline-block; }
  a {
    display: block;
    padding: 6px 12px;
    text-decoration: none;


nav ul {margin: 0; padding: 0; list-style: none;}
nav li {display: inline-block;}
nav a {display: block;  padding: 6px 12px; text-decoration: none;}

Parent selector

Sass enables you to reference the parent selector in a nested block, using &:

 a {
   font-weight: bold ;
     color: red ;
   li & {
     font-weight: normal; 


a {font-weight: bold ;}
a:hover {color: red ;}
li a {font-weight: normal;}

Namespace properties

CSS can use namespace-like properties, such as font-family, font-size, etc.

You can use nesting to indicate properties within a given "namespace":

p {
  font: {
    family: arial;
    size: 1.1em;
    weight: bold;


p {
  font-family: arial;
  font-size: 1.1em;
  font-weight: bold; 

CSS output formats

Sass allows 4 different kind of generated CSS.

Nested format:

#main {
  color: #fff;
  background-color: #000; }
  #main p {
    width: 10em; }

Expanded format:

#main {
  color: #fff;
  background-color: #000;
#main p {
  width: 10em;

Compact format:

#main { color: #fff; background-color: #000; }
#main p { width: 10em; }

Compressed format:

#main{color:#fff;background-color:#000}#main p{width:10em}


Sass can make use of a scripting language called SassScript. It makes it possible to use variables, calculation and additional functions. It can be used for any property value.


Variables must be defined with the $ prefix:

$blue: #3bbfce;
$margin: 16px;
.content-navigation {
  border-color: $blue;
  color: darken($blue, 9%);
.border {
  padding: $margin/2;
  margin: $margin/2;
  border-color: $blue;

You can change the value of a variable, or have it changed only if the variable does not exist yet or is empty by using !default.

For instance:

$content: "Init Value";
$content: "Init if no value" !default;
$new_content: null;
$new_content: "Init new if no value" !default;
#main {
  content: $content;
  new-content: $new_content;


#main {content: "Init Value";  new-content: "Init new if no value";}

SassScript supports 6 types of variables:

When using a string value, you can use #{} to unquote quoted strings, making it easier to use in some cases, for instance as a mixin selector:

@mixin warn-message($selector) {
  body.warn #{$selector}:before {
    content: "This is a warning !";
@include warn-message(".header");


body.warn .header:before {content: "This is a warning !";}

You can also use the quote() and unquote() functions:

$family: unquote("Droid+Sans");
@import url("{$family}");


@import url("");


Your SCSS files can directly use calculations and comparators:

Sass can use the / operator to separate two numerical values, but Sass can use it to divide numbers. For instance:

p {
  font: 10px/8px;             // Plain CSS, no division
  $width: 1000px;
  width: $width/2;            // Uses a variable, does division
  width: round(1.5)/2;        // Uses a function, does division
  height: (500px/2);          // Uses parentheses, does division
  margin-left: 5px + 8px/2px; // Uses +, does division
} compiled into:

p {
  font: 10px/8px;
  width: 500px;
  height: 250px;
  margin-left: 9px; }

As usual, use parenthesis to handle priorities:

p {
  cursor: e + -resize;
  font-family: sans- + "serif";
   margin: 3px + 4px auto;
   width: (1em + 2em) * 3;


p {cursor: e-resize;  font-family: sans-serif;  margin: 7px auto;  width: 9em;}

You can also use several numerical functions:


Sass uses lists for values such as margin: 10px 15px 0 0 or font-face: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif.

Lists are a series of values, separated with space or commas.

A list can contain one or more lists. For instance, "1px, 2px, 5px 6px" is made of three elements:

The third element is itself a list of elements.

You have access to several list functions: