Narcissistic Piano Mover


    0.1.2 • Public • Published


    Fallback solution to using native CSS variables and applying & updating them dynamically.


    We had a use case where we needed to allow admin users to choose and update their site's theme colors on demand. We couldn't find an acceptable solution except for native CSS variables / custom properties, which in its current state is only supported by some of the newest browsers. So we created this plugin to offer a fallback solution to be able to use native CSS variables in any browser on the :root element. Once browser support for native CSS variables is up to par you can simply remove this plugin from your build process.

    Once you have have your task properly configured, the grunt build will create a separate stylesheet for you which contains only CSS rules which contain custom properties (with variables). You can then apply a fallback solution to browsers that don't support native CSS variables by doing the following:

    1. Detect browser support of native CSS variables, for example:
      var supportsCssVars = function() {
          var TEST_KEY = '--test-variable';
          var TEST_VALUE = 'test value';
          var _nativeSupport = === TEST_VALUE;
          if (_nativeSupport) {
          return _nativeSupport;
    2. For browsers that DO support native variables, inject your new CSS variables at any time just like you would inject any styles.
    3. For browsers that do NOT support native variables:
      1. Use an ajax call to grab the stylesheet created by this plugin
      2. Replace the variables (i.e., var(--your-variable)) with your new values. For example:
        for (var prop in styles) {
            var re = new RegExp('var\\(\\-\\-' + prop + '\\)', 'g'); // replaces `var(--variable-name)`
            styles = styles.replace(re, styles[prop]);
      3. Inject the updated styles into the DOM.

    Getting Started

    If you haven't used Grunt before, be sure to check out:

    Once grunt is installed, install this plugin with this command:

    npm install grunt-css-variables --save-dev

    Then enable it in your Gruntfile with this line:


    Task configuration

    In your project's Gruntfile, add a section named css_variables to the data object passed into grunt.initConfig().

        css_variables: {
            options: {
                // Task-specific options go here.
            your_target: {
                // Target-specific file lists and/or options go here.



    Type: String Default value: '{{filename}}--variables.css'

    Filename of the stylesheet which is to contain the custom CSS properties from your original source. Note: {{filename}} will be replaced by the source filename.


    Type: Boolean Default value: true

    Whether to modify the original source styles and include the :root variable value as a fallback to the native CSS custom property value (which can then later by modified dynamically).


    Type: Boolean Default value: true

    Whether to minify the final css file(s).

    Usage Example

    In this example, the default options are used to do something with whatever. So if the testing file has the content Testing and the 123 file had the content 1 2 3, the generated result would be Testing, 1 2 3.

        css_variables: {
            options: {},
            files: {
                'dest/default': ['src/test.css', 'src/test2.css'],


    In lieu of a formal styleguide, take care to maintain the existing coding style. Add unit tests for any new or changed functionality. Lint and test your code using Grunt.

    Release History

    • 0.0.1 First release




    npm i grunt-css-variables

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    • thezimmee