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0.2.0 • Public • Published


The nicest, most organized TS/JS single source of truth for your style variables (and more!)

Table of Contents

What Does It Do?

Inventar takes in a configuration object with all of your style variables - colors, sizes, URIs and anything else you might find as a CSS value, or a part of it.

This configuration can define which values are derived from other values, and can include transformers - simple plugins - to alter or generate variables as needed. This can be written with pure functions, to allow a well-contained, easily readable and powerful way to define your style variables.

It returns the result as a flat JS object, and a function to inject these same values as CSS variables to a DOM element.

import { makeInventar } from 'inventar'
  mainColor: '#007788',
  mainText: (config) => config.mainColor,
  logoUri: { value: '/assets/logo.png', transformers: [withHighRes()] }, 
const { jsInventar, cssInventar, inject } = makeInventar(MY_INVENTAR_CONFIG)
    mainColor: '#007788',
    mainText: '#007788',
    logoUri: '/assets/logo.png',
    logoUriX2: '/assets/logo@2x.png'
    '--main-color': '#007788',
    '--main-text': '#007788',
    '--logo-uri': '/assets/logo.png',
    '--logo-uri-x2': '/assets/logo@2x.png'
const appWrapper = document.getElementsByClassName('appWrapper')[0]
inject(appWrapper) // <div class="appWrapper" style="--main-color: '#007788', ..." />


  • Single source of truth for all of your styles, accessible both in JS and with any styling language or methodology you work with.
  • Separation of concerns makes it easier to write related plugins, linters, and any related logic, and reuse others' - no matter what's their stack.
  • Enforce design guidelines by defining variables by other variables, and by pairing with designers to define them in a single file.


  1. Install Inventar (npm install inventar).

  2. Run makeInventar with your configuration:

    import { makeInventar } from 'inventar'
    const MY_INVENTAR_CONFIG = {
      mainColor: '#007788',
      mainText: (config) => config.mainColor,
    const { jsInventar, cssInventar, inject } = makeInventar(MY_INVENTAR_CONFIG)
  3. To access your variables in JavaScript or TypeScript:

    jsInventar.mainText // #007788
  4. To add them as CSS variable, inject them to a wrapping object:

    const appWrapper = document.getElementsByClassName('appWrapper')[0]

Configurations (And How To Write Them)

The first, and only mandatory, argument that you pass to makeInventar is your configuration. A configuration is an object that defines all of your style variables - colors, sizes, URIs, background settings, numbers and anything else you'd find as, or as a part of, CSS values.

A value can be a number, a string, a derivative function (see derivatives) or an object containing the value and related options:

const { jsInventar, inject } = makeInventar({
  gray: '#888',
  headerHeight: 180,
  headerBackground: config => config.gray,
  logoUri: { value: '/assets/logo.png', transformers: [withHighRes()] },

The object will have the following structure, and it must either:

  • Include a value ({ value: '' }) (and optionally any number of transformers).
  • Include at least one transformer, with the first one not requiring an initial value ({ transformers: [transformerWithNoValueInput, ...] }).
Field Type Default Value Description
value number | string | inventarDerivative - The value of the field (same one you'd put outside of the object).
transformers Array(inventarTransformer | inventarTransformerObject) [] An array of transformers (see transformers) to alter the value.


A derivative is a function of the type (config: InventarConfig) => (number | string). The purpose is to derive (eh?) a value from other values,. It can be used to generate a value with any other logic as well.

Some use cases include:

import tinycolor from 'tinycolor2'
  // Separation between "primitive" values and their uses.
  mainErrorColor: '#ff2200',
  errorMessage: config => config.mainErrorColor,
  // Handling hover/focus/active events.
  linkColor: '#4455ff',
  linkHoverColor: config => tinyColor(config.linkColor).brighten(30).toString(),
    // Picking a color according to a theme.
  themeName: () => {
    const currentHour = Date().getHours()
    return (currentHour <= 5 || currentHour >= 19) ? 'dark' : 'light'
  backgroundColor: (config) => config.themeName === 'dark' ? '#001122' : '#ffeedd',

Derivatives can use multiple values. They can also call other derivatives, and order them in any way you'd like - Inventar takes care to resolve everything in the right order.

Circular values cannot be handled. Inventar can detect them, and it'll throw an error if it does.

  // This is okay!
  largeMargin: config => config.mediumMargin * 2,
  mediumMargin: config => config.smallMargin * 2,
  smallMargin: 2,
  // This is a circular dependency, and it'll get you an error.
  chicken: config => config.egg,
  egg: config.chicken,

What happens behind the scenes?

(You can also check the code that does this)

Your configuration is passed to Inventar's dependency resolver. After handling the transformers, when the configuration contains only numbers, strings and derivatives as values, it creates a proxy around it.

It then creates a queue of name-value pairs, and starts a loop.

In each iteration, the first value in the queue is popped and the resolver tries to resolve it. If the object is not a derivative, then it is already resolved, and is removed from the queue. If the value is a derivative, the resolver executes it with the proxied configuration as a parameter.

Using a proxy allows us to run logic when a value is called. If the function calls a value and it's a derivative, then, instead of being resolved, the tested name-value pair is returned to the end of the queue. This assumes that by the next time we'll try to run the derivative value, whatever other values it'll call will be resolved already.

When a value is successfully resolved, the proxied configuration will be mutated with the result, making it accessible to future derivatives.

This loop continues until the queue is empty (in which case it's completely resolved) or when a loop is detected (in which case you'll get a circular dependency error).


makeInventar accepts a second, optional argument, with options.

These are all optional.

option type default description
cssVarsInjector (cssVarsConfig:inventarConfig, domEl: HTMLElement) => void injectToStyle Overrides the way CSS vars are injected to a DOM element when inject is used. Two functions are provided - injectToStyle, which adds CSS variables as inline styles and allows you to choose which DOM element will be injected, and injectToRoot which adds them to the document body with setProperty and is more backward compatible. You can also write your own.
js2CssNameFormatter (jsName:string) => string camelCase2KebabCase Formats JS variable names are to css variable names.
outputs Array<InventarOutputFunction \| InventarOutput> { jsInventar, cssInventar, inject }, as per this documentation. Overrides the default output formats. See Custom Outputs for more details.
preTransformers InventarTransformersSequence [] A sequence of transformers to be executed on every variable, before its own transformers run.
postTransformers InventarTransformersSequence [] A sequence of transformers to be executed on every variable, after its own transformers run.


Transformers are the plugins of the Inventar system. They accept one, some or all variables and can alter, remove or create new ones from them.

An InventarTransformer is a function of the type: ([varName, varValue]) => [varName, varValue][]. It (optionally) accepts a tuple representing a single variable (name and value), and returns an array of zero or more such tuples. To get parameters for a transformer, we recommend creating a HOC to accept them and return an InventarTransformer.

const doubleValue = ([name, value]) => [[name, value * 2]]
const multiplyBy = (by: number) => ([name, value]) => [[name, value * by]]
// This transformer doesn't use a value. You can use it as a first transformer instead of having a value field in a value object.
const colorByHour = () => {
  const hour = (new Date()).getHours()
  return 7 < hour && hour < 18 ? '#eee' : '#111'

When providing transformers (See Value-Specific Transformers and Global Transformers)), you'll be asked to provide them in a sequence - an array - and they'll be executed in order.

Each item in this sequence can either be an InventarTransformer, or an object of the following structure:

Field Type Required? Default Value Description
transformer InventarTransformer Yes - A transformer function.
test regex | ([name ,value]) => boolean No undefined A regex to test a value, or a function to test a name and value tuple. The transformer will only be executed on items that where the provided test returns true.
This is mainly useful in Global Transformers.

Value-Specific Transformers

A transformer that's applied to a single variable is a value-specific transformer. It is provided as a field in a value object.

  transformedVariable: { value: 100, transformers[doubleValue, multiplyBy(3), ...] }, // { transformedVariable: 600 }

Global Transformers

Global transformers are provided in the options object, and will transform all variables (or some, if a test argument is provided).

You can provide two transformer sequences - preTransformers and postTransformers, which vary by their order of execution; preTransformers are executed first, then value-specific transformers, and then postTransformers.

  preTransformers: [doThisFirst],
  postTransformers: [
    { transformer: doThisLastOnColors, test: ([name, value]) => name.toLowerCase().includes('color') }

Custom Outputs

By default makeInventar outputs three items:

  • jsInventar - A JavaScript object that is the direct output of makeInventar. It should be used with JS styling libraries or when JS logics needs to access your Inventar.
  • cssInventar - Similar to jsInventar, but with its keys formatted in the css variables convention (myKey -> --my-key). It should be used when using custom methods to add Inventar as CSS variables (e.g. as a style in React). You can change the key formatting by passing your own js2CssNameFormatter function in the options.
  • inject - A function that inject your Inventar as css variables to a provided DOM element. You can use your own custom injector by passing it in the options as cssVarsInjector.

You can replace these with a custom output to generate other formats (e.g. various configuration files), by providing an outputs option, which is an object of InventarOutputFunctions and InventarOutputConfigs.

An InventarOutputFunction is a function that receives a processed Inventar and an InventarOptions object, and returns any other value. For example, this output function returns a stringified JSON:

const jsonOutput = (inventar: Inventar, options: InventarOptions) => JSON.stringify(inventar)
const { jsonInventar } = makeInventar({ ... }, { outputs: { jsonInventar: jsonOutput } })

As this completely overrides the default, you can import default output and use them in addition to your custom one:

import {
    defaultToCssInventarOutput, // cssInventar output
    defaultJsInventarOutput, // jsInventar output
    defaultToInjectOutput, // inject function output
} from 'inventar'
const { inject, jsonInventar } = makeInventar(
  { ... },
  { outputs: {
    inject: defaultToInjectOutput,
    json: jsonOutput,
  } }

You can also use custom outputs to provide output-specific transformers. These are the same transformers you'd use everywhere else, but they'll only be run on the specific output:

import {
    defaultToCssInventarOutput, // cssInventar output
    defaultJsInventarOutput, // jsInventar output
} from 'inventar'
const { jsInventar, cssInventar } = makeInventar(
  { ... },
    { outputs: {
    jsInventar: defaultJsInventarOutput,
    cssInventar: { outputFunction: defaultToCssInventarOutput, transformers: [formatColorsToRgba] }
  } }


Inventar is in a very early stage, and might be subject to major changes. I'll be happy for any feedback and ideas at The repository will become public soon, and then you could open issues and contribute.

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