Sass UTF-8 encoding on Windows

Ever had your UTF-8 string wrongly encoded in your output .css files when using Sass ? Well, it might be an issue with the way Sass determines the encoding of your files.

Starting from Ruby 1.9, Sass will now try to guess the encoding of your sources files before processing them. The algorithm used is defined in the documentation but comes with a few caveats.

It will first check for the BOM in your file, and if found will consider the file as being UTF-8. Using BOM is a very bad practice when dealing with UTF-8 and you should absolutely not include it.

So, if no BOM is found, Sass will then look for a @charset definition. It looks for it exactly as the very first character on the very first line of the document. If not found, it will then use the Ruby default encoding.

And when you're on windows, the default encoding is usually CP1252. And in the end, you end up with every UTF-8 char encoded as three separate CP1252 chars.

Solution ?

Well, as adding a BOM is definitely not possible, you could add a @charset rule on top of EVERY SINGLE SASS FILE. Which is not a good solution either. Changing the encoding OS-wide is not better.

What you can do is force the output encoding with the -E switch when using sass on the commandline : sass -E utf-8 main.css. And this will correctly convert everything.

Unfortunatly, if you're using Compass in addition to Sass, there is no easy way to pass this switch to the underlying sass. What you can do instead is editing the config.rb file that comes with your Compass project and add the Encoding.default_external = 'utf-8' line. This will change the Ruby default encoding and output utf8 correctly.

But hey, what if you're using compass through the grunt-contrib-compass task ? There is no config.rb file that you can edit, and the task does not expose the needed configuration switch. Your only solution is to use the raw option to pass the Encoding.default_external config.

  options: {
    raw: 'Encoding.default_external = \'utf-8\'\n'

Mind the \n at the end and the quote escaping. This is needed for the task to correctly parse.

Hope this helped. Note that all this tweaking is not necessary if you're using Ruby 1.8.

Tags : #sass #compass #windows #utf8

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