Why we don’t support Compass

A few of our users have emailed us about supporting Compass in Hammer.

Hey guys, Love Hammer! Are there any plans for Compass support?

We’d like to explain why Compass support is not something we’re working on supporting in Hammer, and why we think that’s the right approach for the web industry.

Outdated installation process

The standard way to install Compass is to use a Terminal command:

$ sudo gem install compass

This command tells your computer to install Compass as a “root”, or administrator user. Compass uses this to install its libraries and dependences to the very core of your system, with super-user privileges. This creates directories and files deep in your operating system, and relies on access to those files to work.

The Mac App Store and GateKeeper

Apple’s new system for installing applications is very forward-thinking. Instead of installing things to the core of your system, applications are required to be “sandboxed” — keeping all of their configuration and settings in expected places. This means that when you uninstall an application, it’s gone forever. The benefit of this is that in future, you won’t have to reformat and reinstall your operating system to keep things clean and running efficiently. That’s the future we want to live in.

Compass is designed to use a whole host of libraries, many of which can’t be used with GateKeeper. We don’t like this approach, and we don’t think it’s the right approach for your computer in 2013. We want to make the most Apple-friendly, painless development app ever.

Will we ever support Compass?

Compass is a big, complicated library. Integrating it into Hammer is difficult, because it involves supporting all existing projects, with all possible configurations. Some of those configurations aren’t compatible with Hammer’s unique, clever workflow.

In future, we may support a stripped-down version of Compass, or Compass Core. But not any time soon. We’ve tried to integrate Compass several times — we even tried emailing Compass support, but we’ve had no replies or help from them.

We’d rather see new, elegant solutions to this problem than support yesterday’s code. That’s why we support (and love) Bourbon — which doesn’t mess with your computer’s configuration at all.

The Bottom Line

We think you’ll be better off without Compass. We have a better road-map without it, and this way we think we can build a much better app for you. Try Hammer today — you won’t be disappointed.

Originally published at https://blog.beach.io on October 23, 2013.

Head of MURAL Labs. Entrepreneur, family guy and adventure sports nut.