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Why BEM?

hebashakeel profile image hebaShakeel ・2 min read

What is BEM?

BEM stands for Block, Element, Modifier.It is a popular naming convention for classes in HTML and CSS. Its goal is to help developers better understand the relationship between the HTML and CSS in a given project. ⁣

Why should you use BEM?

CSS is a language that’s easy to learn but very hard to maintain. As the project grows larger, without proper structure, maintaining CSS is unbearable, hence we use the BEM methodology to make CSS maintainable.

Benefits of using BEM

BEM provides a modular structure to your CSS project. Because of its unique naming scheme, we won’t run into conflicts with other CSS names. BEM also provides a relationship between CSS and HTML. Ambiguous names are hard to maintain in the future⁣.
Overall, BEM is my favourite CSS naming scheme, and I strongly suggest you try using it too!
It will save you SOOO much debugging time in the future.⁣

Example

/ * Block Component * /
.btn{}

/ * Element that depends upon the block * /
.btn__price{}

/ * Modifier that changes the style of the block * /
.btn--orange {}
.btn--big {}

In this CSS methodology, a block is a top-level abstraction of a new component. This block can be thought of as a parent.

Elements, or child items are placed inside the block and can be denoted by two underscores following the name of the block.

Modifiers can modify the block so that we can style that particular component without infliction changes on a completely unrelated module. This is done by appending two hyphens to the block.

Another smart part of BEM is that everything is a class and nothing is nested. That makes CSS specificity very flat and low, which is a good idea.

BEM is extraordinarily useful for constructing scalable and maintainable interfaces where everyone on the team should have a clear idea of how things can be improved. This is because a great deal of front end development is not just about the nice tricks that solve one little problem in the short term; we need agreements, promises and binding social contracts between developers so that our codebase can adapt over time.

Thank You!

Discussion

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bonstine profile image
Bonnie Simon

How do you apply this in a large project with many nested divs?

Eg :

container
    container__form
        container__form__input
            container__form__input__label

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`

You get what I'm saying, right? How do I go about this problem of eventually class name containing many words?

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kwiat1990 profile image
Mateusz Kwiatkowski

There is no such thing as nesting elements. Ideally there can be only a block, 1st level elements of this block and a modifiers of a block and/or those elements.

I was involved in numerous enterprise projects as frontend developer and we didn't encounter any problems while using BEM. For me it's introduce a very clear and logic structure, which can be easily read (well in my case at least).

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bonstine profile image
Bonnie Simon

Can you explain a bit more using the example I gave in the original post?

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kwiat1990 profile image
Mateusz Kwiatkowski

BEM avoids nested structures, so in your example the right visualization of all elements looks rather like this:

.container
    .container__form
    .container__input
    .container__label
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And using SASS you can write this one so:

.container {
  &__form {}
  &__input {}
  &__label {}
}
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bonstine profile image
Bonnie Simon

what if I have more divs inside form, say form_wrapper, form_inputfield etc ?

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kwiat1990 profile image
Mateusz Kwiatkowski

It's up to you what you decide but as long as nested elements are part of your block element, you should use block__element pattern.

If you start to have problems with this flat structure, it is a good sign that you should start a new block - you can use block inside another block:

form.form
  label.form__label
  input.form__input
  button.button
    span.button__label
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For clarity in this example I omitted most of the markup, so you can see the HTML structure and BEM structure.

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bonstine profile image
Bonnie Simon

Oh okay I got it now! I one block isn't enough, you create another block inside it. Thanks man.✨

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hebashakeel profile image
hebaShakeel Author

In BEM, everything is a class and nothing is nested.

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eavichay profile image
Avichay Eyal

I would like to share a different opinion. IMO, BEM is one of the WORST ways to implement a maintainable code. Here's something I wrote a while ago about it.
eavichay.svbtle.com/never-bem-again

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meatboy profile image
Meat Boy

BEM is for masochists. It's anti-component naming convention.

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ramiyushuvaev profile image
Rami Yushuvaev

You should also check the new "Cube CSS" methodology.

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traplocz profile image
Julian

Great article about BEM

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hebashakeel profile image