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Release notes 1.0 Migration guide About Polymer 1.0
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Polymer.Base array-selector custom-style dom-bind dom-if dom-repeat dom-template Polymer.Templatizer Global settings

Polymer uses Shadow DOM styling rules for providing scoped styling of the element's local DOM. Scoped styles should be provided via <style> tags placed inside the element's local DOM <template>.

<dom-module id="my-element">

  <template>

    <style>
      :host {
        display: block;
        border: 1px solid red;
      }
      #child-element {
        background: yellow;
      }
      /* styling elements distributed to content (via ::content) requires */
      /* selecting the parent of the <content> element for compatibility with */
      /* shady DOM . This can be :host or a wrapper element. */
      .content-wrapper ::content > .special {
        background: orange;
      }
    </style>

    <div id="child-element">In local DOM!</div>
    <div class="content-wrapper"><content></content></div>

  </template>

  <script>

      Polymer({
          is: 'my-element'
      });

  </script>

</dom-module>

To place styles outside of the element, or share styles between elements, you can create a style module.

Note: Prior to Polymer 1.1, the recommendation was to place <style> tags inside the <dom-module> for an element (but outside the <template>). This is still supported, but is no longer recommended.

Under shady DOM, the <content> tag doesn't appear in the DOM tree. Styles are rewritten to remove the ::content pseudo-element, and any combinator immediately to the left of ::content.

This implies:

  • You must have a selector to the left of the ::content pseudo-element.

    :host ::content div
    

    Becomes:

    x-foo div
    

    (Where x-foo is the name of the custom element.)

  • To limit styles to elements inside the ::content tag, add a wrapper element around the <content> element. This is especially important when using a child combinator (>) to select top-level children.

    <dom-module id="my-element">
    
      <template>
    
        <style>
          .content-wrapper ::content > .special {
            background: orange;
          }
        </style>
    
        <div class="content-wrapper"><content></content></div>
    
      </template>
    
    </dom-module>
    

    In this case, the rule:

    .content-wrapper ::content > .special
    

    Becomes:

    .content-wrapper > .special
    

Custom properties can't style distributed children. The Polymer custom properties shim doesn't support styling distributed children.

Shadow DOM (and its approximation via Shady DOM) bring much needed benefits of scoping and style encapsulation to web development, making it safer and easier to reason about the effects of CSS on parts of your application. Styles do not leak into the local DOM from above, and styles do not leak from one local DOM into the local DOM of other elements inside.

This is great for protecting scopes from unwanted style leakage. But what about when you intentionally want to customize the style of a custom element's local DOM, as the user of an element? This often comes up under the umbrella of "theming". For example a "custom-checkbox" element that may internally use a .checked class can protect itself from being affected by CSS from other components that may also happen to use a .checked class. However, as the user of the checkbox you may wish to intentionally change the color of the check to match your product's branding, for example. The same "protection" that Shadow DOM provides at the same time introduces a practical barrier to "theming" use cases.

Deprecated shadow DOM selectors. One solution the Shadow DOM spec authors provided to address the theming problem was the /deep/ combinator and ::shadow pseudo-element, which allowed writing rules that pierce through the Shadow DOM encapsulation boundary. However, these proved problematic and have been deprecated.

Polymer includes a shim for custom CSS properties inspired by (and compatible with) the future W3C CSS Custom Properties for Cascading Variables specification (see Using CSS Variables on the Mozilla Developer Network).

Rather than exposing the details of an element's internal implementation for theming, instead an element author defines one or more custom CSS properties as part of the element's API.

These custom properties can be defined similarly to other standard CSS properties and will inherit from the point of definition down the composed DOM tree, similar to the effect of color and font-family.

In the simple example below, the author of my-toolbar identified the need for users of the toolbar to be able to change the color of the toolbar title. The author exposed a custom property called --my-toolbar-title-color which is assigned to the color property of the selector for the title element. Users of the toolbar may define this variable in a CSS rule anywhere up the tree, and the value of the property will inherit down to the toolbar where it is used if defined, similar to other standard inheriting CSS properties.

Example:

<dom-module id="my-toolbar">

  <template>

    <style>
      :host {
        padding: 4px;
        background-color: gray;
      }
      .title {
        color: var(--my-toolbar-title-color);
      }
    </style>

    <span class="title">{{title}}</span>

  </template>

  <script>
    Polymer({
      is: 'my-toolbar',
      properties: {
        title: String
      }
    });
  </script>

</dom-module>

Example usage of my-toolbar:

<dom-module id="my-element">

  <template>

    <style>

      /* Make all toolbar titles in this host green by default */
      :host {
        --my-toolbar-title-color: green;
      }

      /* Make only toolbars with the .warning class red */
      .warning {
        --my-toolbar-title-color: red;
      }

    </style>

    <my-toolbar title="This one is green."></my-toolbar>
    <my-toolbar title="This one is green too."></my-toolbar>

    <my-toolbar class="warning" title="This one is red."></my-toolbar>

  </template>

  <script>
    Polymer({ is: 'my-element'});
  </script>

</dom-module>

The --my-toolbar-title-color property only affects the color of the title element encapsulated in my-toolbar's internal implementation. In the future the my-toolbar author can rename the title class or restructure the internal details of my-toolbar without changing the custom property exposed to users.

You can also include a default value in the var() function, to use in case the user doesn't set the custom property:

color: var(--my-toolbar-title-color, blue);

Thus, custom CSS properties introduce a powerful way for element authors to expose a theming API to their users in a way that naturally fits right alongside normal CSS styling. It is already on a standards track (currently in the candidate recommendation (CR) stage of the process) with support in Firefox, Safari, and Chrome 49.

It may be tedious (or impossible) for an element author to predict every CSS property that may be important for theming, let alone expose every property individually.

The custom properties shim includes an extension that enables an element author to define a set of CSS properties as a single custom property and then allow all properties in the set to be applied to a specific CSS rule in an element's local DOM. The extension enables this with a mixin capability that is analogous to var, but which allows an entire set of properties to be mixed in. This extension adheres to the CSS @apply rule proposal.

Use @apply to apply a mixin:

@apply --mixin-name;

Defining a mixin is just like defining a custom property, but the value is an object that defines one or more rules:

selector {
  --mixin-name: {
    /* rules */
  };
}

Example:

<dom-module id="my-toolbar">

  <template>

    <style>
      :host {
        padding: 4px;
        background-color: gray;
        /* apply a mixin */
        @apply --my-toolbar-theme;
      }
      .title {
        @apply --my-toolbar-title-theme;
      }
    </style>

    <span class="title">{{title}}</span>

  </template>

  ...

</dom-module>

Example usage of my-toolbar:

<dom-module id="my-element">

  <template>

    <style>
      /* Apply custom theme to toolbars */
      :host {
        --my-toolbar-theme: {
          background-color: green;
          border-radius: 4px;
          border: 1px solid gray;
        };
        --my-toolbar-title-theme: {
          color: green;
        };
      }

      /* Make only toolbars with the .warning class red and bold */
      .warning {
        --my-toolbar-title-theme: {
          color: red;
          font-weight: bold;
        };
      }
    </style>

    <my-toolbar title="This one is green."></my-toolbar>
    <my-toolbar title="This one is green too."></my-toolbar>

    <my-toolbar class="warning" title="This one is red."></my-toolbar>

  </template>

  <script>
    Polymer({ is: 'my-element'});
  </script>

</dom-module>

Older @apply syntax. The @apply syntax was originally implemented in Polymer using parenthesis: @apply(--mixin-name). Polymer 1.6.0 and later accepts @apply without parenthesis, matching the proposal. You can continue using the older syntax in Polymer 1.x, but starting in Polymer 2.0, only the newer syntax (without parenthesis) is accepted.

Polymer's custom property shim evaluates and applies custom property values once at element creation time. In order to have an element (and its subtree) re- evaluate custom property values due to dynamic changes such as application of CSS classes, etc., call the updateStyles method on the element. To update all elements on the page, you can also call Polymer.updateStyles.

You can directly modify a Polymer element's custom property by setting key-value pairs in customStyle on the element (analogous to setting style) and then calling updateStyles. Or you can pass a dictionary of property names and values as an argument to updateStyles.

To get the value of a custom property on an element, use getComputedStyleValue.

Example:

<dom-module id="x-custom">

  <template>

    <style>
      :host {
        --my-toolbar-color: red;
      }
    </style>

    <my-toolbar>My awesome app</my-toolbar>
    <button on-tap="changeTheme">Change theme</button>

  </template>

  <script>
    Polymer({
      is: 'x-custom',
      changeTheme: function() {
        this.customStyle['--my-toolbar-color'] = 'blue';
        this.updateStyles();
      }
    });
  </script>

</dom-module>

Cross-platform support for custom properties is provided in Polymer by a JavaScript library that approximates the capabilities of the CSS Variables specification for the specific use case of theming custom elements, while also extending it to add the capability to mixin property sets to rules as described above. For performance reasons, Polymer does not attempt to replicate all aspects of native custom properties. The shim trades off aspects of the full dynamism possible in CSS in the interests of practicality and performance.

Below are current limitations of the shim. Improvements to performance and dynamism will continue to be explored.

Only property definitions which match the element at creation time are applied. Any dynamic changes that update property values are not applied automatically. You can force styles to be re-evaluated by calling the updateStyles method on a Polymer element, or Polymer.updateStyles to update all element styles.

For example, given this markup inside an element:

HTML:

<div class="container">
  <x-foo class="a"></x-foo>
</div>

CSS:

/* applies */
x-foo.a {
  --foo: brown;
}
/* does not apply */
x-foo.b {
  --foo: orange;
}
/* does not apply to x-foo */
.container {
  --nog: blue;
}

After adding class b to x-foo above, the host element must call this.updateStyles to apply the new styling. This re-calculates and applies styles down the tree from this point.

Dynamic effects are reflected at the point of a property's application.

For the following example, adding/removing the highlighted class on the #title element will have the desired effect, since the dynamism is related to application of a custom property.

#title {
  background-color: var(--title-background-normal);
}

#title.highlighted {
  background-color: var(--title-background-highlighted);
}

Unlike normal CSS inheritance which flows from parent to child, custom properties in Polymer's shim can only change when inherited by a custom element from rules that set properties in scope(s) above it, or in a :host rule for that scope. Within a given element's local DOM scope, a custom property can only have a single value. Calculating property changes within a scope would be prohibitively expensive for the shim and is not required to achieve cross-scope styling for custom elements, which is the primary goal of the shim.

<dom-module id="my-element">

  <template>

    <style>
     :host {
       --custom-color: red;
     }
     .container {
       /* Setting the custom property here will not change */
       /* the value of the property for other elements in  */
       /* this scope.                                      */
       --custom-color: blue;
     }
     .child {
       /* This will be always be red. */
       color: var(--custom-color);
     }
    </style>

    <div class="container">
      <div class="child">I will be red</div>
    </div>

  </template>

  <script>
    Polymer({ is: 'my-element'});
  </script>

</dom-module>

The custom properties shim doesn't support styling distributed elements.

/* Not supported */
:host ::content div {
  --custom-color: red;
}

Polymer provides a <style is="custom-style"> custom element for defining styles in the main document that can take advantage of several special features of Polymer's styling system:

  • Document styles defined in a custom-style are shimmed to ensure they do not leak into local DOM when running on browsers without native Shadow DOM.

  • Custom properties used by Polymer's shim for cross-scope styling may be defined in an custom-style. Use the :root selector to define custom properties that apply to all custom elements.

  • For backwards compatibility, the deprecated /deep/ combinator and ::shadow pseudo-element are shimmed on browsers without native Shadow DOM. You should avoid using these in new code.

Example:

<!doctype html>
<html>
<head>
  <script src="components/webcomponentsjs/webcomponents-lite.js"></script>
  <link rel="import" href="components/polymer/polymer.html">

  <style is="custom-style">

    /* Will be prevented from affecting local DOM of Polymer elements */
    * {
      box-sizing: border-box;
    }

    /* Use the :root selector to define custom properties and mixins */
    /* at the document level  */
    :root {
      --my-toolbar-title-color: green;
    }

  </style>

</head>
<body>

    ...

</body>
</html>

All features of custom-style are available when defining styles as part of Polymer elements (for example, in <style> elements within a custom element's <dom-module>). The exception is the :root selector, which is only useful at the document level. The custom-style extension should only be used for defining document styles, outside of a custom element's local DOM.

To share style declarations between elements, you can package a set of style declarations inside a <dom-module> element. In this section, a <dom-module> holding styles is called a style module for convenience.

A style module declares a named set of style rules that can be imported into an element definition, or into a custom-style element.

Note: Style modules were introduced in Polymer 1.1; they replace the experimental support for external stylesheets.

Define a style module inside an HTML import using the <dom-module> element.

<!-- shared-styles.html -->
<dom-module id="shared-styles">
  <template>
    <style>
      .red { color: red; }
    </style>
  </template>
</dom-module>

The id attribute specifies the name you'll use to reference your shared styles. Style module names use the same namespace as elements, so your style modules must have unique names.

Using the shared styles is a two-step process: you need to use a <link> tag to import the module, and a <style> tag to include the styles in the correct place.

To use a style module in an element:

<!-- import the module  -->
<link rel="import" href="../shared-styles/shared-styles.html">
<dom-module id="x-foo">
  <template>
    <!-- include the style module by name -->
    <style include="shared-styles"></style>
    <style>:host { display: block; }</style>
    Hi
  </template>
  <script>Polymer({is: 'x-foo'});</script>
</dom-module>

You can also use a shared style module in a custom-style element.

<!-- import the shared styles  -->
<link rel="import" href="../shared-styles/shared-styles.html">
<!-- include the shared styles -->
<style is="custom-style" include="shared-styles"></style>

A single style tag can both include shared styles and define local rules:

<style include="shared-styles">
  :host { display: block; }
</style>

(This works for both custom-style elements and <style> tags inside custom elements.) The shared styles are applied before the styles defined inside the body of the <style> tag, so the shared styles can be overridden by the styles defined in the body.

Deprecated feature. This experimental feature is now deprecated in favor of style modules. It is still supported, but support will be removed in the future.

Polymer includes an experimental feature to support loading external stylesheets that will be applied to the local DOM of an element. This is typically convenient for developers who like to separate styles, share common styles between elements, or use style pre-processing tools. The syntax is slightly different from how stylesheets are typically loaded, as the feature leverages HTML Imports (or the HTML Imports polyfill, where appropriate) to load the stylesheet text such that it may be properly shimmed and/or injected as an inline style.

To include a remote stylesheet that applies to your Polymer element's local DOM, place a special HTML import <link> tag with type="css" in your <dom- module> that refers to the external stylesheet to load.

Example:

<dom-module id="my-awesome-button">

  <!-- special import with type=css used to load remote CSS
       Note: this style of importing CSS is deprecated -->
  <link rel="import" type="css" href="my-awesome-button.css">

  <template>
    ...
  </template>

  <script>
    Polymer({
      is: 'my-awesome-button',
      ...
    });
  </script>

</dom-module>

If you are using a third-party library that adds local DOM nodes to your Polymer element, you may notice that styles on the element do not update properly.

The correct way to add DOM nodes to a Polymer element's local DOM is via the Polymer DOM API. This API lets you manipulate nodes in a way that respects the local DOM and ensures that styles are updated properly.

When using third-party libraries that do not use the Polymer DOM API, use the scopeSubtree method to apply proper CSS scoping to a node and all of its descendants.

  1. Create a container node inside your element's local DOM, and have your third-party library create DOM under that container node.

    <dom-module is="x-example">
      <template>
        <div id="container">
        </div>
      </template>
    </dom-module>
    
  2. Call scopeSubtree on the container node.

    ready: function() {
      this.scopeSubtree(this.$.container, true);
    }
    

    containerNode is the root node of the tree you wish to scope. Setting the second argument to false scopes the specified node and descendants once. Setting it to true enables a mutation observer that applies CSS scoping whenever containerNode or any of its descendants are modified.

Not for use on Polymer elements. If the subtree that you scope contains any Polymer elements with local DOM, scopeSubtree will cause the descendants' local DOM to be styled incorrectly.