Gumby v2 is here. You haven't a moment to waste! So many new, amazing features await you! But first a quick crash course on the latest and greatest Gumby Framework.

Some things you will need with you on this journey are:

  • A code editor of your choice (we recommend Sublime Text 2+)
  • A decent knowledge of HTML/CSS
  • A willingness to learn
  • Google or comparable search engine.

Some optional things that we recommend include:

  • A web server (Apache or similar)
  • Some basic knowledge of programming (variables, functions)
  • General knowledge of the terminal

Things that are NOT required are:

  • Any specific web framework such as Rails, Codeigniter, etc.

Browser Compatibility

Gumby is developed following the latest standards and specs. In order to stay on the cutting edge, Gumby supports modern web browsers like:

  • Chrome
  • Firefox
  • Opera
  • Internet Explorer 8 – 10

We also support some of our elderly community of browsers down to IE 8. Anything below IE 8 is too fussy and won't cooperate at bingo night. You're welcome to try, but no promises.


There are many ways you can work with Gumby. We'll walk you through how we use it, but this isn't a definitive guide on how fit Gumby into your workflow.


There are several GUIs out there that take the fear/mystery/fun out of using the terminal. Some of these include, Scout App (Cross Platform), Codekit (OSX), and

Vanilla CSS

You don't need to use Sass if you're all about retro things and living in the past. The world needs historians after all! But you're free to use Gumby as an add-on to your project. Link it in and off you go! You can even customize Gumby to only include the grid or typography if that's what you need. Gumby is as flexible as you need it to be.

Terminal (It's not scary!)

The preferred option around these parts is to use the terminal commands to compile our CSS. It can be much easier than most people think. With a few basic commands, you can be right at home in the terminal. The cornerstones of our workflow on the terminal are Compass and Claymate.

Installing Ruby

While it's not entirely necessary to have Ruby and use Sass with Gumby, it is highly recommended. Sass has become an invaluable tool not only to us but many other developers all over the world. Don't take our word for it though. Check out the Sass website to learn more.

Anyways, assuming you're still with us, you'll want to install Ruby. I'll break the next section up by operating systems for ease of use. If you have Ruby 2.0.0> installed already, go ahead and skip to the next steps of installing the gems.


Using Brew or your package manager of choice, install rbenv. Installation instructions can be found here.

Then go into terminal and run ruby -v. If it returns something along the lines of ruby 2.0.0 you're in the clear! Any version greater than or equal to 2.0.0 is ideal.

You can also utilize a tool called Jewelery Box although it requires you be on Mac OSX 10.7+.

Make sure you input the proper version you installed in <version> above.


We recommend heading over to RubyInstaller's website to get Ruby setup on your machine. Download an installer and run it. That's it! To double check that everything is all set up, open up Command Prompt and run ruby -v. If it returns something along the lines of ruby 2.0.0 you're set!


For you Linux folk, there's quite a few options here. You can use rbenv, apt-get, yum, or your package manager of choice. Of course you can also build it from source, because, you know, you can do those things. In fact, building it this way is recommended.

Make sure you input the proper version you installed in <version> above.

Gem Dependencies

Gumby relies on some friends to make the magic happen. Specifically, Gumby utilizes modular-scale, Compass and Sass. You can read up on them if you would like. I'll wait here.

To install these gems you'll need to open your terminal/command prompt and run: $ gem install compass modular-scale sass

Let that command do it's thing and you should be all set!

Compiling for the First Time

Now that you have a proper home environment for Gumby and your creations to blossom, let's compile the Sass out. We recommend that you utilize an external scss file to add your Sass to and not edit the gumby.css file.

Compiling is the process of parsing the separate Sass files into one valid CSS file.

You'll want to move into your working directory. Let's assume we're working out of the directory /project, and your publicly-facing web files are in /project/public_html. That's where Gumby should live. You can change into that working directory by running: cd /project/public_html

Here's where the magic of Compass and Sass happens: Run compass compile.

Boom. Your SCSS files are now valid CSS compiled out to the /css directory. Wasn't that easy?

But wait, there's more! If you type compass watch into the terminal, Compass will watch your Sass files for any changes and automagically compile your Sass out to CSS! With the compass watch command running, you're free to edit your SCSS and have it compiled every time you save.

But why not use regular Sass?

This is a common question to newer users to Sass. Why use Compass? As we explained before, Compass provides numerous mixins and features to the Sass language that makes it an indispensable tool. Read more.

Writing Your First Sass

Look at you. You've come all this way. They grow up so fast. Anyways, now that you're better than everyone else, go ahead and open up your _custom.scss. In here is where you'll keep all your custom Sass stuff. Gumby automatically includes this upon compilation. Convenient!

With your code editor in hand, it's time to get our hands dirty.

Sass has numerous features that we could talk about for days, but here's an extremely basic tutorial on writing your first Sass. In _custom.scss let's create a variable called "color" and how about we give it a soup related color. Mmm soup.

$color: bisque;
body{background: $color;}

Now, in terminal you'll need to run compass watch in order for the Sass to be compiled. You should see that there was a change to a file and that gumby.css was overwritten. Leave that terminal window open and everything you do in your Sass files will be compiled shortly after each save. It's also worth noting that if you mess up and make a syntax error of some sort, Sass will let you know which line and where the infraction took place. Now if you look at your gumby.css file, way down at the bottom you should see that the CSS was outputted. Then, back in your browser you should see that the body is now deliciously colored. Success!

Partially Partial Partials, Partialing

In an effort to keep your code more organized, we suggest you use partials when styling your site. We currently have that single _custom.scss partial file in the framework, but you can create as many as you need.

Best Practices

Here are some tips that we've compiled while using our own framework and listening to other users.

Learn, Love, Live Sass

We can't stress enough how awesome Sass really is. It speeds up our workflow, makes updating things like colors super simple, and so many other things. If you aren't 100% comfortable with it, read the tutorial, everything on The Sass Way, and Sass Official Docs. Sass has proved extremely valuable to our team and we're sure it'll be a perfect fit for yours.

Use the provided _custom.scss partial

Gumby allows you to build right into the framework with the custom partial. We recommend you utilize this function.

Don't change the gumby.css on your own

While it's not required, it is always suggested that you use the _custom.scss partial included with the framework. You can always make more and have them included in the gumby.scss file.

Keep it DRY

You can still take your laptop whitewater rafting, but we suggest following the DRY principle of Don't Repeat Yourself. Creating mixins and using variables to simplify your CSS is definitely something you should practice. But at the same time, don't abuse Sass' functionality. There's a healthy balance you should try to achieve.

Modular Javascript

We think you should seriously think about using a module system for your javascript like RequireJS, a framework like AngularJS, or for less intense applications write your javascript as add-ons for Gumby. Clearly separating your javascript into units of functionality will help with maintainability and, maybe later down the road, testability. If you make an add-on, make sure to share it with the rest of us!


We introduced compatibility with Bower in Gumby v2 to make your life and lives of developers everywhere simpler. Bower is a dependency manager (like gem, npm and composer) that allows you stay up to date with frameworks and the like. Running bower update gumby while in the folder where bower.json is will pull in the latest Gumby files from Github.


To help you set up your first project with Gumby, we made a neat npm module called Claymate. This module allows you to install Gumby with Bower and get all of the essential files copied from Gumby to your project in one go. It also will help you to concatenate and minify your javascript using UglifyJS. Read more about it over at the Claymate docs.

Stay active in our community!

Our Google+ community has grown to be pretty big. There you can get quick help for all things Gumby, often from the developers themselves.

Add Features to Gumby

Want to really make your parents proud? If in the course of your project, you create a really cool add-on for Gumby, send us a pull request. We'd love to add your work to our framework. Who knows, maybe we'll print it out and put it on our fridge!

Help! I’m Stuck!

Hopefully you won't run into any issues getting setup with Ruby, Compass and friends. But it's quite possible you did. For starters, Google your problem. Chances are hundreds if not thousands of other people have already as well. is a great place for asking questions and getting answers.

Can't find modular-scale gem

Syntax error: File to import not found or unreadable: modular-scale.
              Load path: /Users/gumbycss/sources/Gumby/sass
        on line 19 of gumby.scss
  Use --trace for backtrace.

A common issue for new users. Often times this is caused by using the sass command rather than the compass compile command.

Also, if you were so advanced that you skipped the steps to install the necessary gems, go back up a few paragraphs.

I can't get Ruby to work.

If you're getting any specific errors try pasting the human readable parts into Google. You're bound to find the answer there.

My Google Fonts aren't loading

This usually happens when you are attempting to develop from your desktop and opening an HTML file instead of setting up a local http server, like Apache2. Simply put your browser can't load these fonts because they are from a different origin. Check out Bitnami's free XAMP stacks to get started on a web server.

My problem still isn't solved.

First step should always be to Google your error or problem. If that doesn't work, post to our Google+ community. It's specifically set up for users' issues and questions. Please try to keep the Github issues page for framework issues only.

Take Gumby wherever you want to go with it!