How Project Wallace extracts all CSS from any webpage

User avatar for Bart Veneman Bart Veneman in blog

TLDR; Getting all CSS from a webpage requires a couple of different methods and some filtering. Go straight to the summary or the GitHub repository.

Project Wallace would be nowhere without the prior art of CSS Stats. They came up with get-css and this got me started in figuring out how to scrape CSS myself. Their algorithm is as simple as it is genius.

  • Take all <link> tags from the page, go to it’s href and take the CSS
  • Follow any @import rule and take it’s CSS
  • Take all <style> tags from the page and take it’s CSS
  • Follow any @import rule and take it’s CSS
  • Combine all these chunks of CSS into a single piece.

When this approach doesn’t work

At the moment, they haven’t included a way to scrape inline styles. I don’t know whether that’s intentional or not. For pages that utilize CSS-in-JS, the above method will not work. For that we need a browser that is able to evaluate styles at runtime, and looking at <link>s and <style>s is not enough. And with the rise of usage of CSS-in-JS, it’s time for an improved version.

The in-depth way

The complicated way of getting all CSS involves a (optionally headless) browser and three key ingredients:

The algorithm

For the complete algorithm, check out the source code GitHub. The short and readable version is something like this:

  • Start the CSS Coverage reporter
  • Go to the webpage
  • Stop the CSS Coverage reporter
  • Get all CSS-in-JS and <style> tags with document.styleSheets
  • Get all inline styles with document.querySelectorAll('[style]')
  • Combine all chunks of CSS in a single chunk.

Coverage API

The CSS Coverage API gives us all <link> tag CSS (and their @imports). It also finds a lot of <style> CSS, but not the ones that were created with JavaScript, so we’re ignoring those.

await page.coverage.startCSSCoverage()
await page.goto(url, { waitUntil })
const coverage = await page.coverage.stopCSSCoverage()

const links = coverage
	// Filter out the <style> tags that were found in the coverage
	// report since we've conducted our own search for them.
	// A coverage CSS item with the same url as the url of the page
	// we requested is an indication that this was a <style> tag
	.filter((entry) => entry.url !== url)
	.map((entry) => ({
		href: entry.url,
		css: entry.text,
		type: 'link-or-import'

Source on GitHub

document.styleSheets API

With document.styleSheets we have access to all <style> tags that were server rendered, client-side rendered and all CSS that was generated with StyleSheet.insertRule(), as used in many CSS-in-JS frameworks.

// Get all CSS generated with the CSSStyleSheet API
// This is primarily for CSS-in-JS solutions
// See:
const styleSheetsApiCss = await page.evaluate(() => {
	return (
			// Only take the stylesheets without href, because those with href are
			// <link> tags, and we already tackled those with the Coverage API
			.filter((stylesheet) => stylesheet.href === null)
			.map((stylesheet) => {
				return {
					type: stylesheet.ownerNode.tagName.toLowerCase(),
					href: stylesheet.href || document.location.href,
					css: [...stylesheet.cssRules].map(({ cssText }) => cssText).join('\n')

Source on GitHub

Inline styles

Now, this part may be a bit controversial, but I think it’s worth to look at inline styles as well as all the rest. It’s often overlooked, but many WordPress Themes, Magento plugins and other Big Web Players© utilize inline styles for their themes and plugins. There’s one catch, though. A CSS Rule consists of one or more selectors and zero or more declarations. The declarations are the ones present in the style="", but there is no selector. That’s why I decided to give each individual block of inline styles it’s own [x-extract-css-inline-style] selector. This way, it’s possible to count the amount of inline style attributes after they were extracted from the page.

// Get all inline styles: <element style="">
// This creates a new CSSRule for every inline style
// attribute it encounters.
// Example:
// HTML:
//    <h1 style="color: red;">Text</h1>
// CSSRule:
//    [x-extract-css-inline-style] { color: red; }
const inlineCssRules = await page.evaluate(() => {
	return (
			.map((element) => element.getAttribute('style'))
			// Filter out empty style="" attributes
const inlineCss = inlineCssRules
	.map((rule) => `[x-extract-css-inline-style] { ${rule} }`)
	.map((css) => ({ type: 'inline', href: url, css }))

Source on GitHub

Bringing it all together

The final step is to take the CSS of every step and merge that into one giant chunk of CSS:

const css = links
	.map(({ css }) => css)

That’s it! A lot of work to get some CSS off of a page, but so far it’s the most reliable way I’ve found to do it.

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