CSSUnresolvedProperty is the base class which all property implementations are derived from, either directly or indirectly. This class includes logic that needs to be implemented by alias classes (a small subset of property logic), as well as static methods to get the property class for every property. Alias classes inherit directly from CSSUnresolvedProperty.
CSSProperty is another base class, which inherits from CSSUnresolvedProperty. It contains all the methods that can be called on a resolved property class, and a default implementation for each. The implementation for CSSProperty is partially generated (CSSProperty.h and CSSProperty.cpp) and partially hand written (CSSPropertyBaseCustom.cpp).
Longhand and Shorthand are base classes which inherit from CSSProperty, from which all longhand and shorthand property classes directly derive. Variable is a special property class that represents custom properties, which inherits from CSSProperty.
The methods that are overriden from the base classes by a property class depends on the functionality required by that property. Methods may have a working default implementation in the base classes, or may assert that this default implementation is not reached.
Alias classes, longhand classes, and shorthand classes each represent a single CSS property and are named after that property. These property classes are partially generated (<PropertyName>.h and for some properties <PropertyName>.cpp), and partially hand written (<PropertyName>Custom.cpp).
Aliases are properties that share most of their logic with another property, somtimes with the exception of some minor differences in parsing logic due to legacy reasons. Many aliases are -webit prefixed properties that have since been implemented without the prefix. Aliases define the alias_for member in CSSProperties.json5).
Alias classes implement a small subset of functions of properties, only those that do not share an implementation with the resolved property that they are an alias for. Because of this, these classes inherit directly from a base class CSSUnresolvedProperty.
Shorthand properties only exist in the context of parsing and serialization. Therefore only a subset of methods may be implemented by shorthand properties, e.g. ParseShorthand.
Descriptors define the characteristics of an at-rule. For example, @viewport is an at-rule, and width is a valid descriptor for @viewport. Within the context of @viewport, width is a shorthand comprising the min-width and max-width of the viewport. From this example we can see that a descriptor is not the same as a CSS property with the same name. Sometimes descriptors and CSS properties with the same name are handled together, but that should not be taken to mean that they are the same thing. Fixing this possible source of confusion is an open issue crbug.com/752745.
The Variable rule is not a true CSS property, but is treated as such in places for convience. It does not appear in CSSProperties.json5; thus its property class header needed to be hand-written & manually added to the list of property classes by make_css_property_base.py. Those hand-written headers are in this directory.
#include "core/css/properties/<longhands|shorthands>/<PropertyName>.h"(this will be a generated file).
core/css/CSSProperties.json5. Ensure that you include all the methods implemented on the property in the ‘property_methods’ flag so that the header file is generated correctly (see CSSProperties.json5 for more details)
outputsparameter. This step is often forgotten and may not immediately caues an error but can cause linking errors in certain situations.
See this example CL, which converts the existing line-height property to use the CSSProperty design. This new line-height property class only implements the ParseSingleValue method, using shared logic through a utils file.
Property class instances may be accessed through the base class CSSUnresolvedProperty, either by directly calling the get function for that property (CSSUnresolvedProperty::GetCSSProperty<PropertyName>)(), or by passing the CSSPropertyID to the general getter (CSSUnresolvedProperty::Get(CSSPropertyID)).
Methods that handle property specific logic may be called directly on the property class instance. Which methods are available depends on what type of property it is (i.e. which base classes it implements).
Eventually, all logic pertaining to a single property will be found only within its CSS property class where possible.
Currently (5 Jan 2018) the code base is in a transitional state and property specific logic is still scattered around the code base. See Project Ribbon tracking bug and design doc for details of progress.