Ever since CSS was officially introduced in the mid 1990s the way we write it has essentially remained unchanged. Yes, we’ve seen the occasional addition of new styling options and, sure, we’ve learned new ways to organize our code. But despite all the advances in web technologies over the years the limitations of CSS have always been with us.
And there’s a good reason for this. To fundamentally change the way CSS works would require the cooperation of the World Wide Web Consortium, browser makers, and developers to reach consensus and embrace new features. Given the glacial pace (or at least if feels that way) of HTML5 adoption there’s little reason to think we’ll be writing native CSS with variables anytime soon.
Lastly, if you don’t want to use the command line for running the “watch” process, check out LiveReload or Compass.app. These guys sit unobtrusively in your menu bar and do the processing for you. LiveReload can monitor multiple projects so you can set it and forget it. As a bonus, with the help of a browser extension, either can be enabled to refresh the browser for you after each coding change. No more “command-r”. Very, very nice.