The official book of California Stylesheets


(and that's okay)

It's a book about writing CSS.
And not writing CSS.


You suck at estimating

However long you think your project will take: Double it.

I’ve seen plenty of rules for estimating project hours but this is the best one.

Our brains want to walk to the mailbox, but they don’t want to walk back. Your gut feeling about a project’s involvement is generally correct except for that ignored second half.

So just double it.

Humans aren’t very smart. But the smarter humans have to maintain the delusion that they are in fact smart. Instead of realizing we can’t hold the whole project in our heads and drawing a whole bunch of boxes on a whiteboard like a plebe, we trick ourselves. We think “This project must be easy! I can hold the entire thing in my head.”

But we can’t. Humans can hold seven things in their head. Subtract one for each hour of daily smartphone usage.

Your project probably has more than seven things to worry about. This is where all project underestimation starts: Your incessant need to feel smart.

You’ll happily think “A dumb person would take twice as long to do this,” while you’re doing it. Then you’ll take twice as long as you thought, never putting it all together.

It’s okay. We all do it. The important part is noticing when things aren’t working out and changing our behavior. Not changing the delusion.

(Sorry, I thought this chapter would be much longer.)

Fix it with CASS

CASS doesn’t help with this. It makes your estimates shorter, maybe, but that doesn’t help you estimate better.

It maybe reduces the chaos of blockers in an early project, removing CSS workflows from the mix.

But let’s face it. As web developers our capacity to mis-estimate will rise to any occasion. Every bit of time we save will be equally matched by our own ability to temporarily and temporally lie to ourselves.

Next Chapter: "You suck at" »

Like the book? Buy it over on Gumroad.

Pay what you want!

The Gumroad version contains a secret chapter that spills the dirt on CSS preprocessors, a tech CASS no longer uses.

California Stylesheets is the awesome CSS file/framework referenced in the book. Get your own California Stylesheet here.

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