The official book of California Stylesheets


(and that's okay)

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

You suck at ugly

Take advantage of ugly. Keep things ugly as long as possible.

Visual design adds a whole bunch of friction to a project. Solving information design problems without it is just easier.

Beautiful is hard to work with, but close-to-beautiful is especially bad. There’s a beauty uncanny valley, where people just cannot deal with a thing unless it’s pushed to the other side of the valley.

It’s in this valley where people endlessly argue about things that don’t exist yet. Is this margin wrong? Well, no, it doesn’t exist. This is the visual representation of a margin in our project, which isn’t actually a thing in this world yet. We need to do that part instead of wondering about this margin on this mockup.

What about this color? Well, it only exists in our collective imaginations, documented here in this Google Docs slide. Until we actually implement it in the project, it literally doesn’t exist. There is no this color.

There’s a reason drawing things on napkins is a meme in tech. Low fidelity mockups are fast and effective. Teams that use them are fast and effective. Teams that do high fidelity mockups early on will spend the whole project wading through the mess they’ve created if they get that far after arguing over imaginary things.

Fix it with CASS

CASS has smart, reliable layout defaults that let you prototype right in the HTML.

It makes your project’s version of ugly into something functional and usable and most importantly, less ugly. It’s a lovely cake, ready for last-5% icing.

Next Chapter: Accountability »

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.

Go to CASS