Yesterday afternoon, CSS: The Definitive Guide, 4th Edition went to the printers. Eighteen years after the First Edition hit shelves, eleven years after its predecessor came out, five years after I first started working on this edition, and thanks in no small part to Estelle Weyl and a parade of long-suffering editors at O’Reilly, the last changes were entered, the pages were locked, and the repository closed.
It comes in at 1,088 pages: almost exactly twice the length of the Third Edition, with six new chapters and a lot of overhauling of old chapters. Flexbox, Grid, filtering, blending, clipping and masking, float shapes, animations and transitions, transforms, image borders, counting systems, custom properties (a.k.a. CSS variables), media and feature queries—they’re all in there, and a whole lot more besides. Gradients got a major new section in what used to be called just “Colors and Backgrounds” and is now “Colors, Backgrounds, and Gradients”. And all the new background properties! So many new background properties.
We didn’t skimp on the visuals, either. The book has, if I counted correctly, a total of 778 figures. Almost all of them were captured in-browser, and you can download or clone all the files from GitHub. If you’d rather just browse them online, you can do so thanks to GitHub Pages. That’s also where to find the transition and animation examples that are referenced in the text, but not figures themselves (detailed animation being somewhat difficult to represent on paper). If we add figures and animation examples together, there are 826 elements supporting the main text. Which feels like a lot to me.
The book will be available in both tree-wafer and glowing-display formats from your favorite supplier of such things; e.g., Amazon. (If you’re going to buy through Amazon and are inclined to support another aspect of my life, please designate Rebecca’s Gift as your Amazon Smile recipient before buying the book.) I also hear tell it will be available DRM-free from eBooks.com, and potentially in PDF form for those who prefer it. O’Reilly doesn’t sell books directly any more, but I do believe it will be avialable to those with Safari subscriptions.
I’ll have more to say about the book and its contents as the release date draws closer. Last I heard, it should be out by the end of this month, but as always, release dates can slip for any number of reasons. Even if this release does slip, it should still come out no later than early November.
(Let’s hope I didn’t just jinx that.)
This is always a tense and exhilarating time. What if I got a huge piece completely wrong? What if I made the wrong calls on what to include and what to defer to the next edition? What if I missed egregious typos? What if nobody likes it? Basically, the same doubts that strike most any author. But there’s also the incredible feeling of a project brought to its conclusion and the anticipation of getting it into readers’ hands. This has been a longer-than-usual time coming, but as it usually does, the time has come at last. I hope you’re looking forward to it half as much as I am.