New CSS Layout by Rachel Andrew

2 minutes 41 seconds average read (538 words)

Buy The New CSS Layout by Rachel Andrew.

As part of the A book Apart series. Brief books for people who build websites.

Usually when I’m at a conference I make notes. Whilst at View Source conference last November I was so enthralled by Rachel’s talk, Solving Layout Problems with CSS Grid and Friends, that I stopped taking notes and just bought this book instead.

Rachel’s writing style is great and at no point do you feel that you are being talked down at, even if you know the subject matter. The book is laid out in a logical order that makes sense as you read it.

1 Where We Came From

In the first chapter she is setting the scene for the rest of the book by highlighting what has come before and why we need a new method of laying out content.

2 Where We Are

Here we look at the current situation and the tools that have been created to help with the previous landscape of content layout.

3 The New Layout

As well as talking, here, about the new shiny shiny of flex and grid layouts we are reminded of current methods of positioning, floats and multiple column layout. We’re reminded:

These older specifications are still being developed, too; we are seeing new values for older properties and greater clarification of some of the magic behind CSS layout. Rachel Andrew. “The New CSS Layout.”

4 Alignment Control

Long have we waited to be able to layout elements in a sensible way. This chapter explains how we can lay things out both horizontally and vertically in both flex and grid.

5 Responsive by Default

The bonus of both these new layout methods is, out of the box, they work responsively. In this chapter Rachel explains about how this method helps with responsive design and how it allows completely fluid layout.

6 Source Order  and Display Order

In this chapter we learn the positives and negatives of how changing the layout of an html document work.

7 Embrace the Future

We all know that the browsers we deliver content to may not be the latest and greatest, so what do we do about this?

In this chapter we understand that developing for the most up to date is in our best interest.

More people have now adopted automatically updating browsers and will keep up with what we want.

Develop for the best and provide fall backs for the rest.

8 Where We Are Going

In this final chapter, if you’re reading this in 2018, we learn about what is to come in CSS layout soon. Exciting things ahead.


I loved this book, as I have all the A Book Apart series, and can not recommend it highly enough.

At the end of the book Rachel encourages us all to get involved in the development of CSS. Personally I can’t advocate this enough, we are very fortunate to work in a very modern industry and we all have the ability to influence where it goes. Standards are not forced upon us we get to participate in how they are set.

One day, when all the planets align, I'll get Rachel to speak at London Web Standards.