Do We Need CSS4?

Jen Simmons raised an interesting proposal for the CSS Working Group this week:

Let’s Define CSS 4 It’s come up quite a few times recently that the world of people who make websites would greatly benefit from the CSS Working Group officially defining ”CSS 4”, and later “CSS 5“, etc.

This comes hot on the heels of the idea being floated by Nicole Sullivan and PPK earlier on, and subsequently discussed further by Chris Coyier.

The idea isn’t without its detractors. Louis Lazaris wrote about why he thinks this is a bad idea, and raises some good points:

[Developers] get excited about the tools I mentioned above – as long as those tools are marketed in a way that’s palatable to them...When you think about it, the marketing pushes that have occurred around features like Flexbox and Grid Layout have been just as valuable as the overall marketing that took place for CSS3 before Flexbox was even a thing.

But overall, it seems like a lot of us who work in CSS feel that the language (specifically the uptake of new features) would benefit from the kind of marketing push that a major version “bump” would provide, even though it wouldn’t be a strictly technical definition. The big question is, how do we define CSS4? What is included, and what doesn’t make the cut?

For my own part, I do think that packaging a bunch of newer specifications as “CSS4” has the potential to improve awareness and uptake among developers, many of whom are unaware of these despite widespread browser support. CSS is moving at lightning speed, and with so many modules at varying stages of supports, it can be hard to prioritise what to learn without some guidance. Whose job it is to provide this is another question, but the discussion is far from over. I’m interested to see how this discussion progresses.

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