Tailwind CSS - my favourite way to style a siteJune 06, 2021

I've recently stumbled across Tailwind CSS.

Initially I thought this was a similar framework to Bootstrap which I found to be centred around component based classes (btn and btn-warning) and not helpful in making a site look unique.

Tailwind instead is a utility-based framework which makes it highly flexible for any site. Each class they provide maps to a specific CSS style.

For example flex becomes display: flex; and text-left becomes text-align: left;

These classes can be applied to any component on your site.

Tailwind can cover every style you can think of, giving you little reason to have CSS directly in your code anymore.

My favourite reasons to use Tailwind:

  • There are no magic numbers, everything is part of a design system. You don't need to remember that the header had a font size of 18px, but rather that all components with text-lg will have the same size. Having a predefined design system makes it a lot easier to build visually consistant UIs.
  • Never needing to come up with class names. No more header-btn or header-nav-dropdown. Simply think up the styles you want and add the Tailwind classes directly. The context switch between the markup and the CSS file is enough of a pain point for me.
  • The CSS styles are tied to each component. If you remove a component, the styles go with it. Not only does that remove dead code, but could also reduce the bundle size as Tailwind purges unused utility classes.

I think Tailwind is worth trying out. It's pretty fun to use even if it looks a little ugly at first. Here are a couple tips to help you get going:

  • If you find yourself repeating classes across multiple parts of your site, you likely need to build smaller components - a good practice in general.
  • Use the Tailwind VS Code extension to have an auto suggestion feature for Tailwind classes.

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