Tailwind CSS is a utility-first framework that allows users to define components. The CSS is very popular but requires extensive prior knowledge.

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What is a CSS framework?

A CSS framework is a collection of functions and elements necessary for website design. Because developers can make use of the pre-existing options, website design and team collaborations are simplified. CSS frameworks use code libraries that are used in the HTML code for this purpose.

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What is Tailwind CSS?

Tailwind CSS is a popular CSS framework that is entirely utility-first and provides users with low-level CSS classes in PostCSS that can be used to define components and designs independently. Tailwind CSS was developed by Adam Wathan and first released in 2017. Since then it’s been installed by millions of users.

What distinguishes utility-first frameworks?

The main advantages of utility-first frameworks like Tailwind CSS are flexibility and the resulting possibilities for customization. Unlike traditional Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), utility-first frameworks don’t include pre-built components, but offer utility classes. These contain predefined styles that can be applied to an element. This simplifies the process, results in clearer code, and provides many additional design options that contribute to more customized websites.

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Who is Tailwind CSS suitable for?

Tailwind CSS is particularly suitable for users with prior knowledge of CSS and those who are familiar with its special features. A basic understanding of HTML is important for working with the utility-first framework, since components must be created independently, and all styles are stored directly in the HTML files. Except for some basics like margins, sizes and colors, Tailwind CSS does not use defaults. Provided developers have the experience, they can use Tailwind CSS to liberally design website elements and save time.

The CSS is suitable for frontend web projects of any kind and can be used in conjunction with popular JavaScript frameworks. For example, Lavarel, Vue.js, and React can be used with Tailwind CSS. The combination does away with the object-oriented approach of many other frameworks

Pros and cons of Tailwind CSS

Because of its particular approach, Tailwind CSS isn’t suitable for everyone. To find out whether a utility-first approach is right for you, consider the advantages and disadvantages of Tailwind CSS.

Pros

  • There’s no need to switch between HTML files and CSS files. As a rule, work runs more smoothly this way.
  • Working with Tailwind CSS allows for more customized solutions for important elements on a website. This makes it stand out from the crowd.
  • Due to the predefined classes and the use of CSS Media Queries Tailwind CSS makes for a responsive framework that works well on mobile devices too.
  • Overall development is faster and facilitated by utility classes.
  • Predefined classes help to compress CSS.
  • Tailwind CSS makes it easy to implement modal components.
  • The framework is stable and rarely suffers bugs or errors.
  • If you’re already familiar with CSS, the logical structure and approach of the utility-first framework are a bonus and the learning curve is relatively flat.
  • If you’re currently in the process of learning CSS and wish to use Tailwind CSS at the same time, the comprehensive and easy to understand documentation will guide you.

Cons

  • Nevertheless, using the framework for the first time is fairly difficult if you’re not experienced with the peculiarities and pitfalls of CSS.
  • The code can be confusing because a lot of information is stored in the HTML file. Mixing design and HTML violates the principle of “separations of concerns”.
  • When you install Tailwind CSS, default CSS styles are deleted. You must first recreate all elements. This applies to important components like buttons, headers or navigation bars.
  • Certain HTML elements repeat in the markup, so the code violates the “Don’t repeat yourself!” principle. This happens, for example, when a certain element is to be used several times on the website.

Tailwind CSS compared to other frameworks

Much like other frameworks, Tailwind CSS aims to ease the process of creating a website. Thanks to predefined classes and known CSS rules, websites can be created faster. Because the principle is always the same, experienced users can switch between frameworks more rapidly. While conventional solutions provide fixed components such as buttons or navigation bars, Tailwind CSS allows i.e. requires individual creation. Unlike some other frameworks, Tailwind CSS is aimed at professionals with extensive prior knowledge of CSS.

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How to add Tailwind CSS

The easiest way to add Tailwind CSS is using a package manager. You should have Node.js installed on your computer. Here’s how to proceed:

Create a new project in terminal.

npm init -y

This will create a package.json file in the root directory. The extension “-y” is used to set default values.

To install the latest stable version of Tailwind CSS as a dependency, use the following command:

npm install -D tailwindcss

The installation can take a few minutes.

To generate the tailwind.config.js file, enter the following command:

npx tailwindcss init

The content of the file should look like this:

module.exports = {
	theme: {
		extend: {} ,
	} ,
	variants: {} ,
	plugins: [] ,
}

Access the src folder and add the following lines to your CSS file:

@tailwind base;
@tailwind components;
@tailwind utilities;

Finally, enter the following command in the terminal to start the build process:

npx tailwindcss -i ./src/styles.css -o ./public/styles.css –watch

Conclusion that Tailwind CSS is a framework for professionals

The popularity of Tailwind CSS is hardly surprising. Experienced developers familiar with CSS tricks will appreciate the framework enabling them to work faster and more untethered. However, beginners would be better served using an alternative because the framework is harder to learn and there’s more potential for errors.

Tip

If Tailwind CSS isn’t the right choice, there are plenty of other options. Explore our Digital Guide for a Bootstrap tutorial and check out some Bootstrap alternatives. Learn more about LESS, SASS, YAML and more.

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