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A Short Guide into Tailwind CSS

06
Oct
2023

You probably know CSS is one of the most important aspects of Web Development. Well, Front-end Development, to be precise. The thing is that CSS Architecture can be a royal pain, especially for beginners. Therefore, building responsive, awesome-looking websites can be extremely difficult and frustrating. Luckily, you can use some of the more manageable CSS frameworks available.

CSS Frameworks normally come with pros and cons, as with everything. However, no doubt they can make things simpler when used correctly. One of the most powerful and popular CSS frameworks is Tailwind CSS. There are many reasons to consider using it in your next web projects. In this post, we’ll walk you through the beauty and power of Tailwind.

What is CSS?

Let’s begin with a quick introduction to Cascading Styles Sheets (CSS) for those new to Web Development. In combination with HTML, CSS creates the first look and feel of almost any website. The main purpose of CSS is to style HTML elements, ensuring they look stunning and visually appealing to users. CSS encompasses color palettes, fonts, positions, gradients, images, transitions, animations, borders, and responsive layouts. Every visual aspect you can customize in your website involves CSS.

What is Tailwind CSS?

As mentioned, Tailwind is a CSS framework that offers pre-built tools to streamline the development process. In this case, Tailwind lays the ground for any CSS-related task, making it easy to customize your website to classes that target HTML elements. So, Tailwind involves many predefined CSS classes for almost any customization task you can think of. Its utility-first approach to CSS classes makes it reusable and single-purpose, which promotes modularity and maintainability.

How Does Tailwind CSS Work?

Believe it or not, one of the main reasons why CSS can get messy is naming classes properly. It can easily become a nightmare due to class naming conventions on a large project scale; Tailwind's beauty resides in its intuitive naming tooling. It works as a unified protocol or system that removes most of the hassle in Front-end development.

Unlike Bootstrap, you can't access classes like "button" or "card" that create the whole element. In contrast, another aspect of Tailwind CSS is its classes directly on HTML elements to make the desired component. So, you may be thinking, won't I end up adding tons of code to create components, anyway? Why don't I just stick to vanilla CSS?

Well, in a sense, that's partly right. Yet, having a standard way to name CSS classes that every Front-end Developer in the team knows can save precious time. Tailwind's approach lets you customize your elements exactly how you want. So your site won't look like hundreds or thousands of others, which normally happens when you use Bootstrap or Materialize.

Pros and Cons of Tailwind CSS

Pros of Tailwind CSS Cons of Tailwind CSS
Tailwind only sends applied classes to production, leading to smaller files and faster loading times. It requires full understanding of CSS, so it has a steep learning curve compared to utility-first CSS frameworks with built-in components
It integrates seamlessly with components-based frameworks like React and Vue, which avoids code duplication Tailwind forces you to handle all CSS aspects in HTML files, and combining HTML and CSS in the same file can be seen as counter-intuitive.
VS Code extensions and plugins let you hover over any of Tailwind classes, showing the actual CSS code and providing autocompletion features. Tailwind may take some time to implement, so it may not be the best cchoice for projects that require launching as soon as possible.
It allows you to have custom utility classes to meet your project’s needs A small web app with only a few components may defeat the purpose of using Tailwind.

Why is Tailwind CSS Useful?

Tailwind CSS is an elegant tool that sits in the middle of vanilla CSS and CSS high-level component frameworks. You have the flexibility and customization from pure CSS and don’t have to start styling from scratch. Tailwind has a rock-solid community and IDE support. In fact, it has become the second most popular CSS framework in 2023, according to OSS Insight. That makes it easy for beginners to learn to use it, especially if they understand CSS.

Besides, Tailwind uses PostCSS to eliminate unused CSS code when shipping your project to production. As a result, it provides blazing-fast performance, helping deliver stunning UIs and seamless UXs. Tailwind can also be an option for those who prefer something similar to Bootstrap. Apart from its wide range of CSS utility classes, it also offers beautiful, production-ready components and templates. You get access to everything with a one-time payment, even giving you some free components.

Conclusion

To be fair, it’s hard to think of a project in which using Tailwind CSS is a bad idea. Even if the project is small and there are only a few Front-end Developers not so great at CSS, it can still simplify things to a large extent. At the end of the day, what truly matters is providing users with tons of value that meets or exceeds their expectations. Pure CSS, Tailwind CSS, Bootstrap, Materialize, or any other tool will have pros and cons you’ll have to deal with, anyway. Overall, Tailwind CSS is a top-notch tool for building world-class products that users love.