Tailwind CSS: Advantages, Use Cases, Setup in ReactJs

Devstringx Technologies
7 min readApr 22, 2024

What Is Tailwind CSS?

According to the Tailwind CSS website, Tailwind CSS is a “utility-first CSS framework” that has some opinionated and single-purpose utility classes that can be used directly in your markup to style an element.

The way Tailwind CSS works is by looking through all your HTML files, JavaScript components, as well as any other templates for class names, generating the corresponding styles, and then writing them to a static CSS file. It’s fast, flexible, and reliable — with zero runtime.

Advantages of Using Tailwind Over Other CSS Libraries

Tailwind CSS is a utility-first CSS framework as we already said before, with several advantages over traditional CSS libraries like Bootstrap or Foundation.

1) Highly Customizable

Tailwind has a wide range of utility classes that can be combined in any way to create custom designs without having to write custom CSS. Such an approach provides more flexibility and control over the look of your website or application than pre-designed components from other libraries do.

2) Low Specificity

The utility classes by Tailwind are designed to have low specificity which means they are less likely to conflict or override unintended style. Particularly such an aspect makes managing and scaling the code base easier especially for huge projects involving multiple developers.

3) Responsive Design

Tailwind comes with responsive design utilities out of the box which makes it easy for you to develop layouts that adapt well to different screen sizes and devices. By using sm: md: lg: xl: classes, you can give specific styles at various breakpoints without writing custom media queries.

4) Performance

In fact, if compared with other CSS frameworks, namely when set up for purging unused classes during production, this manner of generating CSS files by Tailwind can result in smaller file sizes that lead to quicker load times and better performance on your website or application.

5) Developer Experience

For many developers, Tailwind’s class-based approach to styling makes for a much more streamlined development experience. Instead of constantly switching between HTML and CSS files you can apply styles directly within your HTML code which can speed up your work and reduce context switches.

6) Community and Ecosystem

There is a growing number of developers working with Tailwind who contribute plugins, extensions, and resources that improve its functionality. This ecosystem provides additional tools and integrations that can help you build better projects more efficiently.

Where can we use Tailwind CSS (Use Cases)?

Firstly we use it mainly for Frontend web development projects such as React.js, Next.js, Vue.js, Remix.js, Angular development, etc. Other applications of tailwind include:

1) Quick Prototyping

Tailwind is made for quick prototyping of new designs and features. Rather than designing CSS from scratch or hunting for pre-built components, developers can utilize Tailwind’s utility classes to style elements on the go, making for better iteration and prototyping feedback.

2) Unique Designs

For projects that have to be highly customized or have a unique visual style, tailwind works best. Because of the ability to mix and match utility classes together in virtually any way you like, developers are not bound by predefined components or styles.

3) Design Component Library

The creation of reusable collections of UI elements and styles may be facilitated through the use of Tailwind. It becomes very easy to define such components using Tailwind utility classes thus being able to reuse and customize them across multiple projects hence leading to more consistent designs as well as faster development cycles.

4) Single Page Apps (SPA)

When it comes to user interface styling in single-page applications developed with frameworks like React, Vue.js, or Angular where does tailwind come in? They can use its utility classes directly within component templates or JSX which makes their development process more seamless.

5) Build Complex Layouts and Design

Building complex layouts and design customization for e-commerce websites that demand a lot of Tailwind is convenient. By following the utility-first approach, one can easily style product listings, shopping carts, and checkout forms while making use of responsive design utilities to provide an unchanging user experience across various devices.

6) Styling the front end of CMS

Tailwind could also be valuable in styling the front end of content management systems as well as blogging platforms. Both dynamic content and user-generated content can be easily styled using utility classes, whereas its flexibility allows for ensuring brand conformity with different websites.

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Steps to Setup Tailwind in a ReactJS Project

1) The first step is to download & install NodeJS on our system by visiting https://nodejs.org/en/download

2) Now we need to open Terminal or Command Prompt on our system and type “npx create-react-app my-tailwind-project” without the quotes, then hit enter. This will create a new react project named “my- tailwind-project” (you can customize the name of your project while creating it by adjusting the project name in the npx command).

3) Next, we will open the newly created project in VS Code, and in the integrated terminal (in vs code) we type “npm start” without the quotes & hit enter to run the project on our local server.

The running project on our local server will look like this,

4) Next, we split the integrated terminal and type “npm install -D tailwindcss” without the quotes & hit enter to install tailwind in our project.

5) Now we will type “npx tailwindcss init” without the quotes & hit enter to generate the “tailwind.config.js” file which is required for our project.

This is how the newly generated file `tailwind.config.js` will look like,

6) Next, we will configure our template paths by adding the paths to all of our template files in the `tailwind.config.js` file.

7) Then we add the `@tailwind` directives for each of Tailwind’s layers in our `./src/index.css` file.

8) Lastly, we need to close the running server by pressing “Ctrl + C” in the running terminal and then restart it by typing “npm start” so that the tailwind build process can be started and we can use the tailwind classes afterward.

And that’s all we need to do to set up Tailwind in our React application. Now we can simply go ahead and start using Tailwind’s built-in classes to style and customize our components and do more.

Here’s an example where I have used tailwind classes to style a screen and some pieces of text to different colors and sizes to depict tailwind usage…

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Despite being a powerful tool to make frontend development effortless the tailwind has also demerits and limitations. Some of them include:

1) Learning Curve

Tailwind has a learning curve, especially for developers who are used to traditional CSS frameworks. It can take some time to learn how to effectively utilize its utility classes and configuration options, and there may be initial resistance from developers who prefer writing their own CSS.

2) Class Clutter

Using utility classes for styling can lead to “class clutter” in HTML markup, making it harder to read and maintain. While Tailwind provides tools for organizing and managing utility classes, some developers may find it challenging to strike a balance between readability and efficiency.

3) Limited Semantic Meaning

The meaning of Tailwind’s utility classes is functional rather than semantic-based. Although this might provide more flexibility as well as control over the styling, it can also result in less semantic HTML markup with consequences for accessibility as well as SEO.

However, many developers still choose Tailwind CSS because of its flexibility, efficiency, and ease of use. Developers can make informed decisions about when and how to use Tailwind in their projects by understanding its limitations and best practices.

Originally published at https://www.devstringx.com on April 22, 2024



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