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Why Tailwind CSS Won (matt-rickard.com)
160 points by damethos 3 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 544 comments

I find Tailwind's claim that you can "build modern websites without ever leaving your HTML" to not be entirely correct. Instead of context switching from my `.html` to a `.scss` file, I just end up context switching to their documentation website to find the syntax they used.

It's internally inconsistent, so you can't guess what the Tailwind class name is for styling, while you can do this for CSS on the majority of properties. In Tailwind, font weights are just `font-bold` for `font-weight:bold`, while font variants drop the `font-` prefix part, and become `ordinal` instead of `font-variant-numeric:ordinal`. That's not an isolated example, it does the same with text-color versus text-decoration, and text-decoration-color adheres to neither of those systems.

It's quite close to learning an entire new styling language on top of CSS. It may be the case that putting everything into the HTML is more efficient from a productivity point of view, but I don't think Tailwind's specific implementation achieves that.

It's the minor inconsistencies that prevented me from using Tailwind on any serious projects. I've never been able to get past their choice to use text-{color} instead of font-{color}.

That isn't an inconsistency, it's an intentional choice. The color of the text is an aspect of the text, not of the font. The corresponding property in CSS is color, not font-color.

But "color" doesn't apply to just text. Changing the color of an element affects the currentColor and applies to default border colors. The property name "color" makes more sense than "text-color" imho.

> The corresponding property in CSS is color, not font-color.

So why not color-{color}-{shade}?

Because text-{color}-{shade} is more descriptive of what the color affects. Again color is not an aspect of the font (which is the typeface plus styling like weight, size, etc.) so naming it font-{color}-{shade} would be technically incorrect. (You can argue that ignoring this technicality would result in a cleaner API, but the comment I was replying to was suggesting it was a mistake, which it isn't.)

One person's intentional choice is another's inconsistent mistake. I like to think that's what makes software wonderful yet endlessly frustrating.

presumably it's for consistency with other classes like `bg-{color}-{shade}` and `border-{color}-{shade}`.

I just end up context switching to their documentation website to find the syntax they used.

I don't, but I've been using Tailwind for a little while. Once you grok the syntax structure it's not that different to writing CSS.

If it's not that different, then you may as well just write CSS.

The difference is that I can write Tailwind faster, without switching files, and in a way that's always consistent with the rest of the team. That makes it worthwhile for me.

Maintaining is a different story and that is where Tailwind shines.

Maintainability is of course subjective.

Personally, I think this code looks like utter shit, and I definitely would not wish to maintain this.

    <a href="#" class="-mx-3 block rounded-lg px-3 py-2 text-base font-semibold leading-7 text-gray-900 hover:bg-gray-50">Product</a>
    <a href="#" class="-mx-3 block rounded-lg px-3 py-2 text-base font-semibold leading-7 text-gray-900 hover:bg-gray-50">Features</a>
    <a href="#" class="-mx-3 block rounded-lg px-3 py-2 text-base font-semibold leading-7 text-gray-900 hover:bg-gray-50">Marketplace</a>
    <a href="#" class="-mx-3 block rounded-lg px-3 py-2 text-base font-semibold leading-7 text-gray-900 hover:bg-gray-50">Company</a>
This isn't a pathological example constructed to undermine Tailwind either — this code is copied and pasted from their website.

To enjoy tailwind you have to install the vscode plugin so it will speed things up when searching for the right class. Also watch some short tutorial to get an overview. If you don't appreciate it after this then it really isn't for you

And for those that prefer a different editor? Just saying, if a tool then pushes you into another specific tool for maximum efficiency using it, that alone gives me pause.

> And for those that prefer a different editor?

A plugin is likely available for that, too.

I use PHPStorm a lot; https://www.jetbrains.com/help/phpstorm/tailwind-css.html

Panic's Nova? https://extensions.panic.com/extensions/jasonplatts/jasonpla...

Vim? https://vimawesome.com/plugin/coc-tailwindcss


If I made a hammer but you need a special glove to use it proficiently, then I didn’t make a very good hammer

Someone who uses a hammer all day may very well decide to use gloves - you'll see a lot of them on construction sites - and they'll probably also opt for a hard hat and safety glasses. Consider these their plugins.

I don't think that analogy holds. If my special hammer let's you go 10x as fast as a regular one, but you need to wear special gloves because otherwise it'll cause blisters, I think I still made a good hammer, just wear the gloves!

As opposed to all those other programming languages/libraries/frameworks for which noone ever benefits by installing a plugin for their editor.

You mean like welding gloves?

Missed the underlying point but I'll make it explicit - if a plugin is "needed" that is also a red flag for me.

I suspect the number of developers with zero plugins in their IDE of choice is vanishingly small.

That said, it's not needed. It's just a quality-of-life improvement, like most other IDE features. You can write a Tailwind site in Notepad, if you prefer.

Oh for sure, and devs should do what is needed to be more efficient and to make their development enjoyable. The poster I was responding to said "you have to install the vscode plugin" to enjoy using Tailwinds. So that's the specific part I was responding to.

I should have said intellisense. Without getting suggestions you do have to go to the docs a lot in the beginning and it is frustrating, but with intellisense I found myself proficient in a couple days and I was among those that din't give an opportunity to tailwind for years. I really wasted time, it works great

Haha - I enjoy tailwind and have no idea what plugin your talking about. What is the name?

Tailwind intellisense by tailwind labs

a lot of this minutiae will be handled by gpt moving forward, and keeping it all in the same file will be helpful for context

I work every day with web projects, and the notion "Tailwind won" in any capacity sounds like a thunder from a clear sky.

If we see more articles to that effect and this is not an outlier, it means the Tailwind cult is in its "red dwarf" stage, where the community becomes smaller, but denser and more convinced than ever that the entire world is a copy of their small bubble.

That's good, it means in a few years Tailwind will be considered a dead tech. Tech bubbles are so weird. It's like the tulip mania or the NFT craze. It all makes sense when you're in the bubble. While those outside are looking at it, and seeing what is clearly mass psychosis.

If you listen to Twitter: nobody uses PHP anymore, everyone's high on Tailwind, React is dying and Svelte is soon-to-be king.

Well obviously you should know better than to listen to what people say on Twitter, since it's dead.

Nah, if you follow people like Taylor Otwell, the creator of Laravel, he'll show you that PHP is still alive and well, as he buys his Lambo: https://twitter.com/taylorotwell/status/1534178479201259520

u left out htmx.org ;)

> That's good, it means in a few years Tailwind will be considered a dead tech.

And that’s good because of what, beyond your own personal preference as to your Framework Of Choice?

It is good because Tailwind actively fights the engineering choices behind the web platform, it doesn't understand them, it doesn't build on top of them in synergy and alignment, but it counteracts and nullifies them with religious fervor and zeal.

Tailwind projects read like the wall writings of a mad man, who is convinced they've discovered the secret of the Universe. And that secret is compiling absurdly large, GIGANTIC lists of CSS rules, trying to reinvent the concept of a "syntax" within the constraints of an identifier name, then copy-pasting them inline all over your HTML code, with great redundancy and repetition, obscuring the actual DOM, and then treeshaking the gigantic class lists, so your browser doesn't immediately crash while opening a basic homepage.

It's good because projects like Tailwind are built on marketing and emotion, they rely on ignorance and the web design equivalent of a "get rich quick" scheme that promises great results with no effort or skill, they seek to be viral, and when they succeed, engineering arguments about the merits of good design, or even basic logic cease to have any effect, and then these projects realign the rest of the community, so you see other projects "built on Tailwind", often not even for any reason other than it's cool to be built on Tailwind.

So as the bubble grows, you start also seeing jobs requiring "10 years of Tailwind experience" more and more often, the projects you rely on are starting to switch to Tailwind, and now you have to use Tailwind, like it or not, because everything is glued to Tailwind. If the bubble keeps growing, then we also see a myriad of "like Tailwind but for JavaScript", "like Tailwind, but for SQL", "like Tailwind, but for web services" and there's no end to how far it can go, because bubbles, driven by the aligned wide-eyed stupidity of millions of delusional people can grow to wrap around the entire industry, before they pop.

And when they pop, the damage and loss of value and productivity is immense. Having to redo big parts of an ecosystem, so you can scrub away all the millions icky sticky pieces of Tailwind mania off things, that is splattered on everything, and the smell is completely unbearable.

So. When the bubble of BS stops growing, and starts shrinking, without massive damage: it's good.

It's good. ^_O

I'm not sure I fully agree with your view on what tailwind is and why it is growing.

In my opinion, tailwind is gaining some popularity because some people find it faster and easier to use than writing traditional CSS files.

I realise it also has some downsides, and seeing all those class names in the html is particularly ugly, but if the people using it got their project out faster, then surely there is a place for it?

Technology choices, and life's choices in general are like a spectrogram of different wavelengths with positive and negative values... Like "this will help you today, but bite you in the rear tomorrow", or "this will help you tomorrow, but be annoying today". And it also varies by different conditional developments, if this happens, if that happens, can you implement a change, or the solution is "write-only" and so on.

One of the tests of intelligence is can you defer immediate gratification, so you can reap higher rewards in time that compound themselves, or you lack impulse control and therefore you essentially have the model behavior of a house fly.

This incessant focus on "here, now, me" that I see glorified, which doesn't consider at all anything outside a point in time and space that demands the impulse to be immediately satisfied... is not a good direction for tech, or for society at all. It's like choosing porn over a family.

Obviously, I'm describing a broader problem here, not just some CSS tool, but Tailwind and many of the "frameworks" we see pushed in the industry do also embody this philosophy, quite clearly. Many things do these days. Ship faster, do less, faster, faster, faster. To what end? Are your projects so worthless, that you need to ship them today and then leave hell to yourself and others few months down the line? Not to mention that all the claims Tailwind is "faster", somehow, are written in weasel language to hide the fact Tailwind adds tangible, often significant lag and load to people's devices when they use your site. Does this matter?

Of course, a fancy experiment is all good. You won't see me writing long posts about how Brainfuck is the end of humanity. But Tailwind has a good size community that actually believes their approach is superior, they're on a mission from God, and it's become viral, dragging in more and more people in, and influencing other projects into the same stupidity. What else does it mean to write a post called "Why Tailwind won". Won what? Was there a war going on? Won over what? Bootstrap? Bootstrap is a framework. Won over CSS? It runs on CSS, it's not an "alternative to" CSS, although it sure makes it impossible to use most of the benefits of CSS in a sane way. Yay, what a win.

If Brainfuck was totally serious, and you saw your company is starting to write critical projects in Brainfuck, wouldn't that give you a serious pause?

What makes you think tailwind would be hell in the future though? It's just a load of classes on html elements. Maintenance is pretty easy.

I do agree with you on the headline though, of course tailwind hasn't won anything!

First, the site uses some weasel language to speak about how much they're "focused on performance" in such a way as you think Tailwind is literally faster than doing normal CSS. It's not. It's a heavy approach and while you can always find edge cases to the contrary, in general it leads to pages that add lag and load to people's devices.

If you have a very simple page this doesn't matter, but as your site/business grows, it does.

Second, Tailwind obviously promotes a ton of repetition in the same way that using presentational attributes from the 90s and style="" does. This not only adds, again, burden to the CSS engine and DOM, but this "ease of copy pasting" that the author boasts about in the linked blog means you can easily end up with tons of subtle or not so subtle inconsistencies in your site's code and components, UI.

Copy pasting is easy. But there's a reason why we define classes, functions, modules, and reuse them, instead of copy-pasting our code everywhere. Copy pasting is a strategy for a quick start and a very short journey as you paste more and more variations of what you're trying to do around your site. Now change them all consistently. Oh shit, I guess... find/replace + regex? This works sometimes, but it's a deeply unserious approach to change management in an application/site at scale, and means your velocity and quality both will suffer.

I'm aware of the way to define custom classes as sort of "components" in Tailwind, but at this point... you're literally using Tailwind as you would CSS, but with a ton of indirection, gibberish, and very very unclear precedence/specificity rules.

You will also get many people complaining about compilation speed for larger sites. A problem that is quite bizarre to have for styling with a language that doesn't require compilation when you use it in a sane way (and SASS etc. are extremely fast and don't have this problem, there's even a Rust SASS parser I believe, that's even faster).

Tailwind also severely restricts your precision and expression. I probably don't have to explain the limitations of inline styles when those styles have to change from user interaction, or for different devices, and container size and so on. Tailwind makes all this extremely bizarre, if it addresses it at all. In "plain" CSS (and other more reasonable tools like SASS), it's trivial.

I would donate more upvotes to this multi-part tirade if I could.

I haven't used Tailwind, or any other CSS framework, because I have never understood why I would want to, having attended a talk about a similar system back in the day where styles were turned into weirdly specific CSS classes, as if they were trying to reinvent font tags. The way you've described it is pretty much what I would expect from such a thing.

And yet it's oddly familiar, because all of the 'MVC' frameworks that I've been forced to use and hated[1] seemed to come from the same design philosophy: Throw a bunch of shit code together, then build a cult around it so that people use it whether it makes any sense or not. Laravel's a great example of this because if you search the web for it you'll mostly get results saying that it's "elegant" and "for web artisans", but none of them can explain why it's better than...not using it. They even have some class in there called "Illuminate", which is ironically not very illuminating w.r.t. what the heck it is or does. As if writing code that actually makes any damn sense is everyone's biggest fear and the solution is to acquire a magic wand from one of the Framework Gods that does away with pesky old logic and predictability.

"What do you want to do, write everything from scratch?", your coworkers will say, as if we were making computer programs by banging rocks together before Laravel/Rails/Spring/Django/etc came along, and give you a blank stare if you try to explain that writing regular old well-factored OO/functional code is a thing you can do and that slathering culty frameworky paste all over everything doesn't make life any better or your programs any faster, even if said goo has "good documentation", by which they mean lots of activity on Stack Overflow because nobody can figure out how they're supposed to do anything without copy-pasting from some example that mysteriously worked for somebody one time.

[1] I don't remember much about the ones I didn't hate, because they did very little and stayed out of the way.

I suppose it depends if you're trying to build the perfect website, or just want to get something launched fast.

I usually build websites to solve a problem, or to try out a business idea. The structure of the HTML and whether I am using a web framework are not important to me.

The main thing is, can I get this finished and looking great in a few days.

I hear this argument a lot, on the surface it makes sense. We all want to ship fast. Right?

But then... I try to imagine how Tailwind allows you to style your site in a few days, but it'd take you, the same person, what... weeks, to style it with CSS? It's so ridiculous it's making me laugh out loud just imagining this somehow. As if CSS is this thing for rocket engineers that is way beyond a common man's grasp?

Seriously, how LOW is the bar, I don't get it? When is something as easy and basic as CSS... just easy enough? "property: value;" Or have you never given CSS a chance, and you were heavily gaslit by Tailwind marketing into thinking CSS is a scary monster and here comes the savior Tailwind? I can accept the latter, but this is also the reason why I find these fad frameworks such a harmful phenomenon. But I can't fathom the former.

Yes I agree. But people always move towards the tools that help them go a little faster.

Hahaha - I wonder if Tailwind is starting to take over from frameworks v no-framework as the best way to start a huge fiery debate on HN!

Tailwind is extremely polarizing, yes like frameworks, and yes like politics. This polarization tends to happen on the two sides of "reality distortion fields", where someone's propaganda on one side, doesn't match propaganda on the other side. It's like Russians believing the West is the worst, and Putin is there to save them from The Gays. Or the West casually ignoring their impact on Russia with NATO advancing to the doorstep of an old, imperialistic, paranoid regime. What are they supposed to think?

But describing this as merely "both sides have equal merit" is really crude. Because more often than not, one side tends to be closer to the truth. Maybe Tailwind has some neat ideas. In fact I'm sure it has some neat ideas. Placed carefully somewhere in the calm eye, the dead center of this tornado of bullshit that is Tailwind overall. But then again, we can't ignore the tornado of bullshit.

Reading the bloated HTML when using Tailwind is less painful than dealing with all the cascading crap of CSS.

CSS cascades whether you use Tailwind or not.

This isn't correct. Tailwind removes all the cascading. And it is liberating.

All cascading styles are removed, so if you pull in a component you have already built on your site, it will be styled identically in the new location too.

"Ship faster, do less, faster, faster, faster. To what end?"

You're on hacker news, which is pretty heavily focused on startups. Startups usually have a limited runway, wherein if they don't deliver they cease to exist. That seems like a pretty reason to ship faster?

Comparing "choose a framework that saves developer time and energy" to "choose porn over your family" seems a bit much.

> So as the bubble grows, you start also seeing jobs requiring "10 years of Tailwind experience" more and more often, the projects you rely on are starting to switch to Tailwind, and now you have to use Tailwind, like it or not, because everything is glued to Tailwind. If the bubble keeps growing, then we also see a myriad of "like Tailwind but for JavaScript", "like Tailwind, but for SQL", "like Tailwind, but for web services" and there's no end to how far it can go, because bubbles, driven by the aligned wide-eyed stupidity of millions of delusional people can grow to wrap around the entire industry, before they pop.

Ah, just like React!


If React dies I'll be sad. While most of React is BS, the "ReactDOM" component, the Virtual DOM model that is applied to the real DOM by "delta" diff, is a solid concept that deserved to live. Unfortunately we do tend to throw out the baby with the bathwater, when we decide something is uncool.

We're a very stupid species.

When has anything in tech ever actually died? I guess there will be people building sites in React forever. Haha

Does anyone, anywhere still use Coffeescript?

I think that rely on several other fact.

- Javascript evolved, so you no longer need some crazy long template to support simple sentence like class extends - TypesScript appears, and also benefit the js eco system with d.ts files. And it even become coffeescript's short coming - Editor evolved, the editing experience is far better than before. The time typing long keywords can mostly compensated by auto-complete

But what will be the pain point that react can't resolve, other framework can and out weight any other benefits? I don't see that as for now

Hahaha. Ok yes, there definitely are also some things that die.

First time: someone's opinion actually changed as a result of a brief Internet argument.

> Tailwind projects read like the wall writings of a mad man

My dear pot, you should meet my friend Kettle.

Really, this is a lot of text that sums up your personal preferences as to why you don't like Tailwind. Nothing concretely objective here. And, by the way, I agree with some of it! But you're also ignoring Tailwind is used by massive, engineer-first companies (such as Stripe), and the engineers in question actually like working with Tailwind. This idea that people who use Tailwind hate it is obvious nonsense, and it's always a significant tell that someone hasn't really produced anything with it when they start claiming that about others.

Stripe is not a dude, it's a company of many people with different skills in different areas. I also often wonder how OpenAI has a team that can create the world's top AI model currently, and yet their front-end chat app and plugin model has basic injections, usability issues, accidental user information disclosures and other novice bugs, but there you go. I guess it's possible to have a company skilled in something and stupid in another.

I think my critique was sufficiently detailed, but if you like Tailwind's approach you may enjoy it coming to your language of choice, where you can code by writing very long variable names in a highly specific way, which are then read by reflection and interpreted as code.

> if you like Tailwind's approach you may enjoy it coming to your language of choice, where you can code by writing very long variable names in a highly specific way, which are then read by reflection and interpreted as code.

No need for Tailwind; in enterprisey Java land we already have Hibernate and Spring Boot for those who like long, magical method names. And if you want an extra layer of obfuscation, drop Lombok in there.

> It is good because Tailwind actively fights the engineering choices behind the web platform, it doesn't understand them, it doesn't build on top of them in synergy and alignment, but it counteracts and nullifies them with religious fervor and zeal.

Are there any CSS frameworks that are the opposite of this?

Tailwind may be madness, but it’s manageable and maintainable madness.

The alternative is not sanity, but simply unmaintainable madness.

.NET would like a chat, and frankly, someone to finally notice and say something kind. It's been a long 20 years out in the cold.

I love tailwind, and I've been writing CSS professionally since CSS2.1. I have often debated with many developer friends why it has performed so well, and this article really missed some big reasons:

1. It's works extremely well with the current component-focused UI frameworks (react, svelte, etc). Subsequently, the verboseness that is often a complaint isn't an issue at all, but a feature.

2. Does everything out of the box, and very easy to customize.

3. And, most importantly, it allows for easy art direction. Does one button need to be a slightly different size or color for this one specific element? Chuck an extra modular class on it. No need to build a complex cascasding or edge cases. (Shout out to `tailwind-merge`)

Point 3 for me speeds up production work immensely. Also, not being in JS has shrunk bundle sizes by a small amount, which is always welcome in this era.

I agree with all of your points. I am kind of shocked that I had to scroll so far down to see point #3 on this thread at all.

CSS doesn't give the best toolset in order to do styling and organize styling. The locality of HTML structure and styling makes things far easier to work with.

I would also throw in that front end coding feels far more fickle and arbitrary. Tailwind allows me to define a set of rules and then apply them directly. It ends up being more maintainable when used in conjunction with component abstractions.

CSS cascades all the way from global to element’s style attribute

1. For component usage and in this case only restricted. You can only style the top layer of a component, not each part. But for component development, tailwind made it complex, e.g. if you want to make it possible to set / add custom styles to each sub-element.

2. Vanilla CSS too.

3. For designers with individual styling of components Tailwind is great, but not for app where elements have the same style or developed at component level.

You can use normal CSS and use @apply if that was necessary.

His first point is the same as your first point?

About point #3, I'd just like to point out that CSS layers exist.

How do you style with pseudo selectors (e.g. :hover)?

You prefix the class with hover: or focus: etc. very powerful, although this is where a lot of people start to find it gross especially when you add breakpoints into the mix.

If css had a strong opinion and better syntax for responsiveness by screen width, css frameworks were way less popular. Tailwind, bootstrap and co. aren't used to avoid writing css. It's used because writing `class="my-4 mb-sm-5 mb-lg-6"` is so much faster and easier then doing this with a bunch of media queries and a class name, that has to be unique, because css is a global scope nightmare.

I mean, just look at it. You have to write all this crap in css just to achieve `class="my-4 mb-sm-5 mb-lg-6"`:

        :root {
            --breakpoint-sm: 500px;
            --breakpoint-lg: 800px;
        .foo {
            padding: 1rem 0;
        @media (min-width: var(--breakpoint-sm)) {
            .foo {
                padding-bottom: 1.5rem;
        @media (min-width: var(--breakpoint-lg)) {
            .foo {
                padding-bottom: 2rem;

> class="my-4 mb-sm-5 mb-lg-6"

I've seen Perl code that was more readable than this.

If you know the convention it's quite easy.

I don't know Tailwind but with Bootstrap it would be m = margin, y = y axis, b = bottom, sm/lg = screen size, 4/5/6 = size

> If you know the convention it's quite easy.

This is exactly the problem. Humans write code for humans, not for tailwind specialists and bots. It should be clear and easy to read unless there is a valid reason for weird code (optimisations, hacks that don't work otherwise etc). Tailwind introduces yet another convention where it is absolutely pointless to do so.

But isn’t BEM or a custom system of CSS variables strictly worse in this regard? Instead of knowing what class=“mb-4” means in Tailwind, they now need to know what class=“news-button” means in your specific application.

class="news-button" means that it's a news button and will be styled the way that news buttons are styled. What's difficult about that?

4/5/6 what? Bananas? And what exactly is “screen size”? Does it refer to physical size, or number of pixels? Does it count width, height, or both?

These refer to customizable variables and breakpoints that everyone using the library and having done css would know and you can probably click on your IDE to get to their definition.

Personally I think that's way better than putting padding & margin in your own css classes.

It actually cuts down a lot on the custom css you need to write and also helps having a uniform design.

You're just using someone else's padding and margin classes. At least when you write your own it makes sense instead of Tailwind's alphabet soup bloat.

Not really. Tailwind lets you configure your own spacing and breakpoints. You get to pick what those numbers mean.

That's just a CSS variable. You don't need Tailwind for that.

They are CJS modules or (ideally) Typescript. CSS custom properties (variables) are slightly different.

    import type { Config } from 'tailwindcss'
    export default {
      content: [],
      theme: {
        extend: {},
      plugins: [],
    } satisfies Config
(not arguing for or against TW here)

Never said you did. I was just explaining that you aren't "using someone else's padding and margin classes".

You don't need 5 question marks to tell us you don't know what breakpoints are.

I know what breakpoints are. As far as I'm aware, there are no standard values for them.

Here, here are Tailwind's standard breakpoints:

      'sm': '640px',
      // => @media (min-width: 640px) { ... }

      'md': '768px',
      // => @media (min-width: 768px) { ... }

      'lg': '1024px',
      // => @media (min-width: 1024px) { ... }

      'xl': '1280px',
      // => @media (min-width: 1280px) { ... }

      '2xl': '1536px',
      // => @media (min-width: 1536px) { ... }
That's from the docs. https://tailwindcss.com/docs/screens

If you don't want those specific breakpoints in your project, you can override the defaults in `tailwind.config.js`.

I already know CSS, I don't want to learn another convention. I've learned Bootstrap, Tailwind, Foundation, Tachyons, Chakra, Bourbon...at each moment in time they were to be the "last" new CSS library we'd ever use.

And you write this crap `class="my-4 mb-sm-5 mb-lg-6"`hundreds of times in complex applications or `class="foo"`?

How many components in your application actually need the exact same layout tweaks in every use instance?

There are some properties of CSS that are more static across screen sizes. Colors, borders, backgrounds, font-size (debatable!), animations, and maybe even some high level layouts (12 column grid, etc).

The rest of CSS is minute positioning via padding, margins, and widths. Often you need to customize those details to use slightly different values dependent on context within the application itself. This is where utility classes shine.

Do you practice atomic design? It shouldn't be an issue for you if you do

I love tech’s endless fixes for self-induced problems.

That’s not tailwind code. Would be class="my-4 sm:mb-5 lg:mb-6"

Or, much shorter:

  .foo {
    padding: 1rem 0;
    @media (min-width: 500px) { padding-bottom: 1.5rem; }
    @media (min-width: 800px) { padding-bottom: 2rem; }

It’s worse than that, since you can’t use CSS variables inside a media query!

You absolutely don't have to name everything in CSS. Naming components is sufficient. And you already need to do that. Using good HTML markup provides you with 80% of the styling hooks you need in a component. Specificity management and flexibility can be baked in too.

As for the media queries being hard/tiresome to write, don't we have IDE auto-completion for this exact purpose?

For getting designs up and running quickly, it really is great.

Being able to think "Hmmm, I want a rounded button, with a border and a blue background" and just typing class="rounded border border-blue-600 bg-blue-500" and it's done.

With lots of UI being components now, it doesn't really matter that it is verbose - I actually find that helpful. And even if you want to have a class that you use all over the place, just use @apply and create a custom class that you can use anywhere.

One place it can be hard to use, is if you have a specific design system - then yea at that point you either work with Tailwind and modify the config to match, or you just go with standard CSS - but at that point it probably makes sense.

> Being able to think "Hmmm, I want a rounded button, with a border and a blue background" and just typing class="rounded border border-blue-600 bg-blue-500" and it's done.

I'm not a frontend developer and don't really know much about these frameworks, but how is this different from just using style="actual css"? This just feels like inline styles reinvented for whatever reason.

With inline styles you can’t do media queries (e.g., so your site can look good on both phones and desktops) or pseudo selectors (e.g. :hover).

Also, though it’s lower-level than something like bootstrap, it does have a design system. Bootstrap is like building a model from a kit, plain css is like building a model from scratch, and tailwindcss is like building a model from lego.

Yes it's like inline styling, but the difference is that with Tailwind your build has just 1 CSS class with { display: flex; } used across your HTML, rather than inline styling or decoupled stylesheets with hundreds of instances of {display: flex}. If you use a framework like React, Angular, Svelte, it makes sense because your styles are usually coupled to your components anyway.

There is a real though very niche reason why having fewer selectors is useful, speaking as someone who has run into the selector limit in IE before.

Also speaking from experience — you have to have a lot of bespoke CSS and virtually no design system / internal consistency to run into that limit (a.k.a the Movember 2013 brand refresh).

And finally, when you did run into the IE selector limit, you could just split the style sheet in two (fairly trivial if you were using Sass), because the selector limit was per stylesheet.

It's exactly the same but denser. There's no benefit that Tailwind brings that you can't get from writing your own cleaner CSS files. It's like a cult.

Yes, the only thing it does is makes writing styles slightly faster and stops you having to name every different component

Styles? Doubtful. Naming components? We have to do that anyway with how JavaScript/TypeScript frameworks work these days. Tailwind is a different way of doing it that introduces unnecessary abstractions. To me, that makes it worse than writing vanilla CSS. With CSS you don't have additional dependencies and build processes. It's just CSS.

For me, when I'm working on a layout (I'm not a designer at all) it's quicker for me to parse words that describe what I want, than to type out

style="border-radius: 5px; border: 1px solid #2563eb; background-color: #3b82f6"

Personal choice obviously, but I work with frameworks and components if I'm doing frontend stuff, so having things as a single name for something that is consistent across everywhere I use it makes it easier for me.

It's not for everyone, and that's cool.

the style attribute doesn't have the full power of stylesheets (and thus tailwind).

media queries and pseudo-elements are impossible, just off the top of my head.

Tailwind's patterns for device responsiveness are actually the most intuitive I've tried

> Being able to think "Hmmm, I want a rounded button, with a border and a blue background"

I rarely think this. It's usually “I want a button that looks like all other buttons on my site”. Vanilla CSS is great for that.

CSS classes are great for that until you need to reuse HTML and/or JS, at which point you're back to square one. People are moving to components because they solve these 3 things at once.

Tailwind is also great for this. You create components with Tailwind that make this trivial


So I still have to componentize my presentation layers to do tailwind "correctly", but instead of writing CSS in readable multiline chunks in a language every developer already knows, I need to use this cryptic one liner in any order that literally nobody can read?

What in the hell is wrong with this industry? Sometimes clever ideas aren't all that clever. Sometimes they're just dumb.

This might surprise you but most industry web development today is using components powered by a framework, and Tailwind fits in perfectly to the close coupling of styles to components.

But in components with scoped styling, you're better off just using css directly. Create a class that has all the styles you want, then use it in the HTML - nicely and cleanly separates css and HTML code.

Why do you want to separate the CSS and HTML? They’re both style info, especially in component design.

Because they're not both style info? Html is a markup language, it applies semantic structure to your content, CSS styles html.

Classes are a tool for selecting markup to style. Sure, you can create a class for every single CSS rule you write, but just because you can doesn't mean you should.

Then you're just back at regular CSS with extra steps

Yes, the biggest drawback of Tailwind is React. Or specifically, relying on components as the mechanism for style composition.

I assume OP means that for the fist button of the site, as in creating the site from 0.

In that case, you just write

    button {
      /* your styles here */
to set a precedent for all your future buttons.

In that case you end up with fifteen different variations of that button, class names like "button-cta__hero__overlay" and a smattering of !importants to defeat the cascade you can't chase down

I've never ended up with something like this.

Work in bigger teams with bespoke css. It will happen ... eventually ... without fail.

I never got how is "context switching" such a problem. I mean, can't you have like, two files opened side-by-side in different IDE panels? Is it really that hard to "look jump" from one another? This justifies the amount of overhead added by a library like this?

If I can be blunt: I find this "argument" to be lazy as **. Sorry but "context switching" is just a fancy name for "having two files opened at the same time", which shouldn't be a problem, no?

PS: And almost all the other stated advantages of this approach seem to be as low value as this one considering the implied costs.

You've never had to search through multiple stylesheets and Inspect to figure out inheritance and cascading for a CSS rule that is resisting editing? I recently had to work with another developer's codebase that had four different CSS files influencing the HTML, only to find in a fifth file an !important that was mucking everything up.

If you haven't experienced costly context switching working on FE then consider yourself fortunate.

No, the element inspector will tell you what css file the rule is coming from.

Assuming you work with a build system that can generate source maps...

This is easy and should not be a problem.

It also is the kind of help/solution that should be implemented first, before any librairies or frameworks are added.

"should" is often the enemy of "speed" even when it's the _correct_ way to build a system. I think most of us here have experienced that at businesses of varying sizes.

As I said below, I don't understand how the number of team members can impede our capacity to activate source maps. Again, I may be wrong so go ahead and tell me if that's the case.

Have you worked on a FE team with 5 or more people?

There's a lot that is easy and shouldn't be a problem when you get to define the scope and technologies and shared conventions used.

Yes, I have. And I don't see how it can impact the feasibility and easiness of activating source maps.

I may be wrong, though. Don't hesitate to correct me if that's the case.

I'm not particularly interested in arguing the specifics of a solution, my point is that on a larger team especially where an individual does not get to define the approach, I'm surprised that you haven't run into issues with context switching or hunting.

But regarding one of your specifics, for example you said "the kind of help/solution that should be implemented first" before frameworks are added.

On the teams you've been on, was it easy for a developer (especially a junior) to say "Hey, we should really be implementing X, and we should have done it before I joined the team, can we restructure at this point?"

Well, I'd say yes, we welcomed and considered any proposition made by our team members, junior or not. The CTO makes the final decision. But if it's a good idea, it'll be included in the workflow, yes. Source maps would be a good example of this. And it's not hard to include in my experience, even more when considering the added value.

And, yes, I've had problems in the past with hunting rules as you say. But it's been a good long while since it happened.

Well, this is bad CSS indeed. But it does not have to be that way. A little linting with Stylelint can make sure this does not happen. As an added bonus there are less dependencies and complexity.

I suppose one of the good things that Tailwind does is it stops you having to name every element and all the different variations. So you don't end up with wrapper, container, container-thin, image-wrapper etc etc.

But you really don't have to do that. Naming components only (as you already are) really is sufficient. And yes, specificity and flexibility can easily be managed/included with CSS, particularly now, with all the new widely supported features/selectors.

These solutions to an old "problem" are lighter, simpler and easier to maintain in the long run.

If you're curious, I'll be pleased to give you more concrete examples!

Most of my HTML/CSS skills were formed when these things did not have good built-in solutions.

As someone who just wants to hack together a responsive blog that looks nice, the things that are now “simpler and easier in the long run” have not been easy or obvious to come by when looking for resources, and while I’d love a deep knowledge of CSS, the investment in time doesn’t make sense given my use case. This is why I gravitated to Tailwind - learn the conventions of the utility classes (only took a few minutes) and the rest mostly just works.

I’d love something like http://vanilla-js.com/ but for modern CSS. Something that paints a crystal clear picture about what can be done, and how to do it without bringing in $framework.

I understand this perfectly and is maybe the argument I have the most sympathy for.

And, because you are absolutely right, I'm working right now on something like what you propose.

The only way to convince people that CSS is a better (as in lighter, simpler, more efficient, etc.) solution than a framework like this, is to show and prove that it is. Arguments can only go so far...

So, as the saying goes, I'll be putting my money where my mouth is. Hehe.

If you need someone to test your content, I'll very happily raise my hand and provide feedback if desired.

Awesome of you to start a project like this.

Yeeah! That is really great to read!

If you are ok with sharing an email address or a website, I'll be sure to give you a heads up when the site is up and running.

Thank you for the kind and useful offer!

You bet! You can reach me at the email in my profile.

Perfect! I certainly will.

It's worse than that. Tailwind imposes a ton of context switching by putting the style inline with you data. It's just that this switching happens when working on the data, instead of on the style.

> It's just that this switching happens when working on the data, instead of on the style.

You mean you have to think about how the data you're styling looks while actually looking at the data you're styling? Sounds terrible. /s

You have to think about how the data looks like while you are editing the data. But I do think my comment was clear.

Your comment was really not clear to me at all, so I think I’m missing something. Where is the context switch here?

To me, context switching is about changing what I’m currently looking at on the screen and going somewhere else to define something in some other context: a different source file, a different system, a config file, etc.

If you’re continually leaving the context of the HTML that will render your data in order to manipulate that data, that sounds like a different problem that can easily be solved by using mock data or by hooking up to a real data source. This is true regardless of CSS approach.

I think Tailwind is more accessible to many[*] less experienced or CSS-oriented developers. Big generalisation, I know, please don't yell at me, but many of us can get 99% of Tailwind's value with UI libraries supporting:

1) style encapsulation,

2) colocated presentation/content/behaviour and

3) a more minimalist mindset/habits when building UIs (e.g. relying on simpler styling hierarchies, native DOM elements, semantic HTML instead of div soup).

[*] not all, it doesn't mean that it doesn't make "senior" (whatever that means) devs more productive or that if you're using Tailwind you'll lose your 10x dev of the month badge. But, CSS is a misunderstood yet very flexible language which means it can be used or abused in a huge variety of ways.

>I think Tailwind is more accessible to many[*] less experienced or CSS-oriented developers.

Umm... How? You have to know CSS and be quite proficient to understand how to map it to Tailwind. I don't understand this claim at all.

This is called a leaky abstraction.

I believe I'm convinced that if an abstraction is leaky then it's garbage.

For instance, if I really needed to know say, jvm assembler to code Java then Java would be garbage as an abstraction layer because it would simply be creating problems where they need not be.

Java however is clean, which makes it useful. I don't need to know the next level down. C is clean. JavaScript is. PHP is.

Tailwind is not. Many frameworks are not. They promise benefits but deliver complexity and programmers get invested into the system and then can't see the reality because it's a classic cult effect of giving emotional salience to a lie.

Eventually it collapses and a new one is formed.

And for some unknown reason, this. Shit. Does. Not. Stop.

It's really exhausting. Been programming nearly 30 years. So sick of it.

It would be like if I did say medicine and every 3 months or so the medical community started tripping over itself by believing in the latest weird quack with orgone energies and magnets and started writing prescriptions to their patients about chakras or astrology and then being shocked, like actually genuinely surprised when it all collapses.

Why do people run around like a bunch of frenetic teenagers to manufactured hype cycles in programming? Can we please fucking stop. Honestly.

I don't view Tailwind as an "abstraction" in the same way that you might say Java is an abstraction over the JVM. If I'm writing Java then I'm only thinking about how Java works, not about the implementation details of the JVM. But when I write Tailwind I'm still very much thinking about the underlying CSS properties. Tailwind just gives me a much more convenient way to add the CSS styles that I already know, with significant reduction to my mental overhead.

It hadn't occurred to me that people might be learning Tailwind as if it's a replacement for having to learn or understand CSS. If you treat it that way then you're bound to have a bad time, much like people who treat git as a series of commands to be memorised without any understanding of git's underlying data model.

I'll also admit that I've only ever used Tailwind on small-to-medium sized solo projects, so I don't know how it would hold up on a big team. But then the CSS has been an agonising, unmaintainable mess on every big collaborative project I've ever worked on even without Tailwind, so what is there to lose?

> But then the CSS has been an agonising, unmaintainable mess on every big collaborative project I've ever worked on

That's the other thing, tools are a really poor shortcut to competency and in practice just reflect the same level of mastery that caused the initial headache except with a different set of tools.

This isn't pure. Some things are genuinely less insane than others.

As an analogy, higher quality brushes, paint and canvases will make you a better painter but buying new brushes isn't going to be part of becoming the next Monet. Consumption isn't going to get you there.

The real competency as you point out, come at higher level coherency, which frankly takes about 5-10 years to get any good at. It's a cognitive mastery that's mostly independent of tools.

People want to seek out better tools as a proxy for the hard earned talent. It might get you further but at some point, knowing what you're doing is the only way to go.

It sucks. It's hard. It's frustrating. It's always changing and it's also unavoidable.

N=1 but this is not true for me specifically. I'm a data guy, built my last professional web site in 2015 but build stuff for fun to this day.

I grok flexboxes and responsive design through Tailwind more than I ever did in those years.

I could certainly learn more pure CSS but there's no need at this point. I am happy and productive in my ignorance.

What's up with the colocation argument? Colocation of markup and business logic makes a lot of sense.

Colocation of presentation? Why do you even need that? Presentation is abstracted into CSS by design.

Having presentation decoupled allows you to abstract around visual elements on a page at their instead of having to sufficiently wrap everything in divs classes just to the right level to make the CSs classes work.

The decoupling of CSS and HTML is a lie.

HTML describes layout, not just content.

Your overall structure is going to be vastly different whether you use flex or grid. And if you don’t want to write overly clever CSS you’re wrapping your dt/dd pairs in divs or you put dummy elements into your sections to control where the anchor links scroll to etc. And don’t get me started on non-hierarchical layout relationships.

HTML is not flexible enough and CSS is not expressive enough for this theoretical separation to hold in practice. You would need a translation layer between pure content and layout for this to be true (like XSLT).

I never suggested decoupling html and CSS, that is always going to be coupled through selectors.

What I suggested was decoupling presentation (actual CSS rules) from structure, the blocks of html.

What I'm discussing here is if CSS rules should be inlined in html, whether through tailwind pseudo css or style tags the result is the same.

Further caveat, the article mentions that switching to a CSS file is a context switch. Put it in a style tags next to your html for all I care, colocation is great as a general rule, inlining CSS in html style attributes is not.

This is settled thinking at this point: inlining CSS results in short term benefits to productivity at the cost of long term costs due to brittle presentation that is expensive to change.

And given how low the cost of extracting reusable css classes is these days, I don't think tailwind will ever win.

> Presentation is abstracted into CSS by design.

The structure of your HTML is as integral a part of the presentation as your CSS is.

Yes, it defines the structural bounds your CSS is able to manipulate. It doesn't dictate how it needs to be manipulated other than a rough idea about what things will render out in what order. (I'd hardly call that presentation)

The key point here is that CSS exists precisely because html markup isn't enough on its own to style itself. If it was, CSS wouldn't exist.

The idea that something like tailwind can come in with a bunch of fine grained CSS classes and solve this inate complexity is laughable at best and wildly unprofessional at worst.

It just shows a complete lack of understanding about what html is and isn't and why CSS even exists in the first place.

Fwiw, I get it. Tailwind is a neat shorthand script you can use to pump out trash you'll never look at again. For the rest of us doing actual work on things that we'll need to modify 6 months from now I'd much prefer something readable that I can actually have a hope of modifying even if a teammate wrote the thing.

In terms of skillset, I’m mostly a backend guy (of 20 years or so). I know my way around HTML and CSS, and I have a decent eye for design, but it’s not my primary focus.

I recently started a writing project, and found myself unhappy with choosing a standard blog theme, and decided to build my own.

For this purpose, Tailwind has been incredible. I don’t have plans to become a front end dev, and investing significant time in improving my CSS skills is not a good use of time for what will be a fairly small project. It gives me more flexibility than frameworks like Bootstrap while still offering a lot of the productivity benefits. It lets me explore concepts and ideas that I otherwise wouldn’t have the skills to play around with.

This thread reads like most $language/$framework/$os holy wars. There is an awful lot of hatred over a perceived lack of “purity”, or because of the perceived superiority of other approaches. Like most of these technology debates, the extreme binary positions really miss the value that can be found in the middle. Tailwind has been great for getting ideas out of my head to see how they look, and for staying focused on the content that I’m planning to write instead of getting stuck learning about browser edge cases.

If I start focusing more of my time on building UIs, I’ll invest more deeply in CSS.

I’m also fairly convinced that many of the negative comments filled with disgust at the resulting syntax have never tried it. After about 10 minutes, the conventions start to become obvious, and I can write visual elements mostly at the speed of thought. This is really quite enjoyable.

I’m also not suggesting it’s the right tool for every job. But the lack of nuance in much of the discussion here is pretty disappointing for the HN community.

I personally feel that the future of the (useful) web depends on more people choosing to do their own thing. Tools that lower the barrier to entry and simplify content creation will always be important.

This is a good list. I would also add:

* It removes the burden of having to come up with class names, and the mental overhead of deciding whether to create a new class or rely on the C in CSS. When writing plain vanilla CSS there's always a sense of friction and a need for careful planning (often resulting in me procrastinating it). That whole process is eliminated with Tailwind and I can just start styling the element immediately.

* The fact that you can see immediately how an element is styled. No hidden, detached or indirect styling whatsoever.

Surprised to see your comment as the only one mentioning these points. Not having to make up class names (and groups of class names – ”-container”, ”-inner”, anyone?) that are anyway only used once is the greatest liberation I’ve had in my 20+ years of web development.

For styles that are reused a lot I just create small & composable components (which are also defined by the Tailwind classes so they match distances & colors). But there are typically just a handful of these in a project.

Gray beard's 5c: Tailwind is a farce and a catastrophe.

It's as modern as the style parameter is, and it's as reusable as a moving a dirt pile from one corner to the next.

You're not learning anything valuable by learning Tailwind. Learn CSS, that will stick with you for the next 20 years.

It amuses me when a library is implemented 'with tailwind', which means it's totally useless to the people _not using tailwind_, and excruciating to clean up.

Go ahead, downvote me to hell, I'll see you in 5 years.


Let's say things how they are: Tailwind is a small catastrophe from an implementation, performance and maintenance point of views.

It got few things quite well in being a more modern bootstrap, had a stellar marketing and it's color palettes are really well done and leagues above the default material ones.

...that being said...

Tailwind's biggest pro is that it allows people that _don't_ know css that much to style stuff more consistently and easily. But that's where it ends.

Sadly there's a lot of issues when it comes to maintenance. Any small update in tailwind will break your application. !important s are shoved pretty everywhere, they will unavoidably clash, prompt you to override even more styles.

There's yet another complication with tailwind: the moment you want to do something more complex with tailwind or that it clashes with its own styles/rules you're in a bad corner where you need to know bot advanced css AND tailwind.

None of this mirrors my experience whatsoever. That’s “how things are” for me.

I know CSS very well and Tailwind is probably the largest productivity boost I’ve encountered since, I don’t know, learning vim? It’s way faster than SASS/SCSS which is itself way faster than raw CSS.

It also yields far more self-contained and more readily composable components than any other styling mechanism.

Your comment doesn’t resonate with my experience at all.

Agreed. I've been using CSS for over two decades now. The composibility, reusability, and maintainability benefits of CSS have just never materialized outside of some very tight scopes such as toy projects or single developer projects as far as I've seen. And we pay heavy costs having half of the context of whatever we're working on living in an entirely separate file (any generally multiple discrete areas within that file or even multiple files) in a way that's poorly discoverable and debuggable.

Tailwind finally throws in the towel on all of that and just brings the full functionality of CSS to inline styles and leaves reusability up to whatever framework and templating you're using on top of HTML/CSS.

When I walk into a project using Tailwind I spend way more time actually working on _the project_ and way less time looking at the browser devtools trying to disentangle and chase down the complex web of interacting styles that are somehow working on the markup. Everything I need to know is already in front of my face directly attached to whatever element it's related to.

It is another thing to learn but it's pretty darn straightforward and well documented. Coming from a solid CSS background it took in the manner of hours before it clicked in my head and I was productive. And that largely translates to whatever project I'm digging in to instead of having to spend a bunch of time learning each project's bespoke styling system.

Tailwind is way less technically elegant than CSS, but the technical elegance of CSS has always seemed more lofty and academic than anything.

This resonates quite well with my experience.

If you understand CSS well and you’re using TW, you will ~never have to go chase down some crazy style cascade via the inspector.

No amount of understanding CSS can save you from that in a complex CSS/SCSS codebase, because it’s how CSS is meant to be used.

Yeah it wasn't until I was reflecting and writing that comment that I realized _I don't remember the last time I had to look at CSS in the dev tools_ and how much better my life is for it.

Maybe I just suck at CSS. I mean, I've been using it for decades, but maybe I'm too stupid to actually understand it. And maybe it's the same story for everyone else I've ever worked with and that's why my experience with it has never lived up to the ideals.

... but if that's the case then at this stage of my career, with vast and varied accomplishments behind me, I think that says more about CSS than about me.

This, to me, is the best description in this thread of what I like about Tailwind and what makes it click for me. Well put.

I think I'm pretty good at CSS and have been using it for maybe 15 years.

I find tailwind just makes my life easier. Sure, it's not perfect, but I really don't enjoy giving every div and container it's own unique name and hoping none of the names ever clash with my colleagues unique names etc.

Also, I came to realise that websites never strictly follow the same design rules throughout. There are always exceptions. So you are constantly creating new style classes that are slight modifications of others. And keeping this all in your head is not easy.

I know a lot of people disagree and feel like tailwind is a problem, but for me I can just concentrate on making a great site rather than worrying about how a slight change to the styles inside .container might break some obscure part of my website.

You don't need to give every div and container a unique ID. Why ever do that? Many things never need their own ID.

Are tons of divs and containers needed? When I find myself needing containers I usually find out I've not been thinking about arrangement very well.

If the options are "never encounter a problem" versus "when I encounter a problem I realize that it's actually a superficial symptom of a more substantial problem someone made hours/days/weeks/months ago," I will take the former 100% of the time.

Assigning an ID to every single element means never encountering a problem? I imagine that results in everything being a special case, much of the point of CSS missed, and in this special case Tailwind might even work as it's consistent with everything being a mess.

Well it certainly means never encountering odd and complex style cascades, but Tailwind avoids that problem altogether without requiring IDs for everything.

This is where I wish we still have upvote numbers on HN. How many people agree with you vs parent and grandparent comment?

I've been doing web dev since I was a kid in mid 2000's and I think tailwind is phenomenal in enforcing style, portability, speed, etc. I recently started to writing a single .html file proof of concept for something and it was shocking how poor the experience is of `style="..."` is in comparison, or making up classes as you go.

Utility classes aren't new to TW.

Parent comment didn't claim they were new to TW.

My experience mirrors yours 100%. What the parent comments seem to be describing are Tailwind in a context where people don’t know CSS that well. Yes, that will be a catastrophe. But so will SASS or vanilla CSS — even more so. Tailwind is a utility, not a replacement for fundamental knowledge.

On the other hand, people that know CSS very well will not need suddenly tailwind to get some utility classes.

There are tons of people who are perfectly proficient in CSS who are not won over to utility classes. As you become more won over, you start writing files full of utility classes that… wait for it… someone else has already written! With huge coverage over CSS! And really good defaults! And lots of escape hatches!

And to top it off, nothing guarantees your colleagues are actually going to use those instead of creating their own ad hoc “semantic CSS” or whatever their preference is.

If you decide you’re a utility-only frontend, then… there’s a great tool for that!

So now why on earth are you still plugging away at that utils.css?

And people that know (Python|Ruby|PHP|Go|Etc) don't need the framework to implement a web app, yet we use them anyway.

What is the value of reimplementing a bunch of this if it already exists? What's the value of having every developer learn some poorly-documented in-house system when we can use one that's already out there with full documentation, examples, references on StackOverflow, etc?

As a programmer that likes to paint, I think the difference is that web pages are a visually artistic medium. Artists that have unique fine detailed visions often feel the need to use low levels tools to perfectly achieve those visions. I guess this this applies more to individuals than teams however.

I've been writing CSS since 2009 and I love Tailwind. It allows me to very quickly build UI that has a consistent look and feel without having to stop and think.

“If you know <insert underlying technology> then you can just make <higher level, more productive technology>” isn’t a great take

Yeah, I wrote CSS without Tailwind for 15 years. I don’t need it. I’m just 10x more productive with it. If you don’t want to learn new things that’s fine.

I was resistant to Tailwind for a long time, and recently I decided to try it on a recent project. IMO it lives up to its reputation and has changed the game for me.

The biggest pro for Tailwind is that it is exceptionally well designed. Aside from adding one single custom style to the Tailwind configuration, I have not needed to venture outside of the system it provides despite writing many bespoke components.

Could you explain the performance problem ? I understand how you could get to the other claims, even if i disagree.

But i sincerely do not understand the performance one. If anything tailwind approach is mostly really good for performance, as rendering utility class directly on the element is still the fastest, by far, technique.

The only slight call here could be shadow dom scoped but that necessitate declarative shadow dom and create a lot of problem for performance until we get a fetch maps equivalent to import maps.

What have I missed?

You haven't missed anything. I swear, every time I read a thread on here about Tailwind I feel like I'm taking crazy pills. So far I've heard:

  1. Tailwind allows you to not learn CSS (not even remotely true)
  2. Tailwind is hard to move away from (what?!)
  3. Tailwind has performance issues (lol)

something something 3rd party dependencies bad for (?) reasons

>> Tailwind's biggest pro is that it allows people that _don't_ know css that much to style stuff more consistently and easily. But that's where it ends.

I'm considering advocating for a move to TW at work. Most of the devs _don't_ know CSS well enough to style stuff consistently and easily. We have very complicated cascades, and sibling style imports, and "semantic" class names.

Sure, maybe the answer is "level up your teams' CSS expertise." But I'm looking for something more pragmatic than that. I don't know if TW is ultimately the right tool I'm looking for, but the underlying ideas it uses are very appealing for this use case.

Try Tailwind. I was a complete hater before I sat down and committed to one week project with it and I am frankly ashamed at how off my assessment was prior to using it.

Yeah it sounds like one of the cases where using tw could be good.

I think Tailwind could be made good for usage at enterprise scale, for example, as a customisable foundation for a branded design system.

If for example Figma offered first-class support for Tailwind-like utility classes in the form of a modernised "styles" or "composite tokens" feature, then mapping from a design system to Tailwind-based code could be pretty simple.

But right now, it's anything but. In my experience, designers simply aren't aware of the Tailwind structure, and it's hell trying to map their mental model onto Tailwind. Figma is built to design things that map easily to CSS at the attribute level, not the class level.

How's any of that unique to Tailwind?

One of the things that tailwind achieves is let you ship style in a way that is encapsulated within components and works reliably across any framework (including server-side rendering frameworks, react, svelte etc).

That's not unique to tailwind.

Does it need to be unique to be useful?

What other approach gives you that?

> Tailwind's biggest pro is that it allows people that _don't_ know css that much to style stuff more consistently and easily

I have never understood this claim. You need a good understanding of CSS to use Tailwind effectively because it is CSS.

It’s not an alternative technology, it’s essentially just an alternative syntax—one that naturally leads away from footguns that many teams end up battling, like fragile CSS that everyone is scared to change.

You could just as easily define the utility classes yourself every time you need one, it’d just be a lot more work.

I think this always gets summarized as:

Tailwind is a pretty good framework for people who want to practice atomic CSS easily, and it is a bad framework for anyone trying to avoid that pattern.

The pros and cons of atomic CSS can then be argued about elsewhere.


You're not learning anything valuable by learning Tailwind. Learn CSS, that will stick with you for the next 20 years.

You can't use Tailwind without knowing (quite a lot of) CSS. There's nothing in Tailwind that makes CSS easier or that obfuscates the technical understanding you need to make things with CSS. If you want to make a horizontal flexbox layout knowing "display: flex; flex-direction: row; flex-wrap: wrap;" or "flex flex-row flex-wrap" are functionally identical. You need to know what either the CSS or the Tailwind classes are doing to use them, and there's a one-to-one mapping between them. If you learn one then you know both. It's literally just a shorthand notation, or in a few places the equivalent of a macro.

I don't imagine Tailwind is going to last another 20 years, but I do believe that people will use 'utility first' CSS libraries like it from now on. No one is going back to writing plain CSS unless they have no choice. CSS is becoming increasingly capable, and with that increasing complicated. People choose Tailwind because it affords you all the power of CSS with a somewhat less arcane syntax. Why would anyone stop using that?

I do have a caveat though: I actually think Tailwind is the CSS equivalent of jQuery. In 5 years or so a browser is going to add a Tailwind style notation to its engine, and people will be able to use it without needing an external library. In that sense, yes, Tailwind will die, because browser developers will see the benefit is so significant that they'll adopt it as well.

Except when using Tailwind, you're learning Tailwind nomenclature and syntax and approach - which really isn't modern CSS, at all.

Today's CSS - if anyone would take the time to actually learn it as they do JavaScript - doesn't need something like Tailwind to make it powerful, scalable and manageable.

I write plain CSS today, which is then scoped to components or bundles of interactivity, and all of those point to major, top-level control sheets that help determine the mode (light/dark/high contrast) and the theme. We tweak small changes up high to effect large platform changes throughout, saving time, energy and headache of the hunt/peck exercise.

I don't understand the statement "no one is going back to writing plain CSS" because plain CSS today _is complex_. It is a beast. But it is still "plain" CSS. Yes, it has evolved, it has grown, and it meets today's modern needs with excellent results.

CSS nesting is coming up soon: https://caniuse.com/css-nesting That will more than likely allow me to migrate any projects I have with Sass still in play, to remove Sass. One more dependency removed. Done.

So there's really no need for Tailwind if you know how to build with modern CSS - with the one caveat that if a project _already_ has Tailwind in it, it is a bear to work with/alongside.

That to me is the biggest con with Tailwind: it gets in your way when you don't need it.

I write plain CSS today, which is then scoped to components or bundles of interactivity, and all of those point to major, top-level control sheets that help determine the mode (light/dark/high contrast) and the theme. We tweak small changes up high to effect large platform changes throughout, saving time, energy and headache of the hunt/peck exercise.

I do similar things with Tailwind, making global changes by updating a config file instead of a base CSS file. It's not hard and it works well. To be honest, it's not something that really comes up very often. I don't see this as a particular advantage of Tailwind or CSS. I care much more about the day-to-day dev experience.

Prior to using Tailwind I spent about 20 years trying every system you can imagine to manage styles across large websites/apps. I still use the skills I learned when Tailwind doesn't cover an edge case I need. It's fine. Before that I spent about 5 years doing the same with tables and font tags (Adobe Pagemill was awesome). Of all the systems I've used, Tailwind is the easiest to keep neat and tidy. Maybe I'm a terrible dev and other people find CSS really easy to manage, but having spent two decades talking about it with other frontend engineers I'm reasonably certain that's not a common skill. Tailwind makes life much easier for most people.

One more thing I find baffling is the preference to ignore the cascade… and seeing it as a benefit.

The cascade is where the value of CSS comes from! It’s an incredibly powerful concept.

I use and love the Inverted Triangle CSS (ITCSS) approach and write a fraction of the CSS code I used to.

Having a few utility classes, using variables for project-specific colors, breakpoints, spacing, using fluid typography, grid, and flexbox, make writing well-structured minimal CSS code a pleasure.



One more thing I find baffling is the preference to ignore the cascade… and seeing it as a benefit.

Tailwind styles cascade just like any other CSS rules. No one is ignoring it. The reason it might appear not to is because Tailwind uses layers (https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/CSS/@layer). Technically it's a polyfill at the moment, but v4 will use the native @layer syntax.

If anything Tailwind is actually better at using the cascade than most plain CSS approaches.

Cool hot-take but it’s not true. You’re literally learning CSS when you learn tailwind. And no one (good) picks up a tool solely because it’s shiny, they pick it up because they find it has utility, which evidently LOTS of people do.

And if you don’t think it’s reusable then you at least need to bring an argument for why that’s so because the docs, personal anecdote, and the opinion of LOTS of people is completely opposite.

So: - You ARE learning CSS, you’re just putting it where it belongs: on the element it affects - It’s modernity doesn’t matter at all - It’s literally as reusable as raw CSS

I can’t downvote you, but you’re definitely wrong.

> And no one (good) picks up a tool solely because it’s shiny

The amount of cargo culting going on right now is at an all time high. People do stuff all the time that makes no goddamned sense and is defended by, “well Google is doing it!” You are not Google and you never will be.

>The amount of cargo culting going on right now is at an all time high.

In fairness, CSS is such a mishmash of things that it lends itself to cargo-culting.

You can fit the number of people who are exclusively CSS experts in a van and still have room for their luggage. Everybody else is going "that's cool, how do I do that?" and then copy/pasting it.

I mean, hell, it was years before you could reliably vertically center stuff with CSS (that we were doing with table-based layouts since the 90s). And considering the number of wonky layouts I've seen in what should be professionally done mobile Web sites, it's clear that it's hardly a Done Thing.

The nerd in me really likes SCSS, because I can more or less wrap my mind around it, but I get the Tailwind way as well. As a developer, CSS is way down my list of things to know intimately. Whatever I have to do to keep things moving, I'm good with it.

Emphasis on "good". I don't classify developers who base their decisions on "Well Google is doing it" as "good".

I vehemently disagree. When you're using tailwind, you're learning Tailwind, which is using CSS in absolutely the unequivocally anti-CSS way.

CSS was meant to cascade; it's what the damn 'C' stands for, and if you cannot understand the efficiency of the cascade, at scale, you are most definitely missing the entire point of CSS.

I have personally built ui libraries for boutique firms and enterprise (Apple) firms and guess what we did _not_ use in any of those instances? Tailwind. Because it's an utter toddler to manage and very definitely not efficient in its application.

There's a strong contingent of developers who would argue that the global-by-default aspect of CSS was a mistake. Hence nested selectors in Sass/SCSS, CSS modules, and so on.

Styles applied by Tailwind classes cascade. The library just makes it (intentionally) difficult to define a class that will easily collide with others.

Actually, the "C" in CSS stands for "Mistake". Cascading styles are not a good idea, and Tailwind encourages using styles in a way that makes sense for a component-first web.

If you want to cascade all your styles all the way down, by all means go for it. However, I aim for readable / scalable styles rather than dogmatically "cascading" everything just because it's in the name.

Yeah, I always describe tailwind as a lightweight classname-based abstraction over native css rules. It's a _good_ abstraction because it doesn't obfuscate the actual css rules; you're still wielding css when you use it. Colocating styles with components using short hand for css rules is brilliant and now that I've tasted it, I'm averse to our tradition of hiding things behind a bunch of subjective class names in a different file. Not too mention the optimization of removing unused styles based on the classnames used. Tailwind is good

Senior Staff grey beard: Counterpoint: The C in CSS stands for Cascading.

So you’re not learning CSS. You’re learning Tailwind specific classnames that expand to non-cascading style rules.

This is not true. There's no way to create a "non-cascading style rule" unless the style rule already doesn't cascade. You still have to understand the cascade in order to use Tailwind.

> You still have to understand the cascade in order to use Tailwind.

Can you expand? I haven't used Tailwind, but from looking at the docs, it looks like a short-hand syntax for writing inline styles. Not exactly the same since it can take advantage of media queries and other things that you can't do with inline styles, but close enough conceptually.

Where is the cascade with Tailwind? Perhaps I completely misunderstood how it works, but I would say that it feels like it's purposefully trying kill cascading.

There are two different things people could be referring to when they mention the "cascade".

One is CSS style inheritance. So if I do this:

  <div class="text-blue-500">
The `text-blue-500` style is going to cascade down to the descendent elements. That's just how CSS works and there's no getting around it.

The other usage of the term applies to a style of writing CSS that makes use of this cascade. So something like this:

  .card {
    color: darkgray;

  .card .header {
    font-size: 20px;
I think what people are referring to in this thread is the latter, which is not the cascade, but a particular approach to CSS.

I mean, the top just happens because color has 'inherit' by default. The latter is specificity, and normally what I think of when I hear "cascading". But, it turns out that isn't cascading either [0].

Cascading refers to the order stylesheets have priority when loaded by the browser. Going to have to update my definitions for the future. I always thought cascading referred to how specificity worked.

Edit: no wait, specificity is part of cascading, cascading refers to the entire process of determining which style applies, including specificity. Inheritance on the other hand is not part of cascading. My definitions were right, don't need to relearn anything.

[0] https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/CSS/Cascade

>But, it turns out that isn't cascading either

The order in which stylesheets are loaded and it's origin is just part of the cascading algorithm. See the "Cascading order" section https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/CSS/Cascade#cas...

In truth everything mentioned above is part of the overall cascade. CSS takes almost everything into account - stylesheet ordering, rule ordering, rule specificity, etc.

Mid level beard: Tailwind makes most sense in an app developed with components.

So the cascade still happens, just in a different way.

You're not the first person to mention that, to which I counter: Cascading is a mistake in today's component-first web. It works at a very small scale, and _sure_ some things should be cascaded—which Tailwind absolutely lets you do. But 80% of your styles are going to end up scoped to their component—so you might as well use a tool that leverages that concept to its fullest extent.

All my "hard opinions" aside, I have anecdote that no amount of facts can change—I build things faster, more maintainably, that look BETTER than anything I did before Tailwind. Until those pillars stop being true—Tailwind will have my heart.

the cascade has as many benefits as it has drawbacks, few people like to juggle specificities.

IMHO the only important application of the cascade is in its original purpose: custom user defined stylesheets (today often via browser extension or adblockers), but you can add proper descriptive attributes to your markup for them.

In today's uses, cascade _with_ custom properties (the vars defined within :root ) are powerful and are what I leverage when providing theme-able ui libraries. Dark mode, light mode, large mode can all be solved using custom properties which to me most exemplify the power of the cascade.

that is inheritance not the cascade: Inheritance allows for DOM nodes to use properties set on their ancestors, the cascade algorithm is how multiple conflicting rules interact and are overwritten.



Custom properties are by default inherited by all descendant nodes (they also interact with the cascade, but it is less relevant) and this can be used with tailwind in a couple of different ways: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/64872861/how-to-use-css-...

Styles applied by Tailwind cascade like any other styles.

Most CSS codebases just like most JS codebases are low quality. This is a reflection of process more than anything else.

TailwindCSS puts a bottom threshold to the low quality - it guarantees a minimal level, regardless of what the rest of the codebase looks like.

This comes at the cost of general (but limited) messiness and guaranteed lack of maintainability.

I don’t use it but if I was on a team where engineers don’t talk to each other I probably would.

yeah i'm only able to use tailwind because i know the fundamentals of CSS

This has been my general opinion on Tailwinds all along. When it first came out I thought it was kinda harmless, it's basically like some of the utility classes that always inevitably get made/used and that's great.

But this idea that all styling should be done in HTML is antithetical to the whole reason CSS came to be in the first place, IMO. I can see why people like it to an extent, but I just don't really get the arguments that switching files to write CSS is "context switching" that makes things harder. If you need to see both your HTML and CSS at the same time then get a bigger monitor (mostly kidding).

I just still see that well crafted HTML and CSS work together, make sense, and especially with all the new tools available in CSS, just isn't that hard to get right. Well structured HTML is the biggest pain point I see for those that struggle against CSS. Learn that, the cascade, learn how to encapsulate styles (there are plenty of good patterns) and it will flow just fine.

I stayed away from Tailwind for the exact reasons you described until i joined a company that used it heavily and now I really see the value of it. I’m weary of new tools and cargo cult but Tailwind won me over.

It really shines for apps that are changing rapidly and are at risk for generating dead CSS, which has been a problem in pretty much every commercial codebase I’ve ever worked on. Tailwind adds a simple, straightforward, one-way-to-do-things approach that creates a much more maintainable experience in HTML templates that results in zero dead CSS code.

It’s absolutely not for people that need fine-tuned CSS APIs like animations, etc. But for building a product rapidly, it’s become a go-to for me.

I get the challenge of dead CSS, I think there are strategies for managing that in complex apps without "ditching" CSS. And my understanding of Tailwinds is that it starts to break down for larger/complex apps also (but I've only used it on smaller things personally so that's just based on things I've read).

I never try to be dogmatic about new things - so I'd try it again. I just haven't seen the benefits yet myself and so default to the cons I expressed earlier.

> there are other strategies

True, but those usually involve adding some sort of linter to ensure that your style sheets are clean, which is an additional build step, which is an opportunity for a build to fail. Tailwind gives me this out of the box and doesn’t require any sort of manual lifting because it does this automatically.

> Tailwind starts to break down for larger/complex apps also

This hasn’t been the case for us, I’m on a team of about 50 devs contributing to a 2 year old monolith and Tailwind hasn’t once gotten in my way.

Thanks for the data point re: larger apps. Like I said, haven't had that experience with Tailwinds specifically so I can only go by the various things I read about those who have. I'm sure it's like any other tool - it can be used or abused.

> at risk for generating dead CSS

For what it's worth, in SvelteKit CSS is per-component and you get warnings for unused CSS selectors.

Styles get stupid when they're not local, it just creates a huge hassle as projects scale. The only answer is a css file per component, or css embedded within the component directly. This css has to have a preprocessor or you won't be able to maintain a functional design system or any stylistic consistency. So you're stuck with sass/less/tailwind regardless.

Style classes are IMO the neatest way to inject styles, having elements get styles based on html structure makes code brittle and hard to reason about. If you need an example of this try playing with bootstrap forms.

I actually agree with most of your comment. Just not that Tailwinds is the best way to actually do the styling. I don't have any issue having some form of compilation/processor step that takes colocated CSS and creates a final output, that isn't my objection to Tailwinds, in case that wasn't clear in my original comment. I prefer to actually use CSS, most often via style classes.

And I did not say to base styles on html structure - you are correct, that is brittle and actually one of the things I often ask about in FE interviews as a way of determining skill level. I said that good html structure makes CSS much easier, if your structure is bad, it can significantly compound the amount of CSS needed in order to achieve the desired outcome. So I believe there is a significant distinction in those two statements.

Yep, the only even kinda maintainable CSS ends up being tailwind but in another file.

   <div class="unique-component-name">
      <input class="unique-component-name-input" />
      <p class="unique-component-name-text">Blah</p>

   <div class="unique-component-name unique-component-name-variant1">

   .unique-component-name {
The cascading in HTML makes the thing that should be easy, creating variants with slight tweaks the most painful thing.

@layer has made all this much easier using raw CSS. One creates sensible global defaults in a `@default {...}` layer, and then they overwrite in a `@custom {...}` layer.

I’ve studied and used CSS for 17 years. I’ve always enjoyed it and rarely complained. But tailwind is a joy to use and I prefer it over writing CSS.

There’s no replacement for understanding the underlying technologies of frameworks, that’s true. Compared to some frameworks, tailwind is only a small layer of abstraction, one that does not obfuscate the underlying tech away. It does not prevent you from learning or using CSS. That’s why it’s so good.

I frequently drop tailwind into projects because I know the shipped code footprint is low and it accelerates design.

Even grayer beard's 5c (well, I'm still under 40, but still):

You could not pay me enough to learn CSS. Every time I have to debug CSS there go many valuable hours of my life. With an insane amount of trial and error and judicious use of Chrome's dev tools I can usually hack some garbage together, until the next time I have to figure out how to remove the background of a button.

In the literal 90s I was building fully-featured GUI programs by dragging and dropping buttons and text boxes and inputs onto windows with Visual Basic, and the window resized nicely. Thirty years later I have to do the same thing with gazillions of arcane style sheets. It's a disaster. How did it get this way?

I'm 50 and spent most of the 90s building Windows GUI apps. I think you misremember it. As a general rule dialogs (especially the ones built with dialog builders) were static with fixed pixels sizes; double the screen resolution and the dialogs were half-size. Layouts were extremely static; even Java AWT's primitive flow layouts were almost revolutionary by comparison to what was available in MFC et al.

Modern web design is a mess, yes, but it's vastly more sophisticated than what was available in the 90s and I would not choose to go back.

> It's a disaster. How did it get this way?

It’s called “progress” apparently, and older gray beards complained about it when we reinvented the mainframe through the same methodology.

For all of the re-use that us computer folks talk about, we surely reinvent the wheel an awful lot. I’m guessing that we have some sort of stubborn creative streak that causes it all. That’s my excuse at least.

There are plenty of web site builders that allow for a drag-and-drop construction. But people who use them are not programmers.

I.e. programming is not supposed to be easy. So if one sticks to it, the problem has to be hard at least from the management point of view.

> How did it get this way?

Users were enamored by custom drawn UIs, so designers started demanding custom drawn UIs instead of native widgets. Most users don't understand what they lost and now pawing at interfaces to discover how they work is the new norm.

Don't forget that every few years, some new styling standard comes out. Forget tables, everything is floating divs. Forget floating divs, it's flexbox now. Forget flexbox, we're using columns.

I’ve learned CSS, used Bootstrap, and tried a bunch of other tools. Tailwind ecosystem is the fast approach to building web UIs in my experience. It doesn’t matter if you know CSS or not. Nobody gains if you know CSS per se. People gain when you deliver finished projects. Tailwind helps ship projects faster.

That is the point: which kind of projects?

You all fight, but nobody says what exactly they develop. A webpage and Tailwind is absolutely fun. An app with reusable complex components, Tailwind is a pain. Themes, dynamic tailwind is a pain, static, tailwind is ok.

There are endless possibilities. The problem is, that some people think you can use Tailwind for everything and then they made simple things unnecessary complicated.

I disagree 100% with that. I much prefer using Tailwind for complex apps with reusable components. Because then you don't have a lot of repetition, redundancy is as much as BEM.

For static webpages (unless it is assembled by a static blog engine or something), I don't particularly enjoy it, because of the repetition.

With components+Tailwind you have as much duplication as you'd have with pure BEM.

All personal experience and opinion, of course.

I like tailwind but I only ever used it in a JSX context, if I had to author plain html I would likely never choose it.

Not my experience. We built a full rather complex and feature full application using Tailwind. How? Reusable components (we use Vue, but that’s just one option).

I remember this being endorsed approached by Tailwind creator.

No complaints.

As a user of web sites, this attitude leads to me paying for your fast shipping in electricity for CPU usage, extra money for extra RAM, plus wear and tear on my nerves because you do what your library allows you to do instead of something usable.

Thank you.

Tailwind is not a performance hit, anyone who knows how it works knows that. Maybe stop throwing random accusations you can’t back up… it’s such low quality commenting.

Edit for the downvoters who don’t know how it works: there’s zero js being run at runtime, it’s a pure css framework that generates as-minimal-as-possible css files. And it’s not class lookups that cause whatever issues parent comment is talking about.

Yes as we have seen through the years, pure CSS has resulted only in energy-efficient websites that are highly usable.



If you don't know how the lower level layers under your current abstraction work, you end up on accidentally quadratic.

Am I more clear now?

Do you know how Tailwind works? What you say is generally true, but I don't really see how it applies to TW...

No of course I don't. And due to javascript's reputation, I assumed. Because what I said IS generally true for the js bubble.

The sad part is i don't even feel guilty for assuming, because this area of programming has a well deserved reputation.

Even if this thing doesn't use javascript, can you guarantee the generated CSS doesn't put the browser's layout engine in an infinite loop or something? Especially without knowing CSS, like the OP suggested it's normal?

> can you guarantee the generated CSS doesn't put the browser's layout engine in an infinite loop or something?

the way TW aproximatively works is to collect a set of used class names from your code (e.g. flex, min-h-screen, bg-[url(/img/grid.svg)], absolute, etc.) and produce the CSS for those classes.

For the random 5 classes above it would produce:

      position: absolute

      display: flex

      min-height: 100vh

      background-image: url(/img/grid.svg)
By default TW also includes a CSS reset preamble and defines internal variables.

Sometimes the generated css contains complex selectors but as far as I know it is not a common occurrence

    .space-y-4 > :not([hidden]) ~ :not([hidden]){
      --tw-space-y-reverse: 0;
      margin-top: calc(1rem * calc(1 - var(--tw-space-y-reverse)));
      margin-bottom: calc(1rem * var(--tw-space-y-reverse))
In other cases more css variables (custom properties defined in the preamble) are used

      --tw-translate-y: -50%;
      transform: translate(var(--tw-translate-x), var(--tw-translate-y)) rotate(var(--tw-rotate)) skewX(var(--tw-skew-x)) skewY(var(--tw-skew-y)) scaleX(var(--tw-scale-x)) scaleY(var(--tw-scale-y))
      --tw-shadow: 0 20px 25px -5px rgb(0 0 0 / 0.1), 0 8px 10px -6px rgb(0 0 0 / 0.1);
      --tw-shadow-colored: 0 20px 25px -5px var(--tw-shadow-color), 0 8px 10px -6px var(--tw-shadow-color);
      box-shadow: var(--tw-ring-offset-shadow, 0 0 #0000), var(--tw-ring-shadow, 0 0 #0000), var(--tw-shadow)
I believe that CSS performance is mostly dominated by size in bytes of the stylesheet, number of properties, complexity of selectors, and frequency of updates. I suspect that TW improves most of these metrics in exchange of bigger html class attributes.


>Am I more clear now?


Tailwind is not Styled Components, there is no dynamic component to it.

In that regard it is pretty similar to Sass.

The main effect on performance likely are bigger html documents (which can be optimized) and simpler CSS selectors.

In real world usage I would honestly guess that using simpler css selector (with far fewer propagating updates) is a net performance win.

(It was one of the showstopper for the :has pseudoclass, for a long time nobody knew of a way to implement it efficiently)

Developers gain if they know CSS. Just like JavaScript - for either, if you understand the underlying base technology, it doesn't matter what framework you are presented with, you can learn the specifics of that framework fairly quickly, in my experience.

I've been using CSS since 1997. CSS was basically a shit show for its first 20 years thanks to all the slightly differing browser implementations. I will tell you, that is what stuck with me.

Tailwind is a massive improvement in terms of maintainability across teams and tooling. Thanks to Tailwind my team hasn't had to think about CSS resets and browser shims for over 5 years now, and any bugs where an application looks different in a particular browser can be forwarded to a team who will fix it, instead of us having to maintain an ever-growing pile of special rules and feature detection code.

There is, of course, no silver bullet, but for a team building applications from components with React or Vue, Tailwind is a maintainability dream compared to stylesheets, and easier to train new devs on too.

Except if you bundle your styling with the component, like you should be doing with React or Vue, and you have two _maybe_ three over-arching foundational style directives being implemented across your build, you do not need Tailwind.

I believe both React and Vue have the capability to scope your CSS along with the components. Modular CSS has been much easier to maintain over years than fixing when Tailwind updates or finding (again) that one !important that happens to conflict with a new released component set.

I save my teams time and money by applying CSS in the manner that it should be; which means not as an inline style mechanic.

> I believe both React and Vue have the capability to scope your CSS along with the components.

While that's true, it also means you need to propagate all of your exceptions for support of old browsers. And you still need a ton of global styles so your application can be re-themed or white-labeled according to your customer specifications. And god forbid someone applies a color directly in a component and you have to grep the codebase looking for the errant code.

After 5 years of tailwind on several complex applications, I can say that it's been easier to maintain, especially as engineers come and go, than any of the applications I worked on before. Frankly, every company I've ever worked for wound up with something like their own bespoke tailwind anyway, but instead of having it well-documented, every new hire had to learn whatever naming system whoever wrote the global design styles decided on.

> I believe both React and Vue have the capability to scope your CSS along with the components. Modular CSS has been much easier to maintain over years than fixing when Tailwind updates or finding (again) that one !important that happens to conflict with a new released component set.

In my experience that's empirically false. Maybe if you only care about Chrome, but CSS is hell to maintain when you need to keep support for browsers like pre-blink Edge.

Agree 100%. CSS is so good nowadays. Tailwind is yet another over-engineered hack of a framework foisted upon us. A solution looking for a problem.

You don't need it. Do devs these days even know about Web Components and shadow DOM? You can define per-component styles now with CSS selectors to target any child elements within the component and you can do it in such a way that the styles are contained within the component... And for cases where you want to inherit styles, you can just use the regular light DOM.

All these frameworks are re-inventing the wheel and making it worse.

It's like having a perfectly good car and then attaching a horse at the front to pull it because you don't want to learn how the car works...

++ for mentioning web components and the shadow DOM. They are the end of the road for prepackaged frameworks, IMHO.

Web components are a decade old, what do you think has changed or will change to make them more popular than frameworks?

I think unless there are massive improvements to the developer experience the best hope for web components is as an implementation detail for a higher-level framework.

Good question. I probably should have qualified my statement. I can think of a lot of cases where an organization is better off building custom components on something like Lit (close to bare metal), rather than trying to shoehorn Angular or React into what you want. On the other hand, having a lot of predefined pieces and methods is also helpful to some people.

For me, I've been bitten and I would pick web components over a fixed framework for a clean sheet project. I don't think many devs have really tried to work with web components or they might get the bug, too!

PS: I wrote an intro series on this topic on Medium[0].

[0] https://medium.com/gitconnected/getting-started-with-web-com...

I also think not many devs have tried to work with web components and that likely explains its current lack of popularity. Many mid-level devs are not even aware of its existence or they mistakenly think of it as some low-level tech meant only for framework engineers or deep system engineering type people.

That said, having taught some introductory web development courses in the past few years, I sense that new devs entering the industry are interested in simpler solutions and not particularly keen to get into React. The React learning curve is much steeper than it once was now that it has so meany features and the benefits are not so clear to someone who is starting from scratch.

You're trying to sell me Web Components as a solution to over-engineered hacks?

Web technologies like this take hold because they make producing something more attainable to a wider group of people. Who cares if it's "worse".

I'm a backend developer, who works mostly in python. I'm probably never going to learn CSS but I can produce a user interface that looks like I'm competent by copy-pasting tailwind divs. In 5 years, I'll hire someone who knows CSS to fix it. It'll be cheap because webflow and squarespace are allowing graphic designers to build websites, which is squeezing the demand for CSS as a skill.

I second this as a backend python dev. I’m adopting tailwind for my latest project because I don’t need to learn the intricacies of front end styling. I really care so very minimally about it, and respectfully do not think anyone is going to need to be CSS masters in 20 years. If there’s any area where LLMs show promise to write reasonably responsible code, it’s front end styling. And that is coming from a huge skeptic of LLMs.

Five years? How about now.

I saw a video a few months back featuring a VScode plugin to hide tailwind styles.

If you have to use a plugin to manage your nuclear waste code by hiding most of it something is wrong.

Tailwind advocates don’t maintain their code, they just hop between companies and leave the disaster behind for someone else to deal with.

This is nonsense. You can't substantiate this, and you should avoid making such sweeping generalizations. It adds nothing to the conversation.

Zealotry on display. How do you know I haven’t inherited a mess of tailwind before?

You should really understand the CSS rules anyway (e.g. the C means cascading for a reason) so you can at least know what Tailwind is doing for you.

I've been building websites since they were invented and I agree completely. CSS itself has evolved to the point where you are worse off if you use a pre-compiler or alternative.

In one sense, it was always worse to use Tailwind because if you don't learn "real" CSS you won't be able to fix anything that's broken -- and with CSS, there's always a lot that's broken.

Bootstrap and its newer counterpart Tailwind have been around collectively longer than a decade, and I can't see any reason why their popularity would die down. It's easier to learn, quicker to write, and reduces a lot of issues that arise from poor CSS. I can see why some people aren't a fan, but those people seem (from my perspective) to be either luddites or people who misunderstand Tailwind. When you have people across the entire spectrum of experience who find writing styles faster with Tailwind, I can't understand how people find themselves on the opposite side of the argument without having some underlying bias or no practical experience utilizing Tailwind.

> You're not learning anything valuable by learning Tailwind.

1. You need to know CSS to use Tailwind

2. I learned and understood quite a few of things I rarely use thanks to Tailwind's amazing docs. Docs that are non-existent for CSS

3. I'm reasonably good with CSS, but I could never come up with a consistent and minimal design system that Tailwind offers

That said, to things everyone should read to up their CSS game is Every Layout https://every-layout.dev/ and Inclusive Components https://book.inclusive-components.design/

Having a prebuilt consistent design system that you don’t have to build out for each project, arguing over defaults among the team is a lifesaver.

But you don't need Tailwind for that. A "designsystem.css" file with custom properties would do the trick. Without any added third party tech.

Why should anyone care about adding third party tech?

This argument boils down to: “But you don’t need Tailwind for that. You can do more work for a (almost certainly) worse result with a designsystem.css!” Sure you can! Why?

(Almost certainly) worse? Haha. Why would it be?

If you really want to, you can even use Tailwind's naming for you language file. The thing is, you add complexity to do a job that could be done in the same way without adding complexity and dependencies.

Shouldn't we try to justify added complexity through added value?

> why would it be?

Because most frontend engineers cannot make something as visually appealing as Tailwind’s defaults and most designers cannot make frontend abstractions as ergonomic as Tailwind’s.

Now it seems like you’re suggesting just reimplementing Tailwind? Or yes you can have one of your FE engineers and one designer try to dream up your own Tailwind but again: why? Now you’re consuming two people for something that can be achieved by literally zero people and “yarn add tailwind.”

It is not at all my objective to “reduce complexity” that sits behind good abstractions. My goal is to ship product and to put as much complexity as possible behind good abstractions and ideally out of my team’s maintenance burden and Tailwind helps achieve all of those.

Sure, if Tailwind provided literally zero value I would say you shouldn’t add it to the codebase. But it provides a huge amount of time-value (the best kind!) in my experience, so “there’s a package from the internet” is hardly a consideration whatsoever.

If the Tailind defaults are used in a design language file, wouldn't it be simpler? If it's only a problem of "aesthetics", 20 minutes is enough to use Tailwind's defaults in pure CSS. No need for calling a designer here either.

Side benefits include that there is then no need to update any dependencies or library, no need to run a JIT server, no need for a new syntax, no need to wait for implementation of new CSS features, better performance possibilities, etc.

Just checking that I understand your suggestion: it’s that you copy/paste Tailwind into a file called “designsystem.css” and then say that you are not using Tailwind?

Or are you saying take their design system and use your own syntax for it (so it’s less complete than TW, less well-documented, and less transferable to/from the vast resources of the internet centered around TW)?

I'm talking about the design aesthetics included in Tailwind as default. Keep the values and the names if you want. Like this, for example:

"blue-500" becomes --blue-500. That's it.

This is a far cry from using Tailwind as a whole while keeping the good-looking aesthetics.

Sure now do the same for: whitespace (margins and padding), border radiuses, shadows, opacities, font sizes, font weights, and continue playing whack-a-mole as you run into new cases.

Or just use the extremely complete, well-considered, well-defaulted, well-documented, well-supported, always-improving set of classes that took you zero hours of initial setup and will cost you zero hours of maintenance outside of your own use/application until the end of time. And it has a name so when a new engineer joins your team, you can say "we use Tailwind, go to tailwindcss.com" and they are fully read into your setup in about 15 seconds.

mt-100 vs. margin-top: var(--100);

And the IDE will help you autocomplete it all. The same is true for all the other properties you enumerated. If it's a Tailwind design token, it can be a pure CSS design token. No "whack-a-mole" needed here.

Still, you're right about having documentation. And there has been a loooot of these kinds of doc (BEM, SMACSS, ITCSS, etc.) in the last 15 years. Nonetheless, a more modern-oriented one is indeed needed. And that's why I'm working on something like this.

As for the "15 seconds", I mean, really? If so, I beg to disagree. There is a lot to take in. And that is why numerous colleagues still have to open the Tailwind docs to know how to write a class that's not 1:1 CSS.

And lucky you if you haven't had any update and dependency issues in the medium to long term. But I know we had.

> Or just use the extremely complete, well-considered, well-defaulted, well-documented, well-supported, always-improving set "of CSS features".

The sentence above is every bit as true as yours. Add a beautiful design language and you are in business.

> "blue-500" becomes --blue-500. That's it.

Of course it's not "it".

Now in every class that needs it, you also need to add

    ... other styles...
    background-color: var(--blue-500);
And then you need to apply that class

How is that different than writing "bg-color-blue-500" in every component that needs it?

As for the class, it's the name of the component, the same name you give to the component file. Does it really add that much work?

Correct me if I'm wrong but as I see it, that's literally a couple of seconds of "work".

> 20 minutes is enough to use Tailwind's defaults in pure CSS

not 20 minutes, more. Plus all the boilerplate around @media rules

> no need to wait for implementation of new CSS features

What CSS features are you waiting for with Tailwind?

> better performance possibilities

It's very hard to beat Tailwind's performance since it's a fixed set of css classes (and a very small set in production, since it only includes classes you actually use".

Boilerplate? What do you mean?

Any IDE can autocomplete 90% of any media query. And, on a sidenote, I was only talking about using Tailwind's default aesthetics in pure CSS, here. That's what the 20 minutes refers to. And I think it was a conservative estimate.

As for features, it took months before grid was included in Tailwind. New powerful and useful selectors aren't there. It took years for Tailwind to support "group hovers". And I can give even more examples if you're still not convinced. Or you can have a look at the changelog.

As for performance, can Tailwind split its compiled CSS so that only rules used in the displayed components are loaded? And that's not even considering the weight difference between the "tailwinded" HTML and the one needed to support pure CSS. These things matter if performance is a goal (as it should be).

If I'm missing something, go ahead and tell me, I'll be reading with great interest!

Boilerplate? What do you mean?

    :root {
      --gap-default: 2rem;
      --gap-large: 4rem;
      ... 30-40 more vars ...
    .component1 {
      margin: var(--gap-default);
      padding: 0 var(--gap-large);
      ... more styles like this ...
    @media (min-width: 640px) {
      .component1 {
        padding: 0 var(--gap-default);
    @media (min-width: 768px) {
      .component1 {
        ... other overrides
    /* potentially repeat for other breakpoints ...*/
    /* repeat for all components */
    /* repeat for some internals of some components */
There's a also a good (if contrived) example directly at Tailwind: https://tailwindcss.com/docs/utility-first

> As for features, it took months before grid was included in Tailwind. New powerful and useful selectors aren't there.

No one stops you from using whatever CSS you need alongside with Tailwind. I do that for the excellent layout breakout I found here: https://ryanmulligan.dev/blog/layout-breakouts/

Can't see how this makes Tailwind "ant-CSS".

> As for performance, can Tailwind split its compiled CSS so that only rules used in the displayed components are loaded?


Most existing solutions can't even detect duplicated CSS. So if your existing component already has `width: var(--some-var)`, and you load a different component with the same style... You will still load that style hidden in a different (often auto-generated unique) class name.

Meanwhile with Tailwind has a fixed number of classes that apply to all components equally.

So, if you have a complex app with multiple component variations, of course you'll need to split your CSS and only load relevant CSS for displayed components. Because your CSS grows with the amount of variations, and each of those variations becomes its own unique class.

For Tailwind though that growth slows almost immediately because... it's just a fixed set of classes.

Thanks for the great reply.

Here are my thoughts:

In your code example, all that is in :root should be used from project to project. As it is Tailwind. Only values should change. Again, same as Tailwind. So I don't really see a problem.

For .component1, you would do the same in Tailwind albeit with fewer characters but as I said, your IDE should pick up the slack here.

mb<tab> --gap<tab> and it is done.

As for your duplicate width problem, it can be solved easily with a linter that prevents styling across files. I'll give you an example if you're interested. At the same time, you would be repeating "width" across components in Tailwind too.

So the duplication still exists, if I understand correctly. Same with the growth of CSS... In Tailwind you grow the HTML instead. Fixed clases or not. I don't see how it is better but, again, maybe I'm missing something.

As for the media queries, same as above: your IDE should pick up the slack.


The thing is that by writing modern CSS, you would not need most of these media queries! Do you know "clamp()[1]"? It's magical

And unfortunately not supported in Tailwind at the moment

.component1 { clamp(var(--gap-default), 1vw, var(--gap-large)) }

the above will do what you want without media queries! clamp() solves a loooot of these use cases. Honestly I don't write much media queries anymore and yes, that's great.

And if I may, I think Tailwind here prevents you from thinking about better and simpler solutions like this one. If it ain't included in what you're using, it's normal to not think about it. But really, this is a game changer. And it's been available for certainly three years. That's a lot.

And in the end, I'd say using real CSS with Tailwind kind of defeats the purpose. You end up with different styling methods for different components. I don't think that's good. More like a "hack".

But really, your example above is right on point: by excluding new approaches, Tailwind disincentivize you from using them when they would solve many of your problems elegantly and simply.

[1] https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/CSS/clamp

edit: the Tailwind example provided is bad CSS. As were the ones given in the first fundamental post by Mr Wathan. These are strawmen. If you're interested, I'll give you an example of good CSS producing the same output.

What are you building where CSS and the "weight" of HTML is a real performance consideration?

Well, I'm building websites and apps.

And, as I'm sure you know, milliseconds are important in our craft. You can easily shave or add hundreds of milliseconds with HTML or CSS.

And to be honest, I find your general line of inquiry here to be quite agressive and dismissive. I think, respectfully, a little more good faith could further our understanding of each other.

The question about what you're building such that you care about perf characteristics of CSS is an effort to understand you, I am sorry I failed to come across that way.

Outside of consumer apps I am struggling to imagine a case where the HTML/CSS perf delta would be more important to capture than faster development time. I suppose part of why that doesn't seem like a good faith question is because you don't believe Tailwind dev time to be faster, so the tradeoff that I'm trying to evaluate is totally inane.

First, sorry for the response delay. I don't know why I didn't see your answer.

As for the case in point, in fact, I think CSS can be as fast if not faster. But that's totally for me to prove. Hehe.

That's why I'm working on a set of simple rules for efficient styling with CSS. A website with documentation, examples and tools is in the works. If you're interested, I can give you a heads up when it's online.

Feedback from Tailwind users is important and would absolutely be welcomed!

PS: thank you for the explanation.

I tried to do that once. I decided to skip Tailwind and "just" bring in a few CSS variable that cover what I use.

By the 30th variable I stopped. The fact that I had to write significantly more boilerplate in CSS classes on top of that, helped me stop, too

If you know CSS why are you using Tailwind which is esoteric CSS but worse? Just use CSS.

Because it’s way, way faster to build with; yields more easily composable, less brittle components; and has a very solid (and rather unopinionated) design system baked in.

So glad to read comments like this. I cannot believe my eyes that most devs these days just don't get it and litter their projects with layer upon layer upon layer of unnecessary complexity.

I thought a person had to be rational to become a developer but oh my, how wrong I was.

Everyone is a developer.

This is the paradox of popularity. The theory goes that if you have a large pool of X to select from, then you can select the best of the best, and the quality of your selection will be amazing.

But it's exactly the opposite. Small groups are self-selecting for quality and big groups are self-selecting for quantity. O_O

English, the universal international language. The one we're speaking here, right now. The worst translators in the world are English translators. Everyone feels qualified to speak it and translate it. Finding a good English translator is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

The more "easy languages" and "frameworks" we have, the more "programmers" we also have, and 99.999% of them have the faintest clue what they're doing, but they just keep hitting their keyboard with a hammer, and it compiles and produces interesting results, so they keep doing it.

This is also why social networks have an amazing set of interactions when they're new, and in an old social network you have hundreds of millions of users, but no one writes anything interesting, anyone barely reads, and it's full of scams, bots, clickbait and garbage.

There's safety in numbers, the saying goes. Not at all. If something is universally popular, and you choose to enter it, get ready for a shitstorm.

P.S.: Tailwind is garbage.

Are there any resources like tailwindui or shadcn ui that are built on plain CSS, that are actually consistent and high quality?

Care to show one simple example where tailwind's amazing docs cover something MDN or css tricks and others do not?

MDN's docs are amazing, but they are about everything. "CSS tricks" is not documentation (except some very helpful articles).

Meanwhile in Tailwind everything is grouped together, can be searched quickly and acts both as quick docs [1] and as quick reference [2].

I personally have become proficient with flexbox by playing with Tailwind classes.

[1] E.g. layouts https://tailwindcss.com/docs/display

[2] E.g. all the justify-content values https://tailwindcss.com/docs/justify-content

I'll take this anecdote and counter it with the success of Bootstrap. You could have been using it for an entire decade now. There's a robust ecosystem around it to this day.

Tailwind as the "new bootstrap" makes a decent amount of sense.

These frameworks aren't an excuse to ignore and misunderstand the underlying technology. It's worth understanding CSS, but these abstractions can really speed up development time, especially if your job involves more than "front end development" (which is still true for many of us).

> Bootstrap's future is increasingly uncertain, of course, under Twitter/X.

What do you mean? Bootstrap has not been affiliated with Twitter for more than a decade.

I honestly wasn't aware of this - even the official git org is still 'twbs' and I assumed it was still related.

I edited that part out, thanks for pointing it out.

Totally agree. Sometimes I feel old when having the same opinion.

You're not downvoted, which means... the tailwind... is turning.

I apologize.

Tailwind is made for a component world where reusability is at the template/component level.

This also covers both scoping issue with css: the usual issues with the single global namespace for classes and the unlimited depth of the descendant selector.

That is even with scoped classes if your app has component nesting as <A id=1><B id=2><A id=3></A></B></A> then a selector like .A_box::hover .A_btn will select the class A_btn both in <A id=1> and <A id=3>.

Tailwind solution is to manually or programmatically apply the relevant style in your template.

The whole idea being that the unit of reuse is not the class name but the templating component.

So do you do sibling selectors by using the array index in a `.map` call?


I would concur that all I mostly need is CSS modules and to know when styles should be copied (most of the time) or actual utilities (rare).

Any remaining reusability can be handled with templates / components (depends on your framework).

The remaining potentially nice thing about Tailwind is that it more naturally constrains your options/syntax with utilities - when working with designers, this is probably a good thing. As always, the hardest problem of development is finding technology that best establishes the social contract.

Me: Taylor Swift’s song are bland, run-of-the-mill pop. Swifties: Pfff *plonk gajillions for the tickets.

In cases like this I get curious and try to understand: why? I do not do CSS enough to arrive at the verdict about Tailwind, but my best understanding aligns pretty well with TFA. That and the fact that people wanted some framework that is popular and can be easily reused for results that look reasonably well. Bootstrap was it for a while, but Tailwind came and looked more modern.

Taylor Swift - still beats me.

After a few years, writing CSS by hand gets really old. There's always 5 different ways to do something, and I don't know which one is the most performant or portable.

As expected this dumb take shows up in every tailwind thread. Almost always by people that haven’t actually tried it.

I was skeptical at first too but after building several large and successful sites with tailwind I’ll now choose it every time. It’s the only CSS method I’ve tried that doesn’t turn into a hot mess at scale.

This attitude has become a pretty useful anti signal when considering who I want to work with though.

i agree but

ultimately what is cheap and fast wins. the future is someone else's problem.

i think that's a good description for javascript too.

It’s a good description for a lot of things, unfortunately.

>You're not learning anything valuable by learning Tailwind. Learn CSS, that will stick with you for the next 20 years.

Tailwind maps onto CSS in a very straightforward way. I think you'd have to go out of your way to "learn Tailwind" without also improving your knowledge of CSS.

Except for the whole "Cascading" part.

I think I understand tailwind, but like the parent poster I'm really not a fan, because while CSS can be a footgun, it can also be quite clean when you use a sane DOM structure, CSS variables, and well thought out CSS selectors.

> it can also be quite clean when you use a sane DOM structure, CSS variables, and well thought out CSS selectors.

This fall apart pretty quickly as soon as more developers join the project. Keeping consistency between multiple team members is hard without a reference point, which is what a framework like Tailwind provides.

There are many technologies that match this pattern: "While X can be a footgun, it can also be quite clean when you use A, B, and C."

In practice, they don't end up "quite clean" outside small personal projects.

I'd say that the "stylesheets" part doesn't apply either.

Tailwind creates "stylesets", and is absolutely powerless to apply them. Quite like WYSIWYG text editors. So, yeah, anybody claiming you are learning CSS by using it doesn't really know CSS. But I disagree, that kind of thing can be useful on certain contexts.

i think that’s what people’s argument FOR tailwind is: CSS can easily be a footgun, unless everyone on the team uses a sane DOM structure, CSS variables and well thought out CSS selectors.

i’ve yet to witness a project without “!important” scattered throughout the codebase.

That's sad to hear. Good CSS with an intuitive DOM structure is simple to achieve yet so powerful. Hate to see devs give up that power.

Complex solutions are much, much easier than simple solutions.

Exactly this. Anyone who has worked with a junior developer understands this intuitively. They spend a week smashing their head against the desk figuring something out, then in review, you (the senior dev) can look at it for 30 seconds and see all the holes they missed and think of a simpler solution that uses 1/3 the amount of code.

Simplicity is a skill and it's hard to do. There's a reason most people are not minimalists despite the almost universal western desire to "have less stuff".

Tailwind is a means to an end. If you think writing css is the best way to spend your time, go for it. But I guarantee I can ship things faster using Tailwind.

Which things? Individual styled simple elements? Sure. Complex reusable and customizeable components, no way.

> quite clean when you use a sane DOM structure, CSS variables, and well thought out CSS selectors.

I've yet to see a single project that doesn't fail on all three.

I'm sadly not surprised to hear that, same for another poster who had the displeasure of working with a codebase with !important sprinkled everywhere.

Truth is I've been spoiled on that front because I had the luck to work for many year in a company where the CTO was a very talented dude who lived and breathed HTML/CSS since the mid-2000's, and who was quite thoughtful about that kind of stuff, so I had a first-hand experience of a good codebase, mostly by avoiding external dependencies, using the standard browser behavior, and frequently consulting the MDN.

This is why it's a bit disheartening to see so many front-end framework working against the plateform, even even marketing against it, while CSS and browser tooling his so much more enjoyable and powerful than before.

So, to have what you have you need a "very talented dude who lived and breathed CSS and HTML".

Technology that makes it easier to make bad decisions than good decisions is not a good technology.

> This is why it's a bit disheartening to see so many front-end framework working against the plateform, even even marketing against it

None of the frameworks I know of do that.

True, but the thing is that it wasn't really "complicated" CSS we used, but simply a good grasp on the fundamental of CSS, which is a overlooked part of web development.

I believe it's mostly due to the fact that CSS, just like SQL, is one of those technology approachable enough to fiddle with it and get somewhat far, while not really learning it, and thus overlooking the fundamentals.

> None of the frameworks I know of do that.

I would squarely put into this category all the CSS-in-JS frameworks, such as 'styled components'. Also everything that markets the 'cascading' part of CSS as being a mistake.

Also, all the frameworks that compiles CSS without generating the CSS sourcemaps, making the debugging experience way less efficient since all the applied CSS rules shows under '<style>' (eg: 'styled-components' again, who discarded it as being 'cosmetic' in the related Github issue).

> It's as modern as the style parameter is, and it's as reusable as a moving a dirt pile from one corner to the next.

For most uses, the only thing really wrong with the style attribute is the lack of breakpoints for responsive layouts.

And pseudo selectors like hover, and animations. If these problems were solved in css style tags, I’m not really sure tailwind would have much to offer. It’s basically inline styles as class names

I have written more raw CSS than I have written Tailwind in my life. But I like the well thought out utility classes of Tailwind so much I only go raw when there is no option.

I also don't think about it too much and sleep well at night ;)

Tailwind 1.0 was great. Give me a few utility classes to style borders, fonts, backgrounds, and box shadows. Tailwind has descended into madness as they endlessly increase the scope.

The only thing that is true is people don't learn CSS but Tailwind syntax. But even with that, making a house of card of CSS isn't change the inherited problems of CSS.

In five years, there will be another framework that replaces this one, and still most people won't need to write CSS.

I wished you provided arguments instead of "trust me bro".

Are there any CSS frameworks you like instead? Or just raw CSS?

i think it's a matter of taste and preference. your taste and preference is different than mine. we don't have to work on the same projects together.

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