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May 1, 2018

Getting to Know Tailwind CSS: A Utility-First CSS Framework

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If you want to create an incredible website or application, then the first thing you’ll need is a framework. Today, CSS frameworks are gaining more popularity by the day. In fact, for many modern developers, it’s hard to imagine building a website without an effective framework.

As with all development tools, CSS frameworks move through frequent stages of improvement and evolution. Every year, it appears more CSS solutions are emerging in the marketplace to help developers bring their ideas to life. One of the more recent developments has emerged in the form of Tailwind CSS – a framework that sets itself apart from other popular solutions like Bulma, Foundation, and Bootstrap.

Tailwind is unique because it’s not a UI kit. There’s no default theme that automatically tells you how to create your website, and there are no built-in components for your user interface. This means that you’re free to design completely from scratch.

What is Tailwind CSS?

The team behind Tailwind CSS describe it as a utility-first framework, intended to give developers complete freedom over their creative products. If you’re looking for a framework that comes packed full of pre-designed widgets that you can simply drag and drop into your site, then Tailwind might not be the right choice for you.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a system that’s going to give you plenty of support in bringing your custom design to life, then that’s where Tailwind excels. There’s nothing in the system that dictates how your site should look, and Tailwind CSS doesn’t implement design decisions that you have to struggle to undo along the way. Here are just some of the things that we like most about the Tailwind CSS design.

1. The Utility-First Approach

One of the most interesting features of Tailwind CSS is its utility-first approach. The people behind this framework knew that creative developers don’t always want countless implementations trying to guide their creative decisions. Sometimes, simply trying to fight back against the pre-set decisions in a framework can be enough to seriously slow down your development process.

Therefore, Tailwind CSS offers a highly customisable and composable selection of low-level utility classes that make it easier to build state-of-the-art user interfaces, without forcing numerous sites to look the same. Essentially, Tailwind gives you the tools you need to bring your ideas to life, without making your decisions for you.

2. Tailwind is Component Friendly

The Tailwind CSS framework allows developers to do a lot of incredible things with just their utility classes. However, that doesn’t mean that you won’t have the opportunity to work with component classes too. Tailwind offers unique and innovative tools that make it easy to extract component classes from repeat utility patterns, which make it easier to update various instances of a component from a single place.

3. Always Highly-Responsive

As all web developers, today know, it’s not enough to just create a website that works well on a desktop or standard PC. If you want your sites to be effective, then they need to be highly responsive on a range of different devices. Fortunately, the Tailwind CSS comes in various responsive flavours, which gives developers the freedom to build the perfect responsive interfaces from their sites from scratch.

With Tailwind CSS, you can create your responsive experiences without having to leave your HTML. The system uses the {screen} prefix to ensure that you can notice responsive elements within your markup within a matter of seconds. You can adjust elements while keeping the original class names in your system intact.

4. Created for Customisation

As mentioned above, Tailwind is all about creativity. That means that if there’s an aspect of your design that can be customisable, Tailwind will allow you to do what you want with it. This includes options to transform your border sizes, colours, font weights, breakpoints, spacing utilities, shadows, and a whole lot more.

The Tailwind framework is written in the PostCSS language, and it’s been configured with JavaScript too, which means that today’s developers will have all the power they need to construct incredible experiences from scratch.

5. Plenty of Extensions Available

Finally, speaking of customisation, there are plenty of plugins available that allow you to extend your Tailwind experience as it suits you. The wide community base on Github for Tailwind ensures that developers have a range of plugins to choose from when they want to implement new styles into their user sheet. This means that all you must do to start authoring your own plugin is add an anonymous function to your plugin list.

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