Escaping CSS Purgatory with TailwindCSS

By: Bobby

Published on: May 29, 2023

2 min read.

Thirteen years ago, I embarked on my web development journey. CSS, the cornerstone of any website’s look and feel, was one of the first languages I had to wrestle with. Back then, it felt like wrestling a particularly wriggly and evasive octopus! Taming countless lines of pure CSS was an uphill battle that often ended with spaghetti code, convoluted stylesheets, and the inevitable “!important” declaration popping up more often than I’d like to admit. Frustrated and looking for a reprieve, I set out on a quest for a different approach. This journey led me to the doorstep of Tailwind CSS, and things haven’t been the same since.

Enter Tailwind CSS. Tailwind is not just another CSS framework; it’s a paradigm shift. Tailwind’s philosophy hinges on the idea of utility-first, a concept that trades traditional semantic naming for utility classes directly in your HTML. Instead of wrestling with external stylesheets, you’re composing your styles right where they are applied.

Utility-First Philosophy and Core Concepts

The utility-first philosophy revolutionizes the way we approach CSS. In Tailwind, every property comes in the form of small, reusable classes. Need to apply some padding? There’s a class for that. Want to change text color? There’s a class for that too. The idea is to build your styles in a component-specific manner, leading to more maintainable code.

Tailwind’s core concepts extend to include responsive design, pseudo-class variants, and extensive customization options. Out of the box, you get a highly customizable, responsive, and pseudo-class friendly system. You can easily modify colors, spacing, sizing, and much more based on your project’s requirements.

Installation and Setup

Adding Tailwind to a traditional HTML or PHP project (like WordPress) is pretty straightforward. For simplicity, you can include it as a CDN in your HTML file, like so:

<link href="" rel="stylesheet">

Just include this line in your HTML <head> and voila! You have Tailwind ready to go.

This, however, is just scratching the surface. Stay tuned for an in-depth guide on integrating Tailwind with modern JavaScript frameworks like React, because it can be a little bit more involved. But if you are just starting, this head tag will get you going so you can start learning. For more in-depth guide on adding TailwindCSS, check the official documents.

Practical Examples

Tailwind’s philosophy and ease of setup are fantastic, but the real magic happens when you start using it. In upcoming articles, we’ll dive into practical examples of using Tailwind CSS to create beautiful, responsive UI components. Whether you’re crafting a sleek navbar or a complex card layout, Tailwind’s got you covered.

Here are some examples I have used in the wild.

  1. Login Screen With TailWindCSS
  2. Three-Column View of News Articles Using Flexbox and TailwindCSS

Tailwind is so popular, others have entire websites dedicated to templates and creations using Tailwind. Here are some of my favorites.

  1. Tailwind Toolbox
  2. Tailwind Templates
  3. Tailwind Components

Community and Resources

Tailwind boasts a vibrant and growing community. From the official documentation to forums and Tailwind UI for templates, there’s no shortage of resources to help you on your Tailwind journey. One of my favorite resources is this handy cheat sheet, a perfect companion for your Tailwind adventures.

As we wrap up, I hope that this introduction sparks your interest in Tailwind CSS. This utility-first CSS framework has been a game-changer in my web development journey, bringing joy back to styling. So, say goodbye to CSS spaghetti and embrace the utility-first revolution with Tailwind CSS. Stay tuned for more Tailwind CSS action in upcoming articles!

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