Tailwind vs Bootstrap: Main differences
Find out the pros and cons of both Tailwind and Bootstrap and choose the best one to build your project.
When developing a product, it is crucial to analyze which framework is better, depending on the time we have and the kind of project we need to build. Tailwind and Bootstrap have their own pros and cons and in this post, we hope we can help you choose the best fit for your project.
What is Tailwind?
If we want to talk about Tailwind we need to know that it is a utility-first CSS framework that doesn’t include predefined components. And here is the first difference we can find compared to other CSS frameworks, like Bootstrap.
Tailwind CSS works on a minor grade and offers a set of CSS support classes to create custom designs with the liberty to choose how to do it.
Why use Tailwind
- It helps you stay loyal to your color choices, typography, and spacing through its utility classes.
- It’s a great option to skip using random values in your stylesheets.
- When building for production, the classes that weren’t used will be automatically erased. So your final CSS bundle will be highly compressed.
- You should use Tailwind’s screen sizes before any utility class to avoid dealing with lots of media queries in your CSS. It will easily apply to any specific breakpoint.
- Don’t forget to use hover: and focus: states. You can add them at the beginning of a class.
- If you choose classes you should do it through the @apply directive. You only need to copy and paste the list of class names.
- Dark Mode: It's another option that you can use simply by placing “dark” in front of any color utility (and you will see it is active). You can apply it to background colors, border colors, text colors, and gradients.
- The good thing about Tailwind is that everything can be customized beyond its wide variety of predefined classes. Add as many classes as you want, or you can also change already predefined default values that are in the tailwind.config.js file.
- Tailwind CSS IntelliSense is a VS Code extension that will recommend and autocomplete class names, definitions, and more. It’s an excellent tool for those who are in trouble trying to remember some of these class names.
Disadvantages of Tailwind
The truth is that Tailwind is a helpful framework, and we have already talked about its advantages. But I have to be honest; from my first-hand experience, there are two main disadvantages.
First, I’d say that its weakest part is the installation and initial setup process. When you start using Tailwind you need to follow a series of complicated steps that will take some time.
And the other not-that-great part about Tailwind is that it takes some time to get used to the framework and learn the names of all the classes to become more productive and hasten the process.
So what are the main differences between Tailwind and Bootstrap?
I’d like to compare Tailwind and Bootstrap to LEGO pieces. Tailwind provides all the separate pieces so you can design from scratch. Bootstrap provides a set of assembled parts ready to be used, which is faster but harder to change.
Which one should you choose?
Defining which is better will depend on the kind of project you are working on and what needs to be done.
For example, suppose you need a handy prototype to present an idea to a client. In that case, Bootstrap will be the best choice as it provides pre-styled components (like notifications, form elements that can be lined up, friendly buttons, table layouts, navigation bars, cards, a grid, crisp typography, and more), that are already there and can be used to build a website easily and fast.
But if you have a long-term project that needs another type of design and to be customized, Tailwind would be the best choice due to its utility classes that after getting used to work with them, can help accelerate the development process even more than by using vanilla CSS.
Benefits of Tailwind compared to Bootstrap
- Bootstrap provides similar designs for all websites, while Tailwind offers a unique design.
- With Tailwind you can erase classes that you didn’t use, while with Bootstrap the entire content is uploaded even when you are not using it.
- Bootstrap is more complicated to customize, while Tailwind classes can easily be changed or added.
Benefits of Bootstrap comparing to Tailwind
- You don’t need CSS knowledge.
- Development time is lower when launching a prototype.
- It has several pre-styled and prebuilt components, while Tailwind needs to build everything from scratch.
Vanilla CSS: why not using it?
- You have to write your own CSS for every new element.
- You need to name things, add or split classes.
- You can’t know what something will look like just by reading the markup for it.
- You need to pay extra attention to the styles since they might change and break something else when you are putting hands on other stuff.
Example: Building a notification popup.
<div class="max-w-sm mx-auto flex p-6 bg-white rounded-1g shadow-xl">
<img class="h-12 w-12" src="https: //images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/ images/I/AlIA1ZulCoL.prg" alt="ChitChat Logo">
<div class="ml-6 pt-1">
<h4 class-"text-xl text-gray-900 leading-tight font-bold">Create Thrive</h4>
<p class="text-base text-gray-600 leading-normal">You have a new message!</p></div></div>
<link href="https: //unpkg.com/tailwindcss@^1.0/dist/tailwind.min.css" rel="stylesheet">
<img class="chat-notification-logo" src="https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/AlIA1ZulCoL.png" alt="ChitChat Logo">
<h4 class="chat-notification-title">Create Thrive</h4>
<p class="chat-notification-message">*You have a new message!</p>
font-family: -apple-system,BlinkMacSystemFont,Segoe UI,Roboto,Helvetica Neue,Arial,Noto Sans,sans-serif,Apple Color Emoji,Segoe UI Emoji, Segoe UI Symbol, Noto Color Emoji;
box-shadow: 0 20px 25px -5px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.1), 0 10px 10px -5px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.04);
Tailwind is not the best choice for all projects, and that’s fine. You must consider different elements such as time, flexibility, and knowledge to decide which tool is best for your project.
But if for example, you choose Bootstrap and you need to make too many changes, then you might need to turn to vanilla CSS or to Tailwind’s utility classes.
In my personal experience using Tailwind, once you are acquainted with it and follow the classes, the project development takes less time and it’s easy to add, modify or remove any style.