Tailwind CSS jakelazaroff.com

Tailwind is a leaky abstraction  ↦

Jake Lazaroff spent the last few months learning Tailwind with an open mind and he’s ready to share his opinion of the popular CSS framework:

Tailwind is commonly described as “utility classes”, but that’s a bit of an understatement. It’s essentially a small language you write in the class attributes of your HTML that compiles to a combination of CSS rules and selectors — an abstraction over CSS. But all abstractions leak, and Tailwind is very leaky.

When an abstraction leaks, it means you still have to be aware of (and sometimes deeply so) the underlying layer that’s being abstracted. In this case, Jake is saying that you still need to know CSS to use Tailwind and lays out a few scenarios in which this is the case.

This might be unfair to Tailwind. To my knowledge, the team has never promoted it as a CSS replacement. At its core, it really is just a set of class names that apply styles. But even after working with it for months, there’s still a mental translation layer between “Tailwind CSS” and “real CSS”.


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