7 reasons why Tailwind css is better than Bootstrap
Tailwind css is better than Bootstrap in certain scenarios because it is a low level CSS framework which lets you build your own custom components based on your need. It is very performance focused when used properly reduces your CSS payload significantly and ensures much faster rendering. Chose Tailwind if web performance and customizations are your priority.
When used properly for example with NextJS and similar frameworks, Tailwind will generate significanly lower css footprint. NextJS for example is able to look at your markup and autmatically figure out which css classes need to be bundled with the final css payload. Bootstrap is much more complicated to be configured in this manner.
Think of Tailwind as a bag full of lego bricks. You can take those bricks and make whatever you want. Bootstrap is more IKEA components which are much higher level and offer limited customizations. For example Tailwind CSS does not come up with any classes for Buttons. Bootstrap will come with default CSS for buttons.
For example if you want a simple button :
As you notice Tailwind gives you much low level utility classes to achieve what you want where as Bootstrap has a fixed set of button classes.
For Tailwind you will often end up writing something like following:
NextJs is extremely popular frontend framework these days and it promotes Tailwind css over Bootstrap. Nearly all default templates for this framework are designed using Tailwind.
Chances are if you are looking to build a new site you will end up using Nextjs and Tailwind.
Reason 4: Tailwind has an active community where as Bootstrap is run by a company that is going through complicated acquisition.
Since Elon Musk has acquired Twitter, the future of Bootstrap could end up being uncertain a bit like long forgotten frameworks like Yahoo! UI. While Bootstrap is open source and it is possible that even if Twitter abandons its support, the framework might still be maintained by the world, this may put its future on a rocky road. Tailwind however despite being supported by a smaller company is far too low level to be impacted by changes in company's fate. The businesses built on top of Tailwind are more than capable of maintaining it.
If we go by NPM trends, tailwind has already overtaken Bootstrap in popularity. This is a big achievement of Tailwind given that Bootstrap has been around far too longer and is lot more mature product.
Tailwind will let you control finer aspects of your design such as borders, shadows, dark-light controls, transparency etc. far better than Bootstrap's components. Making changes to a Bootstrap button is much harder than making a button you want using Tailwind.
If you are working with a UI designer who truly likes to make their designs unique and not something "stock" then Tailwind might be the tool you need rather than Bootstrap.
For example, Tailwind will not come up its own UI components like Buttons, Accordian, Alerts and so on. You will have to build all those on your own or you will have to use a higher level library like Flowbite that is built on top of Tailwind. While this might seem like a disadvantages for someone who is building a quick application, for large companies with scale this is invariable what they end up doing as their needs are far more specific.
It is now well known that a website that performs well on web vital performance scores will do better on SEO. It is also better user experience. If you check the lighthouse like tool to measure the web page performance for both frameworks, Tailwind CSS often performs better right out of the box. However, we must note that Bootstrap too will do equally better as long as you use it properly.
Tailwind css has many advantanges over Bootstrap. However ultimately right tool for the job depends more on the job and the tool itself. If you are building an application where performance and customizations are higher priority than speed of development, I think Tailwind does much better than Bootstrap. However if you are looking for ready made site wide components or themes built by third parties then Tailwind might not be the right choice for you. We will discuss the advantages of Bootstrap in our next article.
This blog post is also published by me on frontendeng.dev which is a blog dedicated to covering interesting engineering issues faced by frontend engineers.