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Photography of Alvaro Montoro being a doofus
Alvaro Montoro

Unfunny Comedian

Some Thoughts about Bootstrap, TailwindCSS, and Web Styling

Some questions arose after I shared some memes about different web styling technologies, mainly around the role of Tailwind and Bootstrap in the jokes. Here are some thoughts about it.

opinion webdev

Some Background

Last week, I did a workshop about Drawing with CSS at the Nerdearla conference. It was a discussion about how I do CSS Art, how I apply it to comiCSS, and things I've learned along the way.

At the end of the workshop, I encouraged attendants to create their own comics and made a quick one myself, too. As I had some browser logos already coded, I used them to create a " not you" meme:

Grid with nine boxes with a word and a browser logo. The sentence reads: 'Thank you for building faster internet for everyone.' The center panel (with the IE logo) reads 'not you'

And, of course, I did another silly version making fun of Tailwind. Nothing personal. It's just a popular CSS framework at the moment, and its community takes jokes/criticism poorly... which is fun for me :)

Grid with nine panels with CSS and styling technology logos. Each logo has a word that forms the sentence 'Thank you for making web styling better for everyone' except the TailwindCSS logo (in the center) with the sentence 'not you'

And that's when some comments arrive: "How is it possible that this post is anti-Tailwind and pro-Bootstrap?" Which, to me, is missing the point. But answering that question: the joke is not pro-Bootstrap or anti-Tailwind (ok, maybe a little). There's nothing inherently wrong with Tailwind (or with Bootstrap, for that matter).

And that got me thinking...

My Thoughts

Bootstrap may be considered bad now, but it has done more for web development and styling than Tailwind has done (and ever will?)

Bootstrap may be dull, and all the sites look really similar, but it brought web styling to people who didn't know how to do it. Not only for developers but also for anyone building a website. People who didn't know much about web development could build nice-looking websites (something that is reflected in an estimated 20% of the web using Bootstrap).

Tailwind, on the other hand, brings easier styling only to developers. You need to know some CSS/styling to use it: the difference between margin and padding, units, element states, etc...

Overall, Tailwind has a learning curve that non-developers cannot/don't want to assume. This makes it "less practical" and more niche in that way (according to Google, only 0.5% of the sites use it, but that's an unfair comparison considering release dates).

In my opinion, developers will eventually move on from Tailwind... and it will most likely be because many of the things considered pros now will be considered cons later. Which will be ironic.

As I said above, there's nothing wrong with using Tailwind if it works for you and your project. I see Tailwind as a "framework for the few" instead of a "framework for the people" (which Bootstrap was/is).

But I'm probably wrong anyway.

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