Bootstrap has been around for 10 years and dominates the CSS framework world. However, recently, a new player appeared on the stage – Tailwind.css. It quickly gained popularity and more and more developers ask themselves which framework to use. I’ve never been a fan of flame wars and believe that every tool has its specific niche. The same is valid for Tailwind and Bootstrap. Before I present the pros and cons of each framework, let me first make one very important distinction: Tailwind is an utility-first framework, whereas Boostrap is a mix between UI kit and utilities.
Let’s now explore each one individually:
✅ Proven and wildly adopted in the last decade
✅ Rich UI component library
✅ Can be easily used without much CSS knowledge
✅ Thousands of StackOverflow questions, blog posts and tutorials available
✅ Easily pluggalbe into every application using CDN
❌ Due to its wide adoption, many websites using it look alike
❌ More opinionated, which can make the customization harder
❌ Only one pre-processor option(Less until v3, Sass after v4)
❌ Not so rich in terms of utility classes
✅ Tremendously rich in utility classes
✅ It’s possible to achieve sophisticated UI without having any custom CSS files
✅ Non-opinionated, focus on utility. Can be used with any pre-processor
✅ Flexible configuration and very high level of customization options, like theming etc.
✅ More suitable in modern Frontend workflows. For instance, it can be used as a PostCSS plugin
❌ Relatively new offers a different approach than the ones used so far in styling, which requires some mindshift
❌ Harder for non-CSS fans, as it doesn’t offer any pre-made UI components
❌ The use of its many classes might pollute the HTML
In my opinion, the choice between the two boils down to whether you want a very custom UI or you don’t want to bother much with CSS and customization. Bootstrap offers a more lazy way to style an application, whereas Tailwind requires more CSS knowledge and setup.