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Sam aghapour
Sam aghapour

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StyleX vs Tailwind?!

Today I'm going to talk about Stylex and the difference between this library and freamworks like Tailwind.

What styleX offer and why or when should we use it over tailwind and other styling solutions?

To answer this, let's take a brief look at styling solutions in web development history:

1. Pure CSS:

CSS was developed to style documents, allowing developers to describe layouts in web pages. However, CSS had some issues:

1.1 Global Scope: All CSS rules are equally accessible by all of the code, which can lead to conflicts between different CSS rules.

1.2 Lack of Dynamic Capabilities: CSS is a static language and doesn't provide the functionality to create dynamic styles based on conditions.

1.3 Difficulty in Managing Large Applications: As applications grow, managing CSS can become complex due to the global scope and the cascading nature of CSS.

2. CSS-in-JS:

To address these issues, the concept of CSS in JS emerged. It allows developers to write CSS directly within JavaScript, providing scoped and dynamic styles. However, CSS in JS also had its challenges:

2.1 Performance Issues: CSS in JS libraries often inject styles into the DOM at runtime, which can lead to performance issues.

2.2 Increased JavaScript Bundle Size: As styles are tied with JavaScript, it increases the size of the JavaScript bundle.

2.3 Lack of Separation of Concerns: Mixing styles with JavaScript can lead to less maintainable code as it goes against the principle of separation of concerns.

3. Utility-first CSS:

Frameworks like tailwind showed up that provide low-level classes for styling elements and have some advantages over CSS-in-JS libraries:

Tailwind is faster to write and easier to read than CSS-in-JS, as it uses predefined classes instead of custom styles.

Tailwind is more consistent and scalable, as it follows a design system and avoids style conflicts or specificity issues.

Tailwind is more performant and lightweight, as it generates optimized CSS code and removes unused classes with PurgeCSS.


And now Meta has come up with Stylex.
the main comparison I saw so far is between styleX and tailwind and why or when we should use styleX over tailwind.

StyleX addresses some of the problems and limitations of using Tailwind CSS in large-scale web applications.

  • StyleX supports deterministic resolution, which ensures consistent styling outcomes regardless of the order of loading or applying the styles. This avoids selector precedence problems and unexpected styling changes that can happen with Tailwind.

  • StyleX allows you to create custom styles co-located with the components, deterministic, and scalable. This gives you more flexibility than Tailwind, which relies on predefined utility classes that may not suit your needs or preferences.

  • StyleX supports design tokens and utility classes, which make it easier to maintain a consistent design system across a large web application. You can define and use variables for colors, fonts, spacing, etc., and reuse them in your styles. You can also create and use utility classes for common patterns or modifiers, such as flex, hover, focus, etc.

  • StyleX is performant and lightweight, as it generates optimized CSS code and removes unused classes with PurgeCSS. It also uses a build-time system that avoids the runtime overhead of CSS-in-JS solutions.

It combines the best of all previous concepts: the simplicity and consistency of Tailwind CSS and the flexibility and expressiveness of CSS-in-JS.

In my opinion, Tailwind has more value in small teams working rapidly without a set design system on small projects while StyleX is designed to support much larger projects, teams, and even groups of teams as we know the entirety of Facebook has been written in styleX and it was successful in decreasing the CSS size of the application.

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