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Migrating to Tailwind

Starting with version 1.6 Fresh comes with a proper Tailwind CSS plugin out of the box. When you create a new Fresh project, checking the Tailwind CSS option will now install the Tailwind CSS plugin instead of twind like it did before.

Requirements before migrating

The tailwind plugin requires Fresh’s ahead of time builds to be set up, otherwise it won’t work. Make sure to switch your projects to ahead of time builds in your project before continuing this guide. If your project is already configured to use ahead of time builds, then you’re good to go.

Migrating to Tailwind CSS

  1. Create a <project>/tailwind.config.ts file in your project folder:
import { type Config } from "tailwindcss";

export default {
  content: [
} satisfies Config;
  1. Create a css file in your static directory <project>/static/styles.css:
@tailwind base;
@tailwind components;
@tailwind utilities;
  1. Add the created stylesheet in your HTML in <project>/routes/_app.tsx:
  import { AppProps } from "$fresh/server.ts";
  export default function App({ Component }: AppProps) {
    return (
          <meta charset="utf-8" />
          <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0" />
          <title>My Fresh Project</title>
+         <link rel="stylesheet" href="/styles.css" />
          <Component />
  1. Replace the twind plugin with tailwind
  import { defineConfig } from "$fresh/server.ts";
- import twind from "$fresh/plugins/twind.ts";
+ import tailwind from "$fresh/plugins/tailwind.ts";

  export default defineConfig({
-   plugins: [twind()],
+   plugins: [tailwind()],
  1. Update your deno.json file and add the following tailwindcss imports. To make the vscode Tailwind CSS extension work, we also need to set "nodeModulesDir": true. This will create a node_modules directory in your project folder:
+   "nodeModulesDir": true,
    "imports": {
      "$fresh/": "",
      "preact": "",
      "preact/": "",
-     "twind": "",
-     "twind/": "",
+     "tailwindcss": "npm:tailwindcss@3.4.1",
+     "tailwindcss/": "npm:/tailwindcss@3.4.1/",
+     "tailwindcss/plugin": "npm:/tailwindcss@3.4.1/plugin.js"
  1. Add node_modules to your .gitignore or create one if the file is not present in your project root directory.
+ node_modules/

That’s it! Now you can use Tailwind CSS in your project.

InfoIf you’re a vscode user, be sure to install the official Tailwind CSS extension to get full intellisense support. For it to work you also need to set "nodeModulesDir": true in your deno.json.

WarningTailwind CSS doesn’t support the grouping syntax from twind: text(lg uppercase gray-100). These need to be rewritten to their expanded values like text-lg uppercase text-gray-100. Selecting data-* or aria-* attributes works a little different with Tailwind CSS as well.

Twind Tailwind CSS
[data-current]:bg-red-600 data-[current]:bg-red-300
[aria-current]:bg-red-600 aria-[current]:bg-red-300

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the differences between twind and Tailwind CSS?

Twind is a project that tries to enable you to use Tailwind-like styling capabilities in a single script that can also be used in the browser. The key difference between the two is that twind generates CSS on the fly on every request and was shipped to the browser to make newly generated classes by islands work in Fresh. Overall, this wasn’t an ideal setup for building performant sites.

In contrast to that, Tailwind CSS extracts generates the resulting CSS file ahead of time, which only happens once per deployment. There is no runtime component needed, which makes your Fresh project respond faster to requests.

During the Tailwind CSS v2 days twind pushed a lot of great ideas like allowing any number to be used for classes like opacity-82 and others, but it hasn’t kept up with recent developments of Tailwind CSS. In fact, twind has been unmaintained for more than a year by now. We never could get autocompletion with twind to work either.

Why did Fresh use twind instead of Tailwind CSS?

When Fresh was originally built, Deno didn’t support npm modules or node APIs. This meant that Tailwind CSS didn’t work with Deno. Now, many years later, Deno does ship with support for both of that and we can use the same npm tailwindcss module as everyone else.