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Getting Started With React + TypeScript + Tailwind + Classnames In Minutes

okeeffed profile image Dennis O'Keeffe Originally published at blog.dennisokeeffe.com ・4 min read

In this morning quick start, we are going to bootstrap a create-react-app with Tailwind and see how you can get it all up and running quickly with some state-based styling using classnames.

Installation

First, we need to create the TypeScript React app with create-react-app.

Second, we will install the other packages required for today.

# Create the app
npx create-react-app hello-tailwind --template typescript
# Change into our new app
cd hello-tailwind
# Using Yarn
yarn add tailwindcss classnames @types/classnames

Updating package.json

This part took quick inspiration from Dave Ceddia's post with a modern update.

Let's update our scripts to have the following:

{
  "scripts": {
    "build:tailwind": "tailwindcss build src/index.css -o src/tailwind.output.css",
    "prestart": "npm run build:tailwind",
    "prebuild": "npm run build:tailwind"
  }
}

prestart and prebuild scripts will run before any start and build script that is run. We are telling it to build the index.css file and output it to src/tailwind.output.css.

Add Tailwind imports

Update src/index.css to look like the following:

@tailwind base;
@tailwind components;
@tailwind utilities;

body {
  margin: 0;
  font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, "Segoe UI", "Roboto",
    "Oxygen", "Ubuntu", "Cantarell", "Fira Sans", "Droid Sans",
    "Helvetica Neue", sans-serif;
  -webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased;
  -moz-osx-font-smoothing: grayscale;
}

code {
  font-family: source-code-pro, Menlo, Monaco, Consolas, "Courier New",
    monospace;
}

Then, we will need to update our index.tsx file to change the import from index.css to tailwind.output.css:

import React from "react"
import ReactDOM from "react-dom"
import "./tailwind.output.css"
import App from "./App"
import * as serviceWorker from "./serviceWorker"

ReactDOM.render(
  <React.StrictMode>
    <App />
  </React.StrictMode>,
  document.getElementById("root")
)

// If you want your app to work offline and load faster, you can change
// unregister() to register() below. Note this comes with some pitfalls.
// Learn more about service workers: https://bit.ly/CRA-PWA
serviceWorker.unregister()

Now we are ready to run!

Playing around with App.tsx

Run yarn start to get our application up and running.

Once up, let's update our App.tsx file to look like the following:

import React from "react"

function App() {
  return (
    <div className="bg-gray-200 flex items-center justify-center h-screen">
      <button
        className="p-3 rounded-sm bg-blue-500 hover:bg-blue-700"
        onClick={() => setToggle(!toggle)}
      >
        Toggle
      </button>
    </div>
  )
}

export default App

When we run the app, we should now get the following:

Base application

Base application

These classnames come from the Tailwind docs. The docs are very user friendly! Search for your CSS properties and apply them from there.

As an added bonus, if you are a VSCode user, check out their VSCode extension to help autocomplete classnames!

Updating the App.tsx file to work based on logic

We can now add logic based on useState to toggle between different states.

Update App.tsx to show the following:

import React from "react"
// import cx from 'classnames';

function App() {
  const [toggle, setToggle] = React.useState<boolean>(false)
  console.log("toggle", toggle)

  const buttonClasses = toggle
    ? "bg-red-500 hover:bg-red-500"
    : "bg-blue-500 hover:bg-blue-500"
  return (
    <div className="bg-gray-200 flex items-center justify-center h-screen">
      <button
        className={`p-3 rounded-sm ${buttonClasses}`}
        onClick={() => setToggle(!toggle)}
      >
        Toggle
      </button>
    </div>
  )
}

export default App

Once we run the app now, if we click the button we will see the background change to red!

Toggled App state

Toggled App state

Using classnames

For more complex logic, we can use the classnames package to help us define which classnames to apply.

import React from "react"
import cx from "classnames"

function App() {
  const [toggle, setToggle] = React.useState<boolean>(false)

  const buttonClasses = cx({
    "bg-blue-500 hover:bg-blue-700": !toggle,
    "bg-red-500 hover:bg-red-500": toggle,
  })
  return (
    <div className="bg-gray-200 flex items-center justify-center h-screen">
      <button
        className={`p-3 rounded-sm ${buttonClasses}`}
        onClick={() => setToggle(!toggle)}
      >
        Toggle
      </button>
    </div>
  )
}

export default App

While this example is trivial, it becomes important for when you are defining variants based on props. We could swap out toggle to be logic such as status === 'error', etc. to reflect different possibilities through our application.

Conclusion

This has been a quick morning coffee and blog post on getting up and running with Tailwind without getting into the nitty-gritty details.

Tailwind has a great reputation and for good reason - I highly recommend using this playground to try out what else it does offer.

Resources and Further Reading

  1. VSCode extension
  2. Tailwind - Installation
  3. Tailwind - Flex
  4. Tailwind - Text Color
  5. Tailwind - Background Color
  6. Tailwind - Border Radius
  7. Tailwind - Padding
  8. Tailwind with CRA - Dave Ceddia
  9. Classnames - GitHub

Image credit: Mael BALLAND

Originally posted on my blog. Follow me on Twitter for more hidden gems @dennisokeeffe92.

Posted on by:

okeeffed profile

Dennis O'Keeffe

@okeeffed

Senior Engineer @ Culture Amp. Misused emojis are my own. πŸ‡ΌπŸ‡Έ

Discussion

markdown guide
 

do you recommend converting your codebase from javascript to typescript ? Lately there are a lot of engineers doubling down on Typescript. My shop store app is already like medium to large sized.

 

Depends really. If I have larger projects, I will use TypeScript as your "first point of testing" then becomes static typing. It will stop you from making some easy mistakes that can happen. If I am doing a short project or just writing short scripts, I don't bother. It becomes too much overhead.

The reason I actually decided to start getting into Tailwind is that I was using Styled Components with Styled System inside my design system and the cost maintain the types for those libraries became a nightmare that just wasn't worth it. I am still using TypeScript for the design system, but I am no longer bothering to type the styles. It just impeded on my ability to create way too much :(