Laravel and Tailwind CSS — A Quick Integration Guide

Web Design Basics min

If you’re developing a web application that requires both robust backend functionalities and a flexible, stylish frontend, Laravel and Tailwind CSS make a perfect combination.

There are several other popular CSS frameworks and libraries you can use with Laravel. Tailwind CSS stands out from other CSS frameworks due to several distinctive features that cater to modern web development practices, such as utility-first approach, high customizability, and more.

Let’s see how to make Laravel and Tailwind CSS work together.

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Why Tailwind CSS works great with new Laravel projects

Tailwind CSS stands out from other CSS frameworks due to several distinctive features that cater to modern web development practices. Here are some reasons why Tailwind CSS might be a better choice than other frameworks depending on your specific project requirements:

  1. Utility-First Approach: Tailwind CSS is built around the concept of utility-first, meaning it provides low-level utility classes that you apply directly in your HTML. This approach encourages you to think about styling in terms of constraints and systems rather than traditional semantic CSS, which can lead to more consistent and maintainable codebases.
  2. High Customizability: Unlike frameworks like Bootstrap or Foundation, which come with predefined component styles, Tailwind allows developers to create custom designs without fighting against the default styles that need to be overridden. You can design unique UIs that don’t look like they come from the same template.
  3. Responsive Design Made Simple: Tailwind makes it extremely easy to build responsive designs with its mobile-first philosophy. You can control every style of your application on different screen sizes using simple modifiers appended to your utility classes, such as md:, lg:, and so on.
  4. No JavaScript Dependency: Tailwind doesn’t include any JavaScript by default, which makes it purely focused on styling. This can be a significant advantage if you want to control exactly what JavaScript runs on your site or if you prefer to use other libraries for interactivity.
  5. PurgeCSS Integration: Tailwind integrates seamlessly with tools like PurgeCSS, which strips out unused CSS when building for production. This means that despite having thousands of utility classes, the final CSS bundle that goes to the client can be extremely small and fast-loading.
  6. Rapid Prototyping: The utility-first approach lets you quickly see changes and iterate on design directly in the markup. This can speed up the process of experimenting with different designs and layouts without the overhead of going back and forth between CSS files and HTML.
  7. Developer Experience: Tailwind provides a consistent and easy-to-remember set of utility classes that can reduce the cognitive load when styling elements. This can lead to faster development times and less context switching between HTML and CSS.
  8. Growing Community and Ecosystem: Tailwind CSS has a rapidly growing community and an increasing number of plugins and integrations that extend its functionality, such as Tailwind UI for complete design patterns and components.

While Tailwind CSS offers numerous benefits, it’s important to consider that it does have a learning curve, especially for those accustomed to traditional CSS or more semantic frameworks. The choice between Tailwind and other frameworks should depend on your project needs, team familiarity, and specific preferences in web development workflows.

What are typical Laravel and Tailwind CSS use cases?

Tailwind CSS can be a fantastic choice for a wide range of Laravel projects due to its flexibility, customizability, and utility-first approach. Here are some types of Laravel projects where Tailwind CSS particularly shines:

Single Page Applications (SPAs)

For projects where Laravel serves as a backend API and the frontend may be handled by Vue.js, React, or another JavaScript framework, Tailwind CSS provides a quick and efficient way to style responsive layouts and components. Its utility-first approach allows developers to rapidly prototype and iterate on the UI design.

Dashboards and Admin Panels

Tailwind’s utility classes make it easy to create custom and responsive dashboards or admin panels. The framework’s responsiveness and component-driven structure are ideal for building complex UIs that require a high level of customization.

E-commerce Platforms

Tailwind can help create visually appealing and highly customized interfaces for e-commerce platforms built with Laravel. It supports diverse product displays, complex form inputs, and varied layouts that are common in e-commerce sites.

Blogs and Content Management Systems

Tailwind can be used to style blogs and CMS platforms, providing the flexibility to customize themes and layouts easily. Its utility classes help in quickly adjusting typography, spacing, and other elements crucial for content-driven sites.

Educational Websites

For websites that feature online learning or courses, Tailwind CSS can help design clear, readable, and engaging interfaces. It’s particularly useful for creating layout grids, text utilities, and responsive designs that enhance the user experience on educational platforms.

SaaS Products

Startups and businesses building SaaS products with Laravel as the backend can benefit from Tailwind’s scalable and maintainable styling approach. Tailwind facilitates the creation of a cohesive look and feel across the entire application, which is vital for brand consistency.

Marketing Websites

When using Laravel to build a marketing or portfolio website, Tailwind CSS’s design flexibility enables developers to implement creative, modern designs that stand out, without heavy reliance on custom CSS.

Social Networks

For social networking platforms with complex user interfaces, Tailwind CSS helps manage various UI components such as modals, dropdowns, timelines, and feed layouts effectively and responsively.

How to integrate Tailwind CSS with Laravel

You could go traditional route of setting up a Laravel project and instaling Tailwind CSS. Yet, we have a tool that will help you streamline front-end development — UXPin Merge. This is a UI builder for creating interfaces with Tailwind UI components. Thus, the first step of integrating Tailwind with Laravel is to do UI exploration in UXPin.

Step 1: Create UI design in UXPin

Go to UXPin and start a new project. Open a Tailwind UI library (an official Tailwind CSS library of reusable components) that’s available on Merge AI plan (or on free trial.) Choose components that your project requires and set up their properties. Can’t see a relevant component? Use AI Component Creator to generate a component you need.

Let’s say we’re building a marketing website. What’s cool about UXPin Merge is that you can copy the code from Tailwind UI library and paste it to UXPin’s editor, using an extra component in Tailwind UI library called Custom Component.

Here’s how:

  1. Go to Tailwind UI > Hero Section
  2. Copy the code by clicking the Copy icon in the top right corner.
  3. Open UXPin’s prototype.
  4. Copy the code in the Custom Component.
  5. Pick another section and repeat the steps above.

This is the fastest way of building a code-based UI. If you need a custom section that you can’t find in the Tailwind UI resources, use AI Component Creator to generate one based on your prompt. We cover how to use it in this article: ChatGPT in UI Design.

Then, you can use Global Theming for Tailwind UI library in UXPin to make your design consistent.

Step 2: Set up a Laravel project

The next step is to set up a new Laravel project or open your existing one.

  1. Install prerequisites such as PHP, Composer (dependency manager), and Node.js with npm.
  2. Install Laravel using Composer if you’re starting a new project.
  3. Open your Laravel project in Visual Studio Code or StackBlitz.
  4. Install recommended VS Code extensions for Laravel development, such as PHP Intelephense and the Laravel Extension Pack.
  5. Configure your environment by adjusting settings in the .env file.

Step 3: Install Tailwind CSS

Install Tailwind CSS via npm, setting up your tailwind.config.js, and configuring your CSS files to include Tailwind’s directives. You’ll also need to adjust your Webpack configuration through Laravel Mix to ensure that Tailwind’s build process is integrated into your asset compilation pipeline.

What you want to do is incorporate the UI design that you’ve created in UXPin into your project. You can copy the code off the component and incorporate it into the thing you’re building. You just need to use a code editor like Visual Studio Code or StackBlitz.

Just open the Preview mode in UXPin and switch to an Inspect tab. Click on the component and you will see that you get the code behind it. Copy it and paste it to your Laravel project.

We covered this step in this webinar:

Step 4: Serve your application

“Serving your application” refers to the process of running your web application on a local development server so that it can be accessed through a web browser. This is a crucial step during development because it allows you to view and interact with your application as it would appear and function on a live web server, albeit in a local and controlled environment.

When you serve a Laravel application, you typically use Laravel’s built-in development server, which can be started with the Artisan command-line tool.

Use Tailwind CSS with Laravel

For developers working on web applications that demand both strong backend capabilities and a stylish, adaptable frontend, Laravel paired with Tailwind CSS is an excellent choice. Unlike other CSS frameworks, Tailwind CSS offers unique advantages for modern web development, including a utility-first approach and extensive customizability. This article also explores how to integrate Laravel with Tailwind CSS effectively.

Quickly build code-backed UIs with UXPin Merge – a powerful UI builder that integrates the power of design and code, so you can create UI designs of your app with pre-built components, AI generation and quick code copy features. Try UXPin Merge for free.

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by UXPin on 10th May, 2024

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