Ant Design vs Tachyons

When it comes to choosing a CSS framework for your web development project, there are numerous options available, each with its own strengths and use cases. In this article, we’ll be exploring two distinct frameworks: Ant Design and Tachyons. Both serve the purpose of aiding developers in creating visually appealing and functionally robust user interfaces, but they approach design and development quite differently. We’ll compare these frameworks in various aspects to help you decide which might be the best fit for your project.

What is Ant Design?

Ant Design is a design system and React UI library that provides a comprehensive set of high-quality components and demos for building rich, interactive user interfaces. It is widely recognized for its enterprise-level components and is commonly used for developing desktop applications.

Key Features of Ant Design

  • Component Rich: Ant Design boasts a vast array of components that are ready to use out-of-the-box, including tables, forms, menus, date pickers, and more.
  • Design Consistency: It provides a consistent design language and a set of principles that ensure a uniform user experience across platforms.
  • Customization: Ant Design allows for extensive customization via its theming capabilities, enabling developers to tailor the look and feel according to their brand identity.
  • Internationalization: It supports multiple languages, making it suitable for global applications.

Documentation and Installation

You can find the official documentation for Ant Design here. To install Ant Design, you can use npm or yarn:

npm install antd
# or
yarn add antd

Popular Third-Party Addons or Libraries

  • Ant Design Pro: An out-of-the-box UI solution for enterprise applications. Ant Design Pro
  • Antd Admin: A powerful admin dashboard template built on Ant Design. Antd Admin
  • Ant Motion: An animation library that works well with Ant Design components. Ant Motion

Code Sample

import { Button } from 'antd';

const App = () => (
    <Button type="primary">Primary Button</Button>

What is Tachyons?

Tachyons is a functional CSS framework that adopts a different approach than traditional frameworks. It focuses on creating fast-loading, highly readable, and super responsive interfaces with as little CSS as possible.

Key Features of Tachyons

  • Functional CSS: Tachyons is built around the idea of functional CSS, where utility classes are used to construct components.
  • Minimalist Approach: It aims to reduce the size of CSS by providing small, composable classes that can be combined to create a variety of designs.
  • Responsive Design: Tachyons includes a set of responsive classes to ensure that designs look great on any device.
  • Performance: With its small footprint, Tachyons helps in achieving faster page load times and better performance.

Documentation and Installation

You can find the official documentation for Tachyons here. To install Tachyons, you can download the CSS file or use npm:

npm install tachyons

Popular Third-Party Addons or Libraries

  • Tachyons-Extra: Adds additional classes and functionality to Tachyons. Tachyons-Extra
  • React-Tachyons: An npm package that allows you to use Tachyons classes as React components. React-Tachyons

Code Sample

<div class="pa4">
  <button class="f6 link dim br3 ph3 pv2 mb2 dib white bg-blue">Blue Button</button>

Design Philosophy and Approach

Ant Design and Tachyons have fundamentally different design philosophies. Ant Design is component-based, meaning developers work with pre-designed components that can be customized and configured as needed. This approach is particularly beneficial for projects that require a consistent design across different parts of the application.

On the other hand, Tachyons is utility-first, focusing on small, single-purpose classes that can be combined in various ways to build unique designs. This approach grants developers a high degree of flexibility and encourages a more hands-on approach to styling elements.

When to Choose Ant Design

  • When developing complex applications, particularly for enterprise.
  • If you need a comprehensive set of pre-designed components.
  • When design consistency is a top priority.
  • If you’re working with a React-based project and want seamless integration.

When to Choose Tachyons

  • For projects where you want to keep CSS size to a minimum.
  • If you prefer a utility-first approach to styling.
  • When you need a highly responsive design with minimal effort.
  • If you want to have the flexibility to create unique designs without being confined to a specific component structure.

In the following sections, we’ll delve into more specific comparisons, including community support, customization capabilities, learning curve, and real-world use cases for each framework. Stay tuned for the second half of the article where we’ll continue our comprehensive analysis of Ant Design vs Tachyons.

Community Support and Ecosystem

The success and longevity of a CSS framework are often tied to the strength of its community and the ecosystem that develops around it. A vibrant community can provide a wealth of resources, including plugins, extensions, and third-party tools that enhance the framework’s capabilities.

Ant Design Community

Ant Design has a strong following, particularly among developers who work with React. Its GitHub repository has numerous contributors and a large number of stars, indicating a healthy and active community. The community provides ample support through forums, chat groups, and third-party resources.

Tachyons Community

Tachyons, while not as large as Ant Design in terms of community size, still has a dedicated base of users who appreciate its simplicity and performance-first approach. Its GitHub repository is active, and you can find discussions and support through various online forums.

  • GitHub Repository: Tachyons GitHub
  • Community Resources: There are fewer dedicated community channels for Tachyons, but web development forums and sites like Stack Overflow provide a platform for discussion and support.

Customization Capabilities

Both Ant Design and Tachyons offer customization options, but their approaches differ significantly due to their underlying philosophies.

Ant Design Customization

Ant Design’s theming system is based on Less, a popular CSS pre-processor. You can customize the theme by overriding Less variables, allowing for a high degree of flexibility in terms of branding and design.

@primary-color: #1DA57A; // Change primary color
@link-color: #1DA57A; // Change default link color

Tachyons Customization

Tachyons is built with PostCSS, which allows you to customize the framework by editing the configuration files or creating new utility classes as needed. This gives developers the power to fine-tune the design without bloating the CSS.

/* Custom utility class for a specific shade of blue */
.bg-custom-blue {
  background-color: #007bff;

Learning Curve

The learning curve for any CSS framework is an important consideration, especially for teams or individual developers looking to adopt the framework for the first time.

Learning Ant Design

Ant Design’s learning curve can be steeper for those who are new to React or component-based design systems. However, its comprehensive documentation and wide range of examples make it easier to get up to speed. Familiarity with React is a prerequisite for using Ant Design effectively.

Learning Tachyons

Tachyons is generally considered to have a gentler learning curve due to its utility-first approach and smaller API surface area. It requires developers to understand the concept of functional CSS and how to compose styles using utility classes. For those accustomed to traditional CSS or other frameworks, there might be an initial adjustment period.

Real-World Use Cases

Choosing between Ant Design and Tachyons often comes down to the specific needs of the project and the preferences of the development team.

Use Cases for Ant Design

  • Enterprise Applications: Ant Design is well-suited for building complex, data-driven enterprise applications where consistency and feature-rich components are crucial.
  • Admin Panels and Dashboards: The extensive component library makes it an excellent choice for creating admin panels and dashboards with a lot of user interaction and data visualization.

Use Cases for Tachyons

  • Landing Pages and Marketing Websites: Tachyons is ideal for crafting custom, responsive designs quickly without a heavy CSS footprint.
  • Prototyping: Its utility-first approach allows for rapid prototyping and iterating on designs with minimal effort.


Ant Design and Tachyons cater to different needs and preferences in web development. Ant Design provides a comprehensive, component-based system with a focus on enterprise-level applications, while Tachyons offers a minimalist, utility-first approach for developers who prioritize performance and customizability.

Ultimately, the decision between Ant Design and Tachyons should be based on the specific goals of your project, your team’s expertise, and the kind of development experience you’re looking for. Both frameworks have their merits, and understanding their differences is key to making an informed choice that aligns with your project requirements.

Whether you choose the rich, pre-defined components of Ant Design or the lean, compositional approach of Tachyons, both frameworks have the potential to streamline your development process and help you build beautiful, responsive, and user-friendly web applications.

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