Bulma vs Tachyons

In the world of web development, CSS frameworks serve as foundational blocks for creating responsive and aesthetically pleasing websites with minimal effort. Among the myriad of options available, Bulma and Tachyons have emerged as popular choices for developers who prioritize simplicity and speed in their workflow. This article provides an in-depth comparison of these two frameworks, helping you decide which might be the best fit for your project.

What is Bulma?

Bulma is a modern CSS framework based on Flexbox, which provides a rich set of responsive, mobile-first components and elements. It’s known for its clean syntax and is considered easy to learn, especially for those already familiar with Flexbox. Bulma is open-source and provides a customizable grid system, components, elements, and modifiers that can be used to construct a web interface quickly.

Key Features of Bulma

  • Flexbox-based: Bulma utilizes Flexbox for building flexible and responsive layouts.
  • Responsive: The framework includes a responsive grid system and UI components that adapt to different screen sizes.
  • Modular: Import only the components you need, keeping your CSS lightweight.
  • Readability: Bulma’s classes are human-friendly, making it easier to understand and maintain the code.
  • Customizable: Variables can be customized using Sass, allowing for extensive theming and personalization.

Documentation and Installation

To get started with Bulma, you can visit the installation page, which provides various methods to include Bulma in your project, such as via npm, CDN, or by downloading the CSS file directly.

Popular Addons and Libraries

  • Bulmaswatch: A collection of free themes for Bulma.
  • Buefy: Combines Bulma with Vue.js to create interactive components.

What is Tachyons?

Tachyons is a functional CSS framework designed for creating fast-loading, highly readable, and super responsive interfaces with as little CSS as possible. It employs a different approach than traditional CSS frameworks by focusing on utility-first CSS, where you apply classes directly in your HTML that correspond to specific styles.

Key Features of Tachyons

  • Utility-first: Emphasizes single-purpose classes that do one thing well.
  • Responsive Design: Includes a set of responsive classes for quickly designing for different devices.
  • Performance: Aims to provide the smallest file size for production by including only the styles you use.
  • Composability: Styles can be composed in the markup to achieve a wide variety of designs without writing custom CSS.
  • Readability: Despite the large number of classes, Tachyons aims for semantic and human-friendly naming conventions.

Documentation and Installation

To incorporate Tachyons into your project, head over to the installation page, where you can find instructions for adding Tachyons via CDN, npm, or direct download.

Popular Addons and Libraries

  • Tachyons-Extra: A set of additional classes and extensions for Tachyons.
  • React-Tachyons: A library that brings Tachyons’ utility classes to React components.

Code Samples

Let’s take a look at how both Bulma and Tachyons can be used to create a responsive card component.

Bulma Code Sample

<link rel="stylesheet" href="https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/bulma/0.9.3/css/bulma.min.css">

<div class="card">
  <div class="card-content">
    <p class="title">
      “There are two hard things in computer science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors.”
    <p class="subtitle">
      Jeff Atwood
  <footer class="card-footer">
    <a href="#" class="card-footer-item">Save</a>
    <a href="#" class="card-footer-item">Edit</a>
    <a href="#" class="card-footer-item">Delete</a>

This sample uses Bulma’s built-in card, card-content, and card-footer classes to structure the component, along with title and subtitle for typography.

Tachyons Code Sample

<link rel="stylesheet" href="https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/tachyons/4.12.0/css/tachyons.min.css">

<article class="mw5 center bg-white br3 pa3 pa4-ns mv3 ba b--black-10">
  <div class="tc">
    <h1 class="f4">“There are two hard things in computer science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors.”</h1>
    <hr class="mw3 bb bw1 b--black-10">
  <p class="lh-copy measure center f6 black-70">
    Jeff Atwood
  <div class="ph3">
    <a class="f6 link dim br1 ph3 pv2 mb2 dib white bg-black" href="#">Save</a>
    <a class="f6 link dim br1 ph3 pv2 mb2 dib white bg-black" href="#">Edit</a>
    <a class="f6 link dim br1 ph3 pv2 mb2 dib white bg-black" href="#">Delete</a>

In this example, Tachyons uses utility classes such as mw5 for max-width, bg-white for background color, br3 for border-radius, pa3 for padding, and typography classes like f4 and f6. The styles are composed directly in the HTML, demonstrating the utility-first approach of Tachyons.

Conclusion of the First Half

Both Bulma and Tachyons offer unique approaches to styling web applications. Bulma provides a more traditional, component-based framework with a Flexbox grid and pre-styled components, while Tachyons focuses on utility classes that can be combined to achieve a wide range of designs without leaving the HTML.

The choice between Bulma and Tachyons will largely depend on your project requirements and personal preference. If you prefer a ready-to-use set of UI components and are comfortable with a slightly larger CSS file, Bulma might be the way to go. On the other hand, if you prioritize performance and embrace the utility-first methodology, Tachyons could offer the flexibility and efficiency you need.

In the second half of this article, we will delve deeper into the comparison, exploring topics such as community support, learning curve, and real-world usage scenarios for each framework. Stay tuned for more insights that will help you make an informed decision between Bulma and Tachyons for your next web project.

Community Support and Ecosystem

When choosing a CSS framework, it’s essential to consider the community and ecosystem that surrounds it, as this can greatly influence the availability of resources, help, and additional tools that can enhance your development experience.

Bulma Community Support

Bulma has a sizable and active community. With its popularity, you can find a wealth of resources, including:

  • Official Forum: Bulma has an official forum where developers can ask questions, share ideas, and get updates.
  • Extensions: There are numerous extensions available that add new components or functionalities to Bulma.
  • Themes and Templates: The community has created various themes and templates that can be used as starting points for projects.

Tachyons Community Support

Tachyons, while not as widely adopted as some other frameworks, still boasts a dedicated following. Community support includes:

  • GitHub Repository: The Tachyons GitHub repository is the primary hub for discussions and contributions.
  • Custom Generators: Tools like Tachyons Generator allow for customization of the Tachyons framework to better fit your project’s needs.
  • Component Libraries: There are community-driven component libraries and patterns that showcase how Tachyons can be used effectively.

Learning Curve

The learning curve for each framework can vary depending on your familiarity with CSS and the concepts each framework emphasizes.

Bulma Learning Curve

Bulma’s learning curve is relatively gentle for those who have a basic understanding of CSS and HTML. Its documentation is thorough and well-organized, making it easy to find the information you need. The naming conventions are semantic and intuitive, which helps in memorizing classes and reduces the need to constantly refer back to the documentation.

Tachyons Learning Curve

Tachyons takes a different approach with its utility-first classes, which can initially be overwhelming due to the sheer number of classes available. However, once you grasp the naming conventions and the composability of the classes, the development process can become very efficient. The Tachyons documentation provides a solid foundation for learning the framework, but it may take some time for developers to get used to the utility-first concept.

Real-World Usage Scenarios

Each framework can be ideally suited for different types of projects. It’s important to assess your project’s requirements when deciding which framework to use.

When to Use Bulma

Bulma is particularly well-suited for:

  • Rapid Prototyping: With its ready-to-use components, Bulma can help you quickly put together a prototype.
  • Websites Requiring a Consistent Look: Bulma’s predefined components ensure a consistent look and feel across your site.
  • Projects Where Developers Are New to CSS: The framework’s simplicity and readability make it a good choice for those less experienced with CSS.

When to Use Tachyons

Tachyons may be the better choice for:

  • Performance-Critical Projects: Tachyons’ minimalistic approach results in smaller CSS file sizes, which is beneficial for performance.
  • Highly Custom UI Designs: The utility-first approach gives developers fine-grained control over the styling without leaving the HTML.
  • Teams Embracing Functional Programming Concepts: Tachyons’ composability aligns well with functional programming principles.


Both Bulma and Tachyons offer unique advantages that cater to different preferences and project requirements. Bulma provides a more traditional framework experience with a focus on components and an easy learning curve, making it a great choice for those who want a comprehensive set of UI elements out of the box. Tachyons, with its utility-first approach, offers a high degree of customization and performance optimization, appealing to those who want to build a lightweight, highly responsive web interface.

Ultimately, the decision between Bulma and Tachyons will depend on your specific needs, your team’s working style, and the goals of your project. By considering factors such as community support, learning curve, and real-world applications, you can make an informed choice that aligns with your development philosophy and delivers the best results for your web project.

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