UIKit vs Tachyons

When it comes to front-end development, choosing the right CSS framework can significantly streamline the development process and ensure a consistent design. Two frameworks that have garnered attention for their unique approaches to styling are UIKit and Tachyons. In this article, we will delve into a detailed comparison of these frameworks to help you make an informed decision for your next project.

What is UIKit?

UIKit is a comprehensive, lightweight, and modular front-end framework that provides a vast collection of HTML, CSS, and JS components. It is designed to facilitate the development of fast and powerful web interfaces. With its clear and well-structured documentation, UIKit makes it easy for developers to find the components they need and understand how to implement them.

Popular Third-Party Addons or Libraries for UIKit

  • UIkit with Vue.js: Vue UIkit – integrates UIKit with Vue.js for a more reactive and component-based development.
  • UIkit with React: React UIKit Components – allows the use of UIKit components within a React application.

Code Samples for UIKit

Adding a simple button:

<button class="uk-button uk-button-default">Button</button>

Creating a navbar:

<nav class="uk-navbar-container" uk-navbar>
    <div class="uk-navbar-left">
        <a class="uk-navbar-item uk-logo" href="#">Logo</a>
    <div class="uk-navbar-right">
        <ul class="uk-navbar-nav">
            <li><a href="#">Item 1</a></li>
            <li><a href="#">Item 2</a></li>
            <li><a href="#">Item 3</a></li>

What is Tachyons?

Tachyons is a functional CSS framework that aims to create fast-loading, highly readable, and 100% responsive interfaces with as little CSS as possible. Tachyons emphasizes the use of single-purpose classes that can be combined to construct any design directly in the markup.

Popular Third-Party Addons or Libraries for Tachyons

  • Tachyons-CLI: Tachyons-CLI – a command-line tool to customize and build your own version of Tachyons.
  • Tachyons Table of Styles: Tachyons Table of Styles – a quick reference to all Tachyons classes.

Code Samples for Tachyons

Adding a simple button:

<a class="f6 link dim br3 ph3 pv2 mb2 dib white bg-black" href="#0">Button</a>

Creating a navbar:

<nav class="flex justify-between bb b--white-10 bg-black">
    <a class="link white-70 hover-white no-underline flex items-center pa3" href="">
    <div class="flex-grow pa3 flex items-center">
        <a class="f6 link dib white dim mr3 mr4-ns" href="#0">Item 1</a>
        <a class="f6 link dib white dim mr3 mr4-ns" href="#0">Item 2</a>
        <a class="f6 link dib white dim mr3 mr4-ns" href="#0">Item 3</a>

Comparing UIKit and Tachyons

When we consider UIKit and Tachyons, it’s important to understand that they are designed with different philosophies in mind. UIKit is component-based, meaning it provides a set of pre-designed UI components that you can use to construct your web interface. Tachyons, on the other hand, is utility-first, focusing on single-responsibility classes that can be combined to achieve a desired look without writing custom CSS.

Design Philosophy

  • UIKit: Emphasizes a complete and coherent set of pre-styled components that can be easily customized and extended. It is well-suited for developers who prefer working with a set of UI elements that adhere to a consistent design language.
  • Tachyons: Promotes the composition of styles directly in the markup using functional classes. This approach is ideal for developers who value the flexibility of building unique designs without leaving the HTML.


  • UIKit: Customization can be done by overriding the default styles of components or extending them with additional classes. UIKit’s modular nature makes it easy to include only the components you need, helping to keep the stylesheet size to a minimum.
  • Tachyons: Offers a high degree of customization through its functional classes. You can tailor the design by combining these atomic classes in various ways. Tachyons also provides tools for generating a custom build with only the styles you plan to use.

Community and Ecosystem

Both frameworks have active communities and ecosystems. UIKit has a range of third-party integrations and plugins that extend its capabilities, especially within popular JavaScript frameworks. Tachyons, while more focused on the CSS itself, has a selection of tools and resources that aid in creating custom builds and understanding the framework’s utility-first approach.


Performance is a key consideration when choosing a CSS framework. Tachyons prides itself on being lightweight and fast, with a small footprint that aids in quick page loads. UIKit, while not as minimal as Tachyons, is still optimized for performance, with a focus on producing fast and responsive interfaces.

Both frameworks offer a different take on how to approach styling in web development. UIKit provides a more traditional component-based system, while Tachyons encourages a functional, utility-first methodology. Your choice between the two will largely depend on your project requirements and personal or team preferences in terms of design approach and workflow.

In the next section, we will continue to explore the differences between UIKit and Tachyons, including examples of real-world usage, best practices for each framework, and how to decide which one is the best fit for your project. Stay tuned for an in-depth look into the strengths and potential drawbacks of each framework, as well as tips on getting the most out of whichever one you choose.

Real-World Usage

When considering UIKit and Tachyons for real-world applications, it’s important to look at the types of projects that each framework is best suited for.

UIKit, with its comprehensive collection of pre-styled components, is ideal for projects where design consistency is key. It’s particularly useful for enterprise-level applications, e-commerce sites, and admin dashboards where you need a wide range of UI elements that work together seamlessly.

Tachyons, on the other hand, is perfect for projects that require a high degree of customization without the bloat of unused styles. It’s a favorite among developers who build content-driven sites, such as blogs or marketing pages, where performance is critical and unique visual designs are a priority.

Best Practices for Each Framework

UIKit Best Practices:

  1. Leverage Components: Make the most of the available components to ensure consistency across your UI.
  2. Customize Thoughtfully: When customizing, ensure that you maintain the overall design language of UIKit to keep a cohesive look.
  3. Modular Approach: Import only the components you need to keep your CSS file size to a minimum.
  4. Use the Grid System: Take advantage of UIKit’s responsive grid system to create layouts that work on all devices.

Tachyons Best Practices:

  1. Compose with Purpose: Use Tachyons’ single-responsibility classes to build complex designs with simple HTML.
  2. Custom Builds: Utilize tools like Tachyons-CLI to create a custom build with only the classes you need.
  3. Keep Markup Clean: Avoid class name redundancy and over-nesting to maintain readable and maintainable markup.
  4. Responsive Design: Use Tachyons’ responsive utilities to ensure your site looks great on any device.

Deciding Between UIKit and Tachyons

Choosing between UIKit and Tachyons comes down to your project’s needs and your development style. Consider the following factors:

  • Project Size and Complexity: For larger projects with many UI elements, UIKit’s component-based approach may be more manageable. For simpler or more performance-critical projects, Tachyons’ lightweight approach could be advantageous.
  • Design Requirements: If your project requires a unique design that deviates from standard UI patterns, Tachyons provides the flexibility needed. UIKit is better suited for projects that can work within a predefined design system.
  • Team Familiarity: The learning curve for each framework differs. UIKit may be easier for those familiar with component-based frameworks, while Tachyons requires a mindset shift towards functional CSS.
  • Development Speed: UIKit can speed up development with ready-to-use components, whereas Tachyons might require more upfront investment in composition but offers faster load times.


Both UIKit and Tachyons offer unique advantages for web development. UIKit’s rich set of components and Tachyons’ minimalist, functional approach cater to different styles of development and project requirements. By understanding the design philosophies, customization options, and best practices of each framework, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your project goals.

Ultimately, the choice between UIKit and Tachyons will depend on the specific needs of your project, your team’s expertise, and your personal preference for a component-based or utility-first approach to CSS. Regardless of your choice, both frameworks are powerful tools that can help you build beautiful, responsive, and performant web applications.

More UIKit Comparisons


What do you think?