Utility-first CSS

What’s all the rage?

Its about to get weird.

It’s wrong. “Unsemantic”.

I think.. I’m...

It’s so different it will make your brain tilt.

What’s all the rage?

Separation of concerns

Decouple markup from presentation.

“Semantic” classnames

Based on content, not design.

HTML & CSS “decoupled”?

I see the relationship between HTML and CSS, in terms of “separation of concerns”, as a dependency direction.

 

“Separation of concerns”

CSS depends on HTML

“Mixing concerns”

HTML depends on CSS

HTML is restyleable!

CSS is reusable!

“Semantic” classnames

Presentational classnames

For the project you're working on, what would be more valuable: restyleable HTML, or reusable CSS?

.no-padding-top {

    padding-top: 0;

}

Context agnostic. Reusable. Intuitive. Memorable.

.col-md-6
.text-center
.margin-bottom-sm
.container-narrow
.bg-primary

Utility classes are

LEGO blocks.

Getting a little “utility class happy”

utility-last

utility-first

vs

band-aid

building blocks

vs

Utility-first

“Helper classes” are the building blocks, the design system. Compose with them from scratch.

Utility-last

Build structure with custom CSS. Slap utility classes on top, as an afterthought.

Utility-first toolkit

What’s all the rage?

Ultra focused HTML workflow

No context switching.

- DWYL, Learn tachyons

- DWYL, Learn tachyons

Show me!

Mythbusting

It’s a maintenance nightmare!

Shifting the complexity somewhere else.

Changing HTML classes on elements to change styles is fairly practical. While anyone can rearrange pre-built “lego blocks”, it turns out that no one can perform CSS-alchemy.

Abstract away repetition

Templating language

Abstract in CSS

BEM

within design restrictions!

May as well use inline styles!

Yeah right.

Specificity.

1-to-many relationship.

Media queries/pseudo/states.

Restricted “set of choices”.

Looks similar, but very different!

It bloats your HTML,  poor performance!

Gzip

“Hello bello! I made a card in Trello!”

“Hello b{ello}! I made a card in Tr{ello!}

How much bloat?

136kB

Raw HTML

94kB

Raw HTML

6.6kB

Gzipped

136kB

Raw HTML

5.5kB

Gzipped

94kB

Raw HTML

Difference

Raw 42kB
Gzipped 1.1kB

Myths

Want to do some reading?

- John Polacek, The case for atomic CSS

- Adam Morse, CSS and scalability

A closing note

I was told over and over again that I would never be successful, that the technique was simply not going to work. All I could do was shrug and say:
“We’ll just have to see”.

- Dick Fosbury

“We’ll just have to see!”

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Thank you!

“do @ me”

@simonswiss

Utility-first CSS: what's all the rage?

By simonswiss

Utility-first CSS: what's all the rage?

Slides for SydCSS talk of 13th December 2017

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