Tailwind CSS


Yes, while bootstrap is the default CSS framework in IHP you can use IHP together with Tailwind. This guide will help you set up the latest Tailwind version in your IHP project.


NodeJS and Entr

First, we need to add NodeJS to our project. You should also follow this step if you have NodeJS already installed on your system. Installing the NodeJS version via nix allows all people working on your project to get the same NodeJS version as you’re using.

We also need a file watcher called entr to automatically call tailwind whenever some of our CSS files have changed.

For that open your projects default.nix and add nodejs and entr to otherDeps:

        otherDeps = p: with p; [
            # Native dependencies, e.g. imagemagick

Now you need to rebuild your local development environment:

nix-shell --run 'make -B .envrc'

After that, you have node and npm available in your project.

Installing Tailwind

Install Tailwind via NPM as usual:

npm init
npm add tailwindcss postcss autoprefixer

This will create package.json and package-lock.json. Make sure to commit both files to your git repository.

Configuring Tailwind

Create a new directory tailwind. We’re going to place all the CSS files and the tailwind configuration in that directory:

mkdir tailwind

Create the tailwind configuration file at tailwind/tailwind.config.js with the following content:

module.exports = {
    purge: {
        mode: "all",
        content: ["./Web/View/**/*.hs", "./assets/**/*.css"],
    darkMode: false, // or 'media' or 'class'
    theme: {
        extend: {},
    variants: {
        extend: {},
    plugins: [],

We also need a CSS entry point for tailwind. Create a new file at tailwind/app.css:

@tailwind base;

@tailwind components;

.btn {
    @apply px-4 py-2 bg-blue-600 text-white rounded;

form > div {
    @apply mb-4;

form input {
    @apply shadow;
    @apply appearance-none;
    @apply border;
    @apply rounded;
    @apply w-full;
    @apply py-2;
    @apply px-3;
    @apply text-gray-700;
    @apply leading-tight;

form label {
    @apply block;
    @apply text-gray-700;
    @apply text-sm;
    @apply font-bold;
    @apply mb-2;

@tailwind utilities;

Adding the build step

We need to add a new build command for starting a tailwind build process to our Makefile. For that append this to the Makefile in your project:

    ls tailwind/*.css|NODE_ENV=development entr npx tailwindcss build -i tailwind/app.css -o static/app.css -c tailwind/tailwind.config.js

Make requires tab characters instead of 4 spaces in the second line. Make sure you’re using a tab character when pasting this into the file

This defines a new command make tailwind-dev that runs npx tailwindcss build whenever a CSS file inside the tailwind/ directory changes. The CSS output will be placed at static/app.css (the standard main CSS file of IHP apps). It will use the tailwind configuration at tailwind/tailwind.config.js.

For production builds we also need a new make target:

    NODE_ENV=production npm ci
    NODE_ENV=production npx tailwindcss build -i tailwind/app.css -o static/app.css -c tailwind/tailwind.config.js --minify

Make requires tab characters instead of 4 spaces in the second line. Make sure you’re using a tab character when pasting this into the file

Updating the .gitignore

As the static/app.css is now generated code, it’s best to put the static/app.css into our .gitignore file.

git rm -f static/app.css # Remove the existing app.css
printf '\nstatic/app.css' >> .gitignore
git add .gitignore

Removing bootstrap

Open Web/View/Layout.hs and remove the following <link> and <script> elements that load bootstrap:

<link rel="stylesheet" href="/vendor/bootstrap.min.css" />
<script src="/vendor/popper.min.js"></script>
<script src="/vendor/bootstrap.min.js"></script>

We don’t need to make any additions for tailwind here. Just get rid of bootstrap.

Bootstrap is also part of the production CSS build, we need to remove that as well. Open Makefile and remove these lines:

CSS_FILES += ${IHP}/static/vendor/bootstrap.min.css
JS_FILES += ${IHP}/static/vendor/popper.min.js
JS_FILES += ${IHP}/static/vendor/bootstrap.min.js

Switching IHP Styling

Right now your IHP app will still be rendered with some bootstrap CSS class names. We can switch this to use tailwind classes. Open Config/Config.hs and make these changes:

module Config where

import IHP.Prelude
import IHP.Environment
import IHP.FrameworkConfig
import IHP.View.CSSFramework -- ADD THIS IMPORT

config :: ConfigBuilder
config = do
    option Development
    option (AppHostname "localhost")
    option tailwind -- ADD THIS OPTION

Advanced: Customizing the tailwind classes

You can also override the default classes used by the tailwind styling. Add an additional import IHP.View.Types and then you can do something like:

option tailwind { styledSubmitButtonClass = "my-app-button", styledValidationResultClass = "failed" }

You can find a full list of options that you can override in the API Documentation.

If your configuration is getting complex, it’s best to move this configuration out of Config.hs and then just import your custom CSS Framework into your Config:

module Web.View.CustomCSSFramework (customCSSFramework) where
import IHP.View.CSSFramework
import IHP.View.Types

customCSSFramework = tailwind { styledSubmitButtonClass = "my-app-button", styledValidationResultClass = "failed" }

-- Import that inside the Config.hs
module Config where

import Web.View.CustomCSSFramework

config :: ConfigBuilder
config = do
    option Development
    option (AppHostname "localhost")
    option customCSSFramework

Developing with Tailwind

Once everything is installed you can start your tailwind build by calling:

make tailwind-dev

You should have this process running next to your terminal that runs ./start. Alternatively, you could add this to the start file like so:

make tailwind-dev & RunDevServer

Whenever you make a change to any CSS file in tailwind/ it will automatically rebuild your styles and write it to static/app.css.

Building for production

Because we defined the static/app.css make task above, the standard process of building IHP CSS applies here as usual:

make static/prod.css

Make will automatically detect that static/app.css is missing and will run make static/app.css to produce that missing file. This will then trigger the tailwind production build.

This means you don’t need to make any changes to your existing deployment process or your IHP Cloud settings.

If your IHP project has been created before 26.11.2020: Make sure that the line include ${IHP}/Makefile.dist inside your Makefile is the last line of the file. It will most likely be somewhere at the top. If it’s not the last line, the production CSS will not be generated.