The CSS-in-React Panorama

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(It is a sponsored submit.)

I solely half-jokingly confer with the CSS-in-JS world as CSS-in-React. Lots of the libraries listed under theoretically work in non-React conditions — they typically name that “framework-agnostic”) — however I’d guess the overwhelming majority of their utilization is on React tasks. That’s as a result of React, regardless of being a UI-focused library, has no specific blessed styling resolution. Vue has model tags constructed proper into Single File Parts. Similar with Svelte. Angular additionally has a built-in component-scoped types resolution. With React, it’s bring-your-own.

Maybe not venturing too far out of their core strengths is a energy of React. I dunno. However you do have to select on how you can model issues in your React tasks. For instance, you possibly can merely write (and there may be actually no downside with this), common ol’ flat-file vanilla CSS to model your React tasks. I’d suggest that over utilizing inline model={{ }} on every little thing any day. However reality be informed, there are some fairly good benefits to picking a library to assist with types. Issues like:

Co-locating types and componentsScoping types to componentsUsing props in styling variationsUsing JavaScript skills inside CSS syntaxTheming

Every library has its personal set of fancy issues that may be variations on the above, or may be completely distinctive to that library.

It’s additionally notable that through the use of a library the place you creator types in your JavaScript, it’s not a 100% assure that you need to ship your types in JavaScript. The libraries that use the time period “zero runtime” are sometimes referring to the concept that the types are compiled to CSS throughout a construct course of, so you employ that CSS like another, which is probably going higher for efficiency.

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A few caveats earlier than we undergo the listing:

I’m not deeply skilled in each single one in every of these libraries. I’ve used a number of of them on actual tasks, most closely CSS Modules. I can’t fairly converse to the nuances of every. The demos under are primary demonstrations of primary styntax.If I get any details fallacious otherwise you need to add extra element, hit me within the feedback or by way of our contact type and I’ll enhance issues.The purpose of this, partially, is to have a working code instance of every for straightforward reference.


Tremendous fashionable — in all probability the most-used possibility.Popularized the probabilities of dynamic styling and the magic of utilizing props for variations.Template literal syntax feels comfortably CSS-like. It looks like it actually encourages utilizing it that method, however it’s potential (docs) to make use of Object syntax. Helps SSR, but it surely’s not the identical as “zero runtime” libraries (which implies “compiles to static CSS.” It nonetheless ships a JavaScript runtime for any dynamic types.

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CSS Modules

Quite simple. All it does is scope types and encourage co-location of types and parts.It’s fancy function is composition, which is principally mixins based mostly on current lessons. Not a runtime factor in any respect — it requires a construct course of. But it surely nonetheless works with HMR and such. You possibly can ship it with types in JavaScript, or extract them into static CSS information. It does nothing dynamic, so it’s extraordinarily “zero runtime” in case you extract the CSS.Might be mixed with Sass.Constructed into Subsequent.js


Emotion is a library designed for writing css types with JavaScript. It supplies highly effective and predictable model composition along with an amazing developer expertise with options comparable to supply maps, labels, and testing utilities. Each string and object types are supported.

It doesn’t appear terribly completely different than styled-components, TBQH, however this podcast will get into among the efficiency variations. Helps SSR, however just isn’t zero-runtime.Glamorous is completely deprecated (and I suppose Glam and Glamor as effectively?) in favor of Emotion, in order that’s one thing.

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The Variants API could be very helpful and effectively executed.The TypeScript editor expertise¹.Helps theming and encourages utilizing a design token strategy.Utilities assist you to construct your personal customized shorthands for styling.Helps SSR — and it’s nearer to zero-runtime, although not solely. Additionally doesn’t appear to really generate CSS information, reasonably it has a perform that spits out CSS so you need to use SSR by way of a <model> tag (which I can’t think about is right for caching).Right here’s a Twitter thread with an trustworthy evaluate. Additionally see all of the reactions to this.

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I’d say vanilla-extract helps SSR but it surely’s greater than that as a result of that’s the solely method it’s used, until you choose into particular “runtime” options, like dynamic theming. That’s the which means of “zero runtime”: it solely compiles to static CSS information.The TypeScript editor expertise¹. (Additionally see our current article.)Variants API, together with a Recipes API that’s like just like the Stiches framework above.Helps a theme and utility-class-like strategy by way of SprinklesI used to be gonna put Aphrodite on this listing, however the creators of it are shifting to vanilla-extract, so it in all probability isn’t an amazing selection today, although it appears to do just about all the identical stuff as these different libraries.


Has a React-specific integrationHas an lengthen syntaxPlugin structure

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The OG of “Zero Runtime” CSS-in-JS libraries.Compiles to precise CSS information, however nonetheless has a runtime in case you do dynamic issues (at the very least I believe so).Feels just like styled-components API-wise.Helps Important CSS.

Styled JSX

Babel plugin, so positively a build-process factor.Utilizing a <model jsx> tag proper within the element on the stage of nesting you need to scope to is a intelligent API. Lack of nesting isn’t nice — you need to repeat the selector title loads.


Goober is notable as a result of it has an superior title and is a mere 1.25KB, which is like an order of magnitude smaller than the rest.Just about the identical function set of styled-components and Emotion.

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Fascinating sources:

Shopify’s analysis on which library they needed to change to.Fb has one thing cooking (convention video), however hasn’t open-sourced something. It’s apparently referred to as “StyleX” — and there may be already a library referred to as “Style9” that makes an attempt to match the options, together with near-zero runtime, atomic CSS output, and the TypeScript expertise. When you’re into authoring within the atomic model, lots of people assume that utilizing Tailwind (in all probability with just-in-time mode) is the best way to go.Most likely a extra React-y model of Tailwind is Styled System, which supplies types as a bunch of preconfigured props. Twin is alongside the strains of authoring with atomic types in a React-y method. I couldn’t get Compiled to work for me. I’m certain it was simply me, however I gave up. It seems to be precisely just like the styled-components API to me, besides the output is atomic CSS lessons, which does appear kinda cool. The positioning CSS in JS Playground reveals a bunch of examples, together with just a few libraries not talked about right here, like Fela, Radium, and extra. My god, are there plenty of these items.

By “the TypeScript editor expertise,” I imply the library is written in TypeScript to make the most of one in every of TypeScript’s finest options: assist autocompleting code in code editors. For instance, in case you’re utilizing VS Code as your code editor, and also you write a set of “coloration” variants, then sort <Button coloration=” in your JSX file, it is best to get an inventory of your personal appropriate variants within the contextual VS Code autocomplete menu to select from.

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