Installing Svelte & Integrating Tailwind CSS (and PostCSS)

Svelte is an awesome underdog in JavaScript frameworks and is climbing the ranks currently due to the way it compiles your scripts and HTML. Svelte is inherently a compiler and all of your components files get compiled into pure JavaScript. You can find out more about Svelte through their website.

Install Svelte

To get set up with Svelte, we will require the installation of Node.js and Degit. I won't cover how to get these set up in this article as it expects a bit of knowledge of Node and the Terminal, you can follow the installation of each at their respective sites beforehand.

Let's create a copy of the base template provided by Svelte, and install all the necessary libraries with the following.

npx degit sveltejs/template my-svelte-project
cd my-svelte-project

yarn # or npm install

To test everything is working properly, we can run yarn dev and we should be able to see the default page at https://localhost:5000. If you can't you may want to ensure nothing went wrong with the setup.

Set Up Tailwind

I'm a huge fan of Tailwind and use it on most projects, so working with Svelte would be no different. Staying in the directory we installed Svelte into, we will need to install a few dependancies, create a new postcss.config.js file and finally modify a couple of existing files.

Install Dependencies

Install the necessary development dependencies with the following command:

yarn add --dev postcss postcss-load-config svelte-preprocess tailwindcss

If you want to make sure unused styles are removed when in production (keeping our file size lean), you can also add the following dependency.

yarn add @fullhuman/postcss-purgecss

Generate Tailwind Config

To overwrite the default styles provided by Tailwind, we will need to make sure we have a tailwind.config.js in our route directory where we can put our necessary tweaks. You can do this by running the following command.

npx tailwind init

If you open up the file created you should see it looks similar to the below.

module.exports = {
  theme: {
    extend: {}
  variants: {},
  plugins: []

Creating our PostCSS Rules

We will need to tell Svelte how to interpret and compile our necessary code. We can do this by creating a postcss.config.js file in the route directory. Manually create one or run the following in the terminal.

touch postcss.config.js

Open the file in your favourite editor and copy in the following code.

const purgecss = require('@fullhuman/postcss-purgecss')({
  content: ['./src/**/*.svelte', './src/**/*.html'],
  whitelistPatterns: [/svelte-/],
  defaultExtractor: (content) => content.match(/[A-Za-z0-9-_:/]+/g) || []

module.exports = {
  plugins: [
    ...(!process.env.ROLLUP_WATCH ? [purgecss] : [])

To explain the above a little, we first create a ruleset for Purge CSS which will look through all Svelte and HTML files and remove any classes that do not match what is included. We'll also add a whitelist pattern to ensure that any Svelte generated classes are not removed unnecessarily.

We then watch on whether the process.env.ROLLUP_WATCH equates to true, if not, we purge, if true then we are in development and we just compile the Tailwind classes.

Integrating with Svelte

We'll need to include the Tailwind helpers somewhere so that all of the necessary styles can be pulled in. Open up the App.svelte file in the src/ folder, and add the following code to the bottom (replacing any styles that are already there).

<style global>
  @tailwind base;
  @tailwind components;
  @tailwind utilities;

Then we'll need to ensure Svelte runs the preprocessors on any code in our <style> tags. To do this, we'll need to open the rollup.config.js file in your editor and add the following at the top of the file.

import sveltePreprocess from 'svelte-preprocess'

Then modify the section which looks similar to the following

  preprocess: sveltePreprocess({ postcss: true }),

We should now have Tailwind fully integrated into Svelte. If you rerun yarn dev in your terminal you should see it compile the styles before page load and you'll have a stripped back page to jump into.


You can now include any of the styles as class attributes for values that already exist as seen below, or you can integrate by using the @apply method throughout your Svelte components.

<h1 class="font-bold">Title</h1>
  h1 {
    @apply font-bold text-2xl;