Tailwind CLI with Yew and Trunk

Yew is a front-end web framework written in Rust. It compiles to Web assembly, which is pretty darn quick. But you probably already knew this if you came here from Google.

I’m no front-end expert, and I don’t like to deal with CSS, so Tailwindcss is a godsend for me. Instead of wrangling tons of CSS tags together to make something that looks different in every browser, I get to add a couple of CSS classes to elements to make things look halfway decent.

Before the Tailwind Standalone CLI, you had to install Node to compile the Tailwind CSS to something Yew can output after compiling.

With this CLI, however, you don’t need any node at all (well, technically, the Tailwind Standalone CLI is just Node wrapped with Tailwind, but it’s a single binary, and you don’t have to install and manage a gazillion NPM packages).

To set this up with Trunk, one of the ways to use Yew, ideally I’d have it build Tailwind for me, and I don’t have to run multiple processes.

Luckily you can do this with a Trunk.toml file and a [build] directive.

First I installed the Tailwind CLI as described in their docs:

curl -sLO https://github.com/tailwindlabs/tailwindcss/releases/latest/download/tailwindcss-macos-x64
chmod +x tailwindcss-macos-x64
mv tailwindcss-macos-x64 tailwindcss

After initializing tailwind with ./tailwindcss init, I modified the config file to look for classes in the Rust code:

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

Then I added a Trunk.toml file with a build step:

target = "index.html"
dist = "dist"

stage = "build"
command = "sh"
command_arguments = ["-c", "./tailwindcss -i src/tailwind.css -o $TRUNK_STAGING_DIR/tailwind.css"]

And placed a Tailwind.css file in the src folder that uses the base, utilities, and components.

@tailwind base;
@tailwind components;
@tailwind utilities;

Finally, I modified the index.html file that Trunk uses to render the app to include the CSS file:

<!DOCTYPE html>
    <meta charset="utf-8" />
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="/tailwind.css"/>
    <base data-trunk-public-url/>

    <title>Yew App</title>

Running trunk serve will compile the CSS during the build step and include it in the output:

➜  yew-app git:(main) trunk serve
Jan 04 12:42:30.060  INFO 📦 starting build
Jan 04 12:42:30.063  INFO spawning asset pipelines
Jan 04 12:42:30.470  INFO spawned hook sh command_arguments=["-c", "./tailwindcss -i src/tailwind.css -o $TRUNK_STAGING_DIR/tailwind.css"]
Jan 04 12:42:30.470  INFO spawning hook stage=Build command=sh
Jan 04 12:42:30.470  INFO building yew-app
    Finished dev [unoptimized + debuginfo] target(s) in 0.14s
Jan 04 12:42:30.816  INFO fetching cargo artifacts
Jan 04 12:42:31.106  INFO processing WASM
Jan 04 12:42:31.148  INFO using system installed binary app="wasm-bindgen" version="0.2.78"
Jan 04 12:42:31.150  INFO calling wasm-bindgen
Jan 04 12:42:31.428  INFO copying generated wasm-bindgen artifacts

Done in 329ms.
Jan 04 12:42:32.114  INFO finished hook sh
Jan 04 12:42:32.115  INFO applying new distribution
Jan 04 12:42:32.117  INFO ✅ success
Jan 04 12:42:32.119  INFO 📡 serving static assets at -> /
Jan 04 12:42:32.119  INFO 📡 server listening at

The entire app looks like this:

➜  yew-app git:(main) tree .
├── Cargo.lock
├── Cargo.toml
├── Trunk.toml
├── index.html
├── src
│   ├── main.rs
│   └── tailwind.css
├── tailwind.config.js
├── tailwindcss

I also managed to deploy it to vercel, but that’s a story for another time.