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Emotion vs styled-components: What are the differences?

Key Differences between Emotion and styled-components

1. Syntax: Emotion uses a JavaScript syntax, allowing styles to be written directly in JavaScript code using template literals. This enables dynamic styling by interpolating variables and logic within the styles. On the other hand, styled-components provides a CSS-in-JS approach where styles are defined using a special syntax that looks similar to CSS but is actually written in JavaScript.

2. Tagged Template Literal: In Emotion, styles are defined using a tagged template literal syntax, where styles are wrapped inside a function or component. This allows the styles to be composed and reused. styled-components also uses a similar concept of tagged template literals, but it provides more flexibility by allowing the use of nested styles and dynamic styling based on props.

3. CSS Prop: Emotion introduces a dedicated css prop, which allows styles to be applied on a per-component basis, making it easier to inline styles or apply styles conditionally. On the other hand, styled-components does not have a separate css prop, but instead uses the component style itself for applying styles.

4. Performance: Emotion is known for its superior performance compared to styled-components. It utilizes a technique called "atomic CSS" where styles are automatically extracted and deduplicated, resulting in smaller bundle sizes and faster rendering. Although styled-components has improved its performance over time, Emotion still holds an edge in terms of performance optimizations.

5. Server-side Rendering: Both Emotion and styled-components provide support for server-side rendering (SSR), but Emotion has better SSR performance out of the box. It can easily extract critical styles and hydrate them on the server-side, resulting in faster initial rendering. styled-components requires additional configuration and setup for SSR optimizations.

6. Community and Ecosystem: styled-components has a larger and more mature community compared to Emotion. As a result, it has a wider range of third-party libraries, plugins, and resources available. styled-components also has better tooling integration with popular IDEs like VSCode, which enhances the development experience. While Emotion also has a growing community, it may have a slightly smaller ecosystem in comparison.

In Summary, Emotion and styled-components differ in their syntax, tagged template literal usage, presence of a css prop, performance optimizations, server-side rendering capabilities, and the size and maturity of their respective communities and ecosystems.

Decisions about Emotion and styled-components
Luca Restagno
Co-Founder at iterspace · | 5 upvotes · 23.2K views

Storybook, along with React, styled-components, and Atomic Design, is the perfect tool to boost your front end development productivity. It helps you develop isolated presentational components with a super fast hot reload. It allows to test your props with knobs. Finally you compose, and reuse your components in your app.

You can host your storybook as a static website and share it with the other devs, so they are aware of the components already available in your library, and how to use them.

You can share the same with your UI/UX team, and converge towards a common design system.

You can even run visual regression tests on your library, with storyshots.

Which stack do you use on the Front End?

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Pros of Emotion
Pros of styled-components
  • 3
    Easy to use
  • 11
    Very easy to use and integrate
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What is Emotion?

Emotion is a performant and flexible CSS-in-JS library. Building on many other CSS-in-JS libraries, it allows you to style apps quickly with string or object styles. It has predictable composition to avoid specificity issues with CSS. With source maps and labels, Emotion has a great developer experience and great performance with heavy caching in production.

What is styled-components?

Visual primitives for the component age. Use the best bits of ES6 and CSS to style your apps without stress 💅

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What are some alternatives to Emotion and styled-components?
JavaScript is most known as the scripting language for Web pages, but used in many non-browser environments as well such as node.js or Apache CouchDB. It is a prototype-based, multi-paradigm scripting language that is dynamic,and supports object-oriented, imperative, and functional programming styles.
Git is a free and open source distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency.
GitHub is the best place to share code with friends, co-workers, classmates, and complete strangers. Over three million people use GitHub to build amazing things together.
Python is a general purpose programming language created by Guido Van Rossum. Python is most praised for its elegant syntax and readable code, if you are just beginning your programming career python suits you best.
jQuery is a cross-platform JavaScript library designed to simplify the client-side scripting of HTML.
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