Replicating `$.slideToggle` with Tailwind CSS & Alpine.js


I think jQuery's greatest feature is all of the animation / transition utilities. These methods truly changed how fast you can build a clean and interactive UI with some nice animations along the way.

As people move away from jQuery though, it is hard to find a solid answer on how you can achieve a similar effect to slideToggle. I'm going to be using Tailwind v1.2+ alongside Alpine, using some modern CSS transformation rules.

The basics

CSS provides such really useful transformation properties that allow you to modify the appearance of an element. In this case, we want to use the scaleY transformation function. This will allow us to change the height of an element and Tailwind provides scale-y-0 and scale-y-100 classes for this.

We also want to add some transitions for this scale change, so we'll use Tailwind's transition- classes too.

On the Alpine side of things, we can use some data- attributes and event handlers to trigger the slide.

The click

The first thing needed is some sort of trigger. I'm going to use a <button> for this.

<button @click.prevent="">Toggle</button>

We also need a scale target. You could hard-code this, but I want to make this re-usable and will instead use a data-target attribute. We can use this to declare the query selector of our target element.

<button @click.prevent="" data-target="#toggleTarget">Toggle</button>

It would help if that target actually existed on the page. I'll make it a sibling of the <button>, but you could put it anywhere on the page really.

<button @click.prevent="" data-target="#toggleTarget">Toggle</button>

<div id="toggleTarget"></div>

The base styles

Our target also needs some classes for this to function correctly. These classes will apply some sensible defaults to the element so that we need to do less work with Alpine.

<button @click.prevent="" data-target="#toggleTarget">Toggle</button>

<div id="toggleTarget"
     class="transition-transform ease-out overflow-hidden origin-top transform"

transition-transform will make sure that our target element will transform when any transform: ... properties change. The ease-out class defines our timing function, in this case: transition-timing-function: ease-out.

We want to hide any overflow inside of our target so that any text doesn't hang outside of it whilst scaling.

origin-top will ensure our transformation uses the top of the element as it's origin / base point. If you change this to origin-bottom, the scale will go from the top to the bottom of the element. Change this depending on which effect you prefer.

transform tells Tailwind to add a master transform rule that will react to changes of CSS custom properties, made by the scale-y-* classes I mentioned earlier.

Making it move

Now that we have some basic classes on the target element, we can go ahead and start on toggle itself. I'm going to write all of this JavaScript inside of the @click.prevent on the <button>, but you are free to move this into a function.

We first need to get the target element:

<button data-target="#toggleTarget"

Then we need to toggle the scale-y-0 class.

<button data-target="#toggleTarget"

If you add some dummy text to the target element, you'll notice that it toggles state correctly but there's no smooth animation. That is because we haven't added a transition-duration property to our target element.

There are a couple of options here:

  1. Add a class with a default duration. For example, duration-500 will make sure that the transformation takes 500ms to finish.

  2. Add a class and support a data-duration attribute to change it on a trigger basis.

The first option is pretty self-explanatory but I'd like to show you how to do the section approach too.

data-duration support

Add a data-duration attribute to the trigger element. I'll use 700 as my default value.

<button data-target="#toggleTarget"

Now, inside of your click handler we need to set the property on our target element, so let's do a little refactoring too:

<button data-target="#toggleTarget" 
        const target = document.querySelector($
        if ($ {
   = `${$}ms`            

Since we need the target more than once, we can assign it to a constant. Then, using the style property of the element, set the transitionDuration property using the new data-duration attribute.

Live example

I've made a prettier example here for you to check out. You could take this a step-further and make a window.$slideToggle variable that has this as a function so that you can use it throughout your application.

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