Bootstrap is a CSS framework (click here to learn more about the frameworks) free and opensource created in 2011. Originally it was created by Mark Otto and Jacob Thornton two Twitter developers to encourage consistency between internal tools. It has now become one of the most widely used front-end frameworks and open source project in the world.
It is a very popular and powerful tool to use in the creation of websites (responsive and mobile first, that is to say mobile device oriented) and web applications especially for design (graphics, button, nav bar etc.). It is one of the most popular projects on the GitHub development management platform. It is compatible with almost all modern browsers.
The latest stable version is bootstrap 4, but a new test version under development called bootstrap 5. An official release date has yet to be announced, but an alpha version is available for free download. Tracking and updates for the previous version have been discontinued.
It can be downloaded from its official website ( here ) and used locally. Or, linked through one of its CDNs (Content Delivery Network) which has servers all over the world.
Bootstrap: a source of solutions and performance
Using Bootstrap is convenient because it saves a lot of time. This speeds up the development process tremendously, while maintaining the level of quality and consistency that every programmer seeks. When Bootstrap is used, developers don’t need to redesign specific elements to meet the needs of browsers, devices, or platforms. No more spending hours and hours trying to figure out where a mistake is. Most of the hard work is no longer handled by the developers, but by Bootstrap itself.
By using Bootstrap, even back-end developers can create responsive front-ends, without investing time in understanding HTML and CSS. Bootstrap can be applied to a static site, a PHP site, a CMS-anything. Its flexibility is the feature that saves time and avoids making too many changes
Files in bootstrap
As a front-end infrastructure, Bootstrap has three main files:
- bootstrap.css which is a CSS framework
- glyphicons which is a set of icons
Bootstrap has very consistent and comprehensive documentation. All the blocks and snippets of code used in Bootstrap are carefully explained. While reading the explanations, users will also be able to notice examples inside the code and determine what it belongs to.
Most of the lines of code are used to implement the basics, but understanding the basics from the start can save a lot of time. Bootstrap is an ideal option for novice developers because it allows users to select the exact components they want to include in a project and they don’t need to write code from scratch. Most of the time, it only takes a bit of copy and paste.
The modularity of Bootstrap consists of a series of LESS stylesheets (from version 4 SASS) which implement different components of the toolkit. A main stylesheet (bootstrap.less) encompasses the component stylesheets. Developers can then select the components they need by editing this master sheet. The use of LESS thus allows the manipulation of variables, functions, operators, selectors.
Why use bootstrap in your web development projects
Bootstrap has several advantages including:
- Easy to use with simple HTML syntax.
- Bootstrap was developed with a mobile first vision and is very responsive on all devices. Centralized development code keeps output consistent across platforms and browsers.
- It is Open Source and therefore there is a great forum for interaction between the developer community to contribute, share and learn
- It is built on top of LESS (now SASS for version 4) a CSS grid system for responsive web design. LESS is dynamic and easy to handle. Predefined classes and semantics make coding easier and faster.
- Web UI components like dropdowns, buttons, navigation menu, labels, breadcrumbs, pagination, thumbnails, alerts, progress bars and more make it easy to design. Icons can be created using fonts (glyphicons) of different colors and sizes. Therefore, bootstrap has an amazing collection of utility tools.
- Quick and easy to use with existing assets
- Impressive documentation: All the documents relating to the subjects are available. This cuts down on brainstorming time and effort and makes the development process quick and easy.
- The Bootstrap framework is fully compatible with future development standards, for example HTML5 and CSS3
- Frequent updates. Bootstrap is one of the most frequently updated frameworks available on the web. As soon as a problem arises, the development team fixes it and releases a new version. Users can always be confident that they are working with the latest and most secure tools
Some disadvantages of Bootstrap
Very popular and practical bootstrap goods also have some very negligible disadvantages such as:
- Bootstrap is heavy to load. This is due to the several components available in the unused library. These are loaded on the web pages at the same time as Bootstrap.
- Bootstrap also encounters site look-alike issues. Since many websites use it without making any adjustments.
- May require rewriting CSS styling. Especially if you have a lot of customizations and want to deviate from the Bootstrap framework.
With its countless valuable features, bootstrap occupies a prominent place in the development of responsive and mobile-first websites within the developer community. It supports multi-device and multi-channel development on desktops, laptops, mobiles, tablets and various other portable devices. At the same time, it brings the advantages of a reliable solution at a low cost. Therefore, the bootstrap framework is a powerful, practical and malleable tool that any good web developer should have in their arsenal.