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The Most Popular Responsive Web Development Framework: Bootstrap

Alekh Verma | February 9, 2023
BOOTSTRAP

Frameworks for responsive web design are very popular right now. The main reason for this is that these frameworks enable the creation of a single website that would work on a variety of devices, regardless of their screen sizes.

What is a Framework?

It can be characterized as a set of concepts, procedures, and standards that are created to assist you in solving a typical issue. Later, a similar pattern in fresh situations can be analyzed, and the same solution can be applied as a guide for doing so.

Technically speaking, a framework is a collection of standardized code files and directories (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and others) that may be used to create a website. A framework's primary goal is to offer a standard structure for creating websites so that programmers can reuse code as needed without having to start from scratch. Frameworks are based on standard HTML and precompiled CSS, which give the website a foundation.

What is a Responsive Design Framework?

The tools and structure that make up responsive web design frameworks are focused on the site's structure and content. People select responsive web design frameworks primarily for the creation of the many front-end elements, like off-canvas menus and models, and for the design process. The front-end packages, such as HTML5 and CSS, that are necessary for communicating with web browsers are included in the responsive CSS frameworks. The HTML versions of the CSS pre-processors have typographically defined grids.

What is Bootstrap?

Bootstrap, formerly known as "Twitter blueprint," was introduced as a framework to facilitate uniformity among internal tools. Inconsistencies resulted from the use of numerous libraries for interface development prior to the introduction of Bootstrap.

Bootstrap, to put it simply, is a library of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript that is used in front-end development. In essence, the tool spares you from having to start from zero while coding your website or web application, providing you extra time to create flexible websites. The open-source, free tool is posted on GitHub and is accessible as source code or in precompiled form. The simplest form that may be utilized right away in any web product is the precompiled version.

The source code version includes documentation, precompiled and minified CSS, and JavaScript files. Designers and developers who want to customize the code to create Bootstrap versions unique to their projects use it.

Precompiled Bootstrap Structure

You can find compiled CSS and JavaScript, compiled and minified CSS and JavaScript, source map, and packaged JavaScript files in the precompiled Bootstrap v5 folder if you download and unzip it.

Bootstrap's earlier iterations used fonts that can now be easily downloaded from various places, such as Font Awesome.

  • For bootstrap-grid rows and columns are arranged inside one or more containers to create responsive layouts using CSS.
  • You can use bootstrap.css as the primary CSS file and replace it with your own style sheet.
  • Developer tools like those included in Chrome or Firefox use the .map files to debug code as if it were not compressed.
  • When a CSS reset is required to address inconsistencies across target browsers and devices, the bootstrap-reboot.css file is used.
  • Not every file in the CSS folder needs to be used. For instance, if all your HTML files need is the grid, all you would need to do is include bootstrap-grid.css and use bootstrap-grid.min.css when launching your application online.
  • In the aforementioned structure, there are eight files in the Bootstrap JavaScript folder.
  • The popper.js file, which is used to control poppers in web projects, is included in the bootstrap.bundle.js file. Numerous JavaScript libraries are included in the bootstrap.js file for controlling carousels, drop-down menus, and other strong functions.
  • Similar to CSS, minified.js files are used for online application deployment, and developer tools use.map files to debug code.

Additionally, you don't have to use every JavaScript plugin in the folder; instead, just pick the ones required for a given functionality.

Bootstrap Source Code

The following is contained in the framework's source code:

Bootstrap-source-code

Everything mentioned in the precompiled part above is included in the dist/ folder. The docs/ folder also contains examples of how to use the framework and the source code for the documentation. The js/ and scss/ files contain the source code for CSS and JavaScript, respectively.

Developers can only use the components they are interested in by using source files. The finished result is more compact, small, and effective because you only employ the styles and components that you require. These speeds up the loading of your website or web app.

Utilizing Bootstrap

You must have a fundamental understanding of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to use Bootstrap with ease in any project. There are three quick ways to include Bootstrap in your project, and they are as follows:

1. Using an open-source, free CDN

A content delivery network consists of servers that are spread out globally and deliver content quickly. It's an easy approach to provide user access to bootstrap files. The open-source CDN jsDelivr, which serves files straight from GitHub repositories and the npm registry, is recommended by Bootstrap.

Using a CDN has many benefits, such as:

  • The bootstrap files are loaded from a nearby server based on a user's location, which should speed up page loading.
  • Increased website security because content delivery via CDN provides improved defense against DDoS attacks.
  • Many websites employ a free open-source CDN like jsDelivr, which means that a portion of the website visitors will cache bootstrap files in local browsers. This increases website speed while lowering the cost of bandwidth.

Copy and paste the CSS link below into your HTML file's head> section to use the jsDelivr CDN.

The popper can then be placed or included with a bootstrap. To ensure appropriate operation, load your Bootstrap js file first, followed by the other js files in the order listed below.

No matter which option you select, the JavaScript files are positioned before the closing body> element.

The CSS and JavaScript from the section above combined in an HTML template should have pages like the one shown below. But if you decide to utilize any other free or paid bootstrap templates for your project, make sure they adhere to the most recent design guidelines.

Note that modern themes, like the one below utilizing Bootstrap 5, no longer require jQuery to make websites faster and easier to use.

2. Putting locally downloaded Bootstrap files in your project folder

You can download Bootstrap from the official website and use it locally on your project instead of using a CDN. Once the compressed source file has been downloaded, unzip the CSS and JavaScript folders, then add them to the project folder where you've saved the index.html page.

As with the CDN option, you can then load the CSS and JS files by changing the link's ahref attribute to point to the appropriate files on your local hard drive.

3. Using package managers like RubyGems and npm

A package manager is a program that keeps track of the software that is installed on your computer and makes it simple to install new software, update to newer versions, and uninstall older applications. Any project can use Bootstrap by using package managers like npm and RubyGems.

To achieve this, quickly initialize your project's package management, then use the command line to download a local copy of the framework and place it in your project's folder.

Using the method described in the section above, you can then include the CSS and JavaScript files in the head> and body> parts of your index.html file, respectively.

Why Use Bootstrap?

  • Speedy coding procedure.

Although it may appear quite simple to develop a useful, user-friendly website or web application with an attractive user interface, considerable work and patience must go into such a project. Developers may build websites and web applications without having to start from scratch by using bootstrap, which saves time.

  • The framework can be customized.

You only need to be a little bit inventive and change a few things to make a project stand out. If the design template provided by the framework does not meet your needs, you can modify the CSS file or combine it with another stylesheet to give your project a unique appearance without having to write CSS from scratch.

You can also get rid of any plugins and other elements that are not necessary for your project, which can speed up rendering.

  • It's simple to use.

You may simply use Bootstrap without much effort if you have a basic understanding of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The installation procedure is quick and simple, as shown in the How to use Bootstrap section. Anyone may complete it.

  • Flexible grid system

Websites designed for mobile users must now use responsive grid systems due to the rising popularity of small-screen mobile devices. The bootstrap framework is mobile-friendly and offers a grid system that adapts to the user's screen size.

A set of containers, rows, and columns in the 12-column system enable the layout to be adjusted and the content to be displayed to be aligned. All six of the currently accessible breakpoints include: xs( extra small), sm (small), md (medium), lg (large), xl (extra-large), and xxl (extra extra large). The grid system also has classes, but you can use them to make certain pieces visible or invisible on different target devices.

  • Finding consistency between development is easier.

Did you know that a team of Twitter employees created bootstrap with consistency in mind? The developers created a solution that prevents developers working on the same project from using multiple libraries to ensure consistency throughout the company's web pages and applications.

Bootstrap was created to guarantee uniformity regardless of who manages a project. Additionally, because it is a cross-browser-compatible framework, it produces the same results in all browsers.

Typical Errors to Avoid When Using Bootstrap

1.  Assuming that Bootstrap will take care of everything.

The tool does not do everything for you even though it includes HTML and CSS templates with a variety of user interface elements like forms, tables, navigation, carousels, buttons, and much more. Instead, it offers a set of defaults from which you may choose the parts needed to swiftly launch a high-quality website or web application.

Additionally, you can twerk it to meet your desired output, thus it in no way restricts your inventiveness.

2.  Considering that you don't need to understand HTML, CSS, and JavaScript

You must have a fundamental understanding of HTML, CSS, and JS to use Bootstrap. The framework just relieves your shoulder of many difficult parts; it does not instruct you in any of the three.

Therefore, the tool shouldn't be utilized as a learning curve shortcut for beginners. Similar to the previous point, even though Bootstrap saves developers time on the design portion, you still need a designer's assistance when creating your design theme.

3.  Disregarding the guidelines in the framework.

Failure to carefully read the documentation when utilizing bootstrap is a typical error made by many developers. They thus introduce defects into their project by assuming diverse concepts on their own, which leads to unanticipated outcomes.

For instance, despite Bootstrap's prospective exclusion of the best practice for touch devices, which is to make menu drop-downs appear on hover rather than on click; Some programmers could be adamant about adding a functionality even when it was intentionally omitted.

Such errors can be avoided by reading documentation explaining the updates and improvements made to the version you are using for your project.

4.  Using all of the framework's features

When utilizing bootstrap, you must be picky about which functionalities your project requires. Don't overuse the framework's features just because they appear good because doing so could harm the performance of your website.

You can quickly design your project using HTML and CSS and then add the plugins needed to achieve particular interactive functionalities one at a time as a safe practice.

Conclusion

In conclusion, 22.2% of websites employ Bootstrap, one of the most well-liked responsive web-building frameworks. The front-end development tool is a collection of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code that is pre-packaged with many components to save developers the time and effort of having to create websites and web apps from scratch.

The time-saving features, customizability, dynamic grid structure, and consistency of bootstrap are just a few benefits. It's crucial to remember that the framework won't take care of everything. Additionally, abusing established practices and utilizing all of the tool's features can degrade performance.

Alekh Verma

CEO and Founder at eSearch Logix Technologies!

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