Bootstrap was developed by Twitter developers in 2011 to speed up the development and layout of front-end elements. That same year the team released it as an open-source framework. Today, Bootstrap is one of the most used front end web development libraries in the world.
What is Bootstrap?
Bootstrap is a powerful front-end development library created by former Twitter employees Mark Otto and Jacob Thornton that includes pre-built HTML, CSS and JS components for building mobile-first responsive websites of all sizes and complexity. Bootstrap essentially helps save developers loads of time writing CSS and HTML by providing free templates as a starting point for your web project.
Why use Bootstrap?
Web application development is all about consuming and publishing information. The consumption, in particular, should be as easily digestible as possible. That means your information should be accessible on any device. In a visually appealing and balanced way.
- Responsive grid system
Bootstrap’s easy-to-understand, flexible grid system, as well as the vast Bootstrap library of plug-in components, means that you can create a functional, responsive website in a short space of time. Bootstrap is built on the concept of mobile-first development, so your content will scale perfectly to a mobile device without you needing to do too much. You can then decide what components should be visible or how the content should adjust as the screen size changes. Right out of the box, you can get a project off the ground very quickly.
- Easy customisation
With a bit of CSS know-how, all Bootstrap visual elements are customisable. This means that even using the off-the-shelf Bootstrap components, your site can still look original. You can re-design the buttons, modals, navigation bars, links and menus, and many larger organisations do this to personalise the user experience. The website for Forbes India uses vanilla Bootstrap. Even the main Forbes website uses a customised version of Bootstrap 3. So, with some clever work, a Bootstrap project doesn’t need to look like a Bootstrap project.
There are over a dozen custom JQuery plugins that developers can use with Bootstrap to get their site not just looking great but fully interactive too. You can use as many or as few of these as you want depending on your needs to get exactly what you want from your website!
- Massive library of interactive components
Collapsible mobile menus? Interactive carousel sliders? Styled, pop-up modals? Scroll-spy as you go down a single-page application? Popovers and spinners? They’re all included in the huge range of Bootstrap components. You can create beautifully styled, interactive components on your site with little-to-no coding. Most of them just require a simple class name to be added to a <div> element. All of these components are customisable, too, so you can fit them into your site’s overall theme.
- The Bootstrap community
There are thousands of templates and examples of how you can customise Bootstrap available. Take a look at examples on CodePen to see the creative ways in which Bootstrap can be customised and – with correct attribution, of course – try some in your own projects. With a little help from the community, you can bring your Bootstrap project to the next level.
In conclusion, Bootstrap has come a long way since its establishment as a style guide for internal Twitter projects. It is now a mature, powerful front-end library that allows you to focus on executing your vision. At the same time, it carries out the hard work of resizing your content to look good on different screen sizes underneath. Just because your site is based on Bootstrap, doesn’t mean that it has to look “Bootstrappy”. Yes, that is a word I just invented.
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