Twitter Bootstrap is a front-end framework used for web application development. It has been designed to be intuitive and pretty for the users of web applications, and to be quick and easy to use for the developers of web applications. Below are just a few examples of why, at Bridgeall, we use the framework for our web projects.
Getting up and running with the Bootstrap framework is simple. Once you have installed it (this can be achieved by simply downloading the files and dropping them into your existing web application), you can reap the benefits of Bootstrap straight away. The framework comes bundled with many basic elements having pre-defined styles and classes applied to them. For example, Bootstrap’s button element can be styled quickly by adding the ‘btn’ class: resulting in a pretty and distinctive button. It doesn’t end there – as an example, the button already has hover functionality built-in. Without Bootstrap, adding a hover effect to the button can be a laborious process, with Bootstrap, you needn’t even have to consider it – it just works “out of the box”. At Bridgeall, we find the framework’s ease of use is what makes it great for prototyping web applications to potential clients. Using Bootstrap and taking advantage of its built-in styles also helps to ensure consistency throughout your web application, and even ensures that your application looks the same across different web browsers.
On the left, a standard Html button. On the right, a standard button with a ‘btn btn-primary’ class added to it using Bootstrap. The result is a much more attractive, modern-looking button.
Another interesting aspect of the Bootstrap framework is the use of an intuitive grid system in laying content out on a page. By default, each page consists of 12 columns, and each column can consists of many rows of content. Each column on the page can take up as much space as you desire, as long as the total column width adds up to 12. For example, you could divide the page into 3 equal columns, meaning that each column would be a width of 4. This can be extremely useful in designing page layouts, as it makes the process of aligning content quick and easy.
Diagram above shows a variety of different layouts made possible by using Bootstrap’s grid layout system
The use of this grid system also makes web pages using the Bootstrap framework responsive to a range of different devices – Bootstrap is fluid by nature. Whether you are accessing the page from a mobile phone, tablet, laptop or a desktop computer with a 4K monitor, the framework dynamically adapts the page to look its best. For example, it will shift columns onto new rows if the current device’s resolution is narrower than that of the intended platform. It even adapts if you simply resize your browser window – something we find extremely useful during development (this can be a good test of how fluid your page layout is).
One of the great things about the Bootstrap Framework is the fantastic wealth of resources available to developers. The framework’s website is extremely helpful, providing great documentation including examples and demos of various components.
As the framework is becoming more and more popular, its community of developers is growing rapidly. A quick web search will provide you with hundreds of different links to tutorials and examples. If ever you are stuck, help is only a search away, with a large number of contributors happy to help on websites such as StackOverflow.
Above screenshot of https://bootswatch.com/, showing only a small selection of free Bootstrap templates available to download and use.
There are even a wide range of both free and premium themes out there for you to use, to get your website looking stylish from the get-go.
The framework is also actively being updated by its developers – whether it is adding new features or fixing bugs identified by its users.
So there you have it…….. the Top 3 reasons to use the Twitter Bootstrap framework for developing web applications. It is quick and easy to get up-and-running, it is straight-forward to learn and, if you are ever stuck, there is a fantastic developer community on-hand to help you.