Okay, we admit it! Here at Untame we love Twitter Bootstrap. We often start a project thinking about how we can best leverage our favorite framework help us out. After all, by leveraging Bootstrap we can predictably create a more refined product for our clients while at the same time speeding up our workflow **web nirvana.
If you are about to embark on your next web project, it may serve you well to understand just why using Twitter Bootstrap is a great idea.
Bootstrap is Free!
Yep free, like free beer, only better (I think). Seemingly countless hours have gone into the creation of this incredible framework for the benefit of designers and developers around the world. Perhaps one of the most selfless actions it that a master craftsman contributes a work purely for the enjoyment and benefit of their peers. Sweet!
Used By The Best
At Untame, we love our work and we will be the first to tell you that we are proud of it. However, we are definitely not the only show in town and absolutely not the only group that has a certain love of all things Bootstrap. Take a look around any brand new web app or service that you consider well designed. More and more startups are using Bootstrap because of its flexibility and ease of use.
Simple Yet Powerful Grid System
Float based layouts can be a real drag to configure, plain and simple. When I first started in my design career, getting layouts correct along with each element within them likely cost me more in time than I ever earned. Sure, in the design world a keen knowledge of layout methods is essential. However, if there are bigger fish to fry, then it simply does not get much better or easier than the Bootstrap grid system.
Gone are the days of declaring a “first” or “last” class for elements at the beginning and end of their respective rows. Now, if you can simply place your elements into a row container and count to twelve, you are good to go!
Cutting Edge Responsive Design
Fluid or Fixed: Your Choice!
If you are designing a full web application with a full screen view and a intricate interface, it is likely that a fixed grid system is not what you are looking for at all. That’s okay, Twitter Bootstrap offers a fluid layout that is every bit as dynamic as their fixed layout. Still responsive, the fixed layout allows for the use of the very same layout techniques as the fixed. Better yet, you can even combine fixed with fluid any ol’ time you like. How do you like that for flexibility!
Incredible Starting Styles
Beautiful typography, awesome buttons and readable tables are just a few of the things that get overhauled with Bootstrap. A css reset this is not, though it does include the awesome normalize.css baked right in.
Forms That Don’t Suck!
Styling web forms can be a drag! One input or option list may look entirely different from one browser to another. However, Twitter Bootstrap includes styles for great things like inline forms, appended and prepended inputs. Need to add a dynamic dropdown menu on to a prepended section of a text input? (sounds scary) Well Bootstrap has you covered.
Made by the Pros (You are in good company)
Maybe you have heard of Twitter (small startup, I think it was just kickstarted). Well a few of the best engineers and designers at Twitter have put their weight behind the bootstrap. So, with little reservation I would suggust that Twitter Bootstrap will work for your project. Unless you are wanting to make a GeoCities clone… in that case I’ve got nothing for you.
Wide Open Customization
If you hate the Bootstrap grid, but really love the design of their buttons and icons, that’s okay! Head on over to the Twitter Bootstrap customize page and bake up a bootstrap of your very own.
Bootstrap was created using the LESS CSS preprocessing markup. Less makes it super easy to alter items sitewide using a few variables here and there. You may not find the LESS enabled version of Bootstrap on their home page, but you can grab it directly from the main github account.
Developer Friendly Style
I love my back-end developer buddies. But from time to time my friends find themselves so entrenched within the back end code that the idea of having to create a front end layout just translates to frustration. No more! With Bootstrap, a dev can create an entire layout using only HTML and a few classes. Yep, never once touching a CSS file. So, if you have an awesome new app in mind, and don’t want to take the time to care about inset box shadows or border radius, Bootstrap is worth a look.
Baked In jQuery Greatness
How many times have you searched the net looking for the top 25 greatest lightbox and gallery plugins of the month? I know I have. This framework offers functional, vetted jQuery plugins that serve to make like a little easier.
Bootstrap Is Modular
With Bootstrap it is absolutely not all or nothing. There have been times that I have chosen to use just a few items like the Navbar and a few jQuery plugins. Other times I opt to use just about everything. One of the coolest parts of Bootstrap is that each individual part can survive on its own. However, if one part simply requires another, the dynamic download is smart enough to know that and include the proper files.
What makes systems like this so great? I firmly believe that it is often the communities that grow around them. Twitter Bootstrap is growing all of the time and a lot of that is driven by community feedback.
Moreover, groups have extended it by developing incredible add-ons like FontAwesome (Check out Sarah’s post)
This is the kind of thing that just excites me about the future of web development. Imagine where WordPress or Drupal would be without their communities. How cool is it that a front end development kit is receiving a similar type of community contribution?
Not a One Trick Pony
If you can think it up, in all likelihood Bootstrap could be an aid in getting there. If you are creating a new blog theme or the next Spotify (they use Bootstrap too) there is a component of this framework that may very well solve a problem that seems tough.