Responsive Design Frameworks: Just Because You Can, Should You?

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Responsive design is about building a website with a grid-based layout, images that resize and media queries, as described by Ethan Marcotte. After Marcotte defined the technique, responsive design frameworks began to emerge that incorporated these principles. Mostly based on CSS and JavaScript, many of these frameworks are open-source, free to download and quickly customizable.

Some of the most popular today are Bootstrap1 and Foundation2, which we’ll focus on in this article.

As responsive design frameworks became popular, a big debate emerged: Why would a professional designer use a responsive design framework?

Internet debates rage on3. Many declare that responsive design frameworks are awful, that only people who don’t know HTML and CSS would ever use such a thing. Here were the standard arguments against frameworks:

  • A designer could write their own grid system, and they probably should if they know any HTML and CSS.
  • Websites based on frameworks load slowly.
  • All websites based on frameworks look the same.
  • Bloat is common, whether due to the extra div tags, the 5000+ lines of CSS or the large JavaScript files.

While detractors complain vociferously, responsive design frameworks continue to grow in popularity. I suggest that these frameworks have positive aspects, even for the most experienced front-end Web developer, and I’ll outline these below.

The website for Greek restaurant Grk was built with Bootstrap.4
The website for American modernist Paul Rand 5 was built with Foundation.

A Place For Responsive Design Frameworks

One morning, I was listening to Eli White’s keynote presentation6 at the Northeast PHP Conference7. White is a PHP developer, and his talk was a retrospective of the development of the Web and PHP over the last 20 years. One point he made was that, 15 years ago, back-end developers built everything from scratch. Not much was available in the open-source world at the time, and proprietary content management systems (CMS) cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you wanted a survey for your website, for example, you had to write one from scratch.

Now in 2014, back-end developers no longer do this. Why would they, when they can use SurveyMonkey’s API to create something for their client in 10 hours, rather than 100 or 1000 hours? Is SurveyMonkey’s code the most awesome in the world, the most efficient, the most cleverly written and bloat-free? I am not a PHP developer and don’t know the answer to that. However, the API is tested and debugged, it runs well, and it is ready to be incorporated in your next project — and that has tremendous value.

Unless your client wants something very specific and has the money to fund such a project, as White explained, most PHP developers would argue that there is no good reason to write your own survey by hand in 2014.

So, what’s the equivalent technology shortcut for the front end of a website? Unfortunately, we don’t have one.

Currently, we have two choices for creating the front end of a website. The first choice is to download a template (or theme). Commonly used with CMS-based websites, a theme might come with a few color choices and a few variables to be tweaked. On the plus side, most themes are available for free or a very low cost relative to the cost of the overall website. Downloading a theme, changing some colors and dropping in a logo takes little time.

What’s more, a good theme will be updated regularly, and it will come with documentation, making it much more straightforward to modify. On the negative side, a theme might be used by many and not be unique in the slightest, and it might even make the website look like it belongs to a particular CMS.

The second choice is a fully customized solution. A graphic designer would be hired to discuss branding, and they would iterate through three designs and two rounds of revisions, perhaps prototype directly in the browser or convert the designs to HTML and CSS, integrate the design with a CMS or their back end of choice if desired, and deliver the (hopefully) perfect result to the client. On the plus side, each tag would be precisely placed, and the code would be perfectly semantic, with not an ounce of fat or an excess div to be found.

To achieve this, though, the developer must be highly trained and experienced — and whenever a developer of that caliber is involved, the price tag goes up accordingly, putting the project out of financial reach of small clients and adding significantly to the expenditures of large clients. Furthermore, unless additional dollars are spent on documentation (which is unusual in my experience), if the initial developer leaves, then the next developer would have to figure out the code in order to modify it. That’s an additional cost to the client.

Where’s the middle ground between downloading a low-end design, used all over the Internet, and creating something highly customized and expensive? Where is the equivalent of a back-end developer’s API or code library? Can we create some kind of mass customization8 for the front end?

We need to be able to tap into some prewritten elements, combine them with customized additions, and develop a solution that’s more customized than a canned theme but less customized than a high-end solution. By not starting from scratch, we’ll have saved hours of time in development and saved money for the client.

Am I saying we should ditch customized solutions for frameworks? No, of course not. A fully customized solution has its place in the Web development world, just as canned CMS themes have their place. If your client has the time and money to achieve perfection and a fully customized solution is a sound approach for the project, then why not?

But many clients have very limited time and money, and they might not be able to wait or pay for perfection. Can we get something that’s “pretty good” instead? Perhaps not every div would be perfectly placed, and there might be a few too many of them. Perhaps the code takes a bit longer than necessary to download. Nevertheless, the solution would be documented, in active development and customizable, and it could be built on quickly for much less than a custom website. There is value in that.

Like every other technology at our disposal in the Web development world, a responsive design framework has its own positives and negatives that we need to consider.

The website for Greek restaurant Grk was built with Bootstrap.9
The website for Greek restaurant Grk10 was built with Bootstrap.

Positives And Negatives Of Responsive Design Frameworks

Focusing on Bootstrap 3 and Foundation 5, let’s explore many of the positive and negative aspects of building your next website with one of these frameworks.

Browser Compatibility

Debugging for browsers sometimes take as long as developing the website itself. If you can reduce the time spent on debugging, you could save significant costs for the client (and your own hair).

Responsive design frameworks have already been tested on a specific set of browsers and devices, which reduces the work required to launch a website. (The amount of testing you’d have to do will vary according to how much you’ve customized the framework. If you’ve changed only a few colors, then only minimal testing is required. If you’ve hacked the grid system, then testing would need to be extensive.)

The latest versions of Bootstrap11 and Foundation12 support Internet Explorer (IE) 9 and up. There are tricks to making the frameworks work in IE 8, but IE 6 and 7 are not compatible with either. In general, these frameworks also support the latest versions of other common browsers, including Firefox, Safari and Chrome, as well as different sets of mobile browsers.

Unfortunately, if you want to support a browser that hasn’t been tested, then you might discover bugs that need to be fixed in code that you aren’t familiar with.

Customizing Files

Bootstrap and Foundation have standard download packages that contain all of the required files, styles and widgets. Some files are large, and there are several files to download. In general, files come in both human-readable and minified formats.

Just because your framework of choice ships with styles and JavaScript to support dozens of components doesn’t mean you have to download and integrate them all. Bootstrap1713 and Foundation1814 allow you to customize your download package, so you can grab only the CSS and JavaScript that you need to run your website. This reduces bloat and, as a result, reduces downloading times, a common argument against frameworks.

Later, if you want to add a widget or style that you previously excluded, you might need to reconfigure the package. This can be avoided, though. I recommend developing the website first, without customizing the look, to determine exactly which features you need. You can then customize the download package to include code for only those features. Once the framework is in place, you can then customize the look of the website.

Note: When the next minor version of Bootstrap or Foundation is released, you’ll need to redownload the customized package. Take careful notes of what you have and have not downloaded, so that you can repeat the process when updating your files.

CMS Critic, a website that reviews content management systems, was built with Foundation.15
CMS Critic16, a website that reviews content management systems, was built with Foundation.

Customizing Code

Some level of customization is likely required. You will probably want to change colors. If you’re more experienced, you may wish to hack the grid system.

Just because you’re using a framework doesn’t mean your website has to look like one. You can customize the CSS to give the website its own unique look, either by using LESS (for Bootstrap) or Sass (for Foundation) or simply by writing CSS from scratch.

The styles that come in Bootstrap out of the box are quite extensive, and the assumption is that you won’t be changing them extensively. You can override the CSS in a separate style sheet or by using LESS or Sass files. Unfortunately, little documentation is provided for LESS and Sass files, so you’ll need to figure out much of the code on your own. The abundant styles built into Bootstrap make it a popular choice for inexperienced front-end Web developers. (Note that Bootstrap has released Sass files within the last month. Prior to this, only LESS files were available for it.)

Foundation has fewer styles out of the box. While you can customize it with a separate style sheet, Foundation is more efficiently customized through its extensive Sass files (for which documentation is provided). With less CSS to override, you can build a fully customized look more easily. However, less experienced front-end developers might find Foundation more difficult to work with because of the greater knowledge of CSS and Sass required.

Bootstrap1713 and Foundation1814 can also be customized even before being downloaded, through simple changes to LESS and Sass variables. In Bootstrap, the customization options go on for pages, whereas only a handful of changes may be made to Foundation. But if you are not familiar with LESS or Sass, this is a quick and dirty way to customize the look of the framework.

Likewise, you can leverage the JavaScript provided to customize the functionality. The most recent versions of Bootstrap and Foundation require jQuery for customized widgets to work.

If you use the dedicated screens for Bootstrap and Foundation, then your download package will be customized. When the next minor version of each framework is released, you will need to customize the variables all over again for a new package.

Note that Foundation’s JavaScript includes a lot of well-placed semicolons. Bootstrap contains very few semicolons. This affects some developers’ choice of framework.

Accessibility

Accessibility is becoming increasingly important to developers. Both frameworks offer valid HTML, but let’s consider accessibility beyond valid HTML.

Bootstrap has made some advances with the help of Joomla19. Joomla, an open-source CMS, incorporated Bootstrap into version 3. Joomla’s developers have a long-standing commitment to accessibility, and they did not want Bootstrap to reduce accessibility of the CMS. As a result, in Bootstrap 3 you’ll find ARIA codes and screen reader-only styles, among other accessibility improvements.

Foundation, unfortunately, has not prioritized accessibility thus far. It does not come with ARIA codes or screen reader-only styles. Zurb has stated, however, that it wants to do more.

Webflow, a drag-and-drop website builder, is built with Bootstrap.20
Webflow21, a drag-and-drop website builder, was built with Bootstrap.

Conclusion

No responsive design framework is perfect. For a tool that performs various jobs, extra code is required to make that tool flex to your needs. Granted, completely custom code would probably be more efficient for a website than a framework.

Some front-end developers tell me that they have their own grid system, CSS and JavaScript components that they maintain for their own websites. Certainly nothing is wrong with this approach. But you have to maintain that code yourself. A popular framework minimizes the need for maintenance and testing.

I’m calling on my fellow front-end Web developers to reconsider the prospect of using a responsive design framework. Think of it as a productivity tool that you can draw on in full or in part. Download just the grid system, or take the whole package with all of the extras. Perhaps use a framework just for prototyping purpose or actually reuse the parts of the framework that you know well in your own project.

A framework is intended to get a website running quickly, with minimum debugging. Customize the heck out of it to look completely different, or change just a few colors and be done. However you use it, you’ll have standardized, documented code that can be easily passed on to another developer for maintenance and tweaking and that looks reasonable and functions well. The code is not perfect of course, but it’s pretty good. It cuts down the time required to create a website, which will make the website cost a bit less, too.

The world certainly has room for fully customized websites. I don’t mean to suggest dropping them in favor of mass customization. However, the next time a client wants a bit more in their design but is stretched for budget, perhaps it’s a good idea to consider a responsive design framework after all. You might find it to be a helpful tool in your arsenal, for quick prototyping, testing or even production code — one that expands your range of products and makes clients happy.

(al, ea)

Front page image credits: Zurb Foundation22.

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://www.getbootstrap.com
  2. 2 http://foundation.zurb.com
  3. 3 http://boagworld.com/dev/css-frameworks
  4. 4 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/paulrand-foundation-large-opt.jpg
  5. 5 http://www.paul-rand.com/
  6. 6 http://eliw.com/presentations/2013/ne13/ne13.history.pdf
  7. 7 http://www.nephp.org
  8. 8 http://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/masscustomization.asp
  9. 9 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/grk-bootstrap-large-opt.jpg
  10. 10 http://grkfresh.com/
  11. 11 http://getbootstrap.com/getting-started/#browsers
  12. 12 http://foundation.zurb.com/docs/compatibility.html
  13. 13 http://getbootstrap.com/customize/
  14. 14 http://foundation.zurb.com/develop/download.html#customizeFoundation
  15. 15 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/cmscritic-foundation-large-opt.jpg
  16. 16 http://www.cmscritic.com/
  17. 17 http://getbootstrap.com/customize/
  18. 18 http://foundation.zurb.com/develop/download.html#customizeFoundation
  19. 19 http://www.joomla.org
  20. 20 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/webflow-bootstrap-large-opt.jpg
  21. 21 https://webflow.com/
  22. 22 http://foundation.zurb.com/

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For more than a dozen years, Jen Kramer has been educating clients, colleagues, friends and graduate students about the meaning of a "quality website." Since 2000, she has built websites in a freelance capacity and as part of an agency.

Jen is a lynda.com author with fourteen published titles, including the popular "Up and Running with Foundation", " Bootstrap: Adding Interactivity To Your Site", and "Responsive Design with Joomla!". She has published two books on Joomla and is working on a third book on Bootstrap.

Jen currently offers in-person and online courses through Harvard Extension School, Community College of Vermont, Center for Digital Imaging Arts at Boston University, and National University. She is also available for individual private tutoring, customized classroom training, and consulting. Jen earned a BS in biology at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MS in Internet Strategy Management at the Marlboro College Graduate School.

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  1. 1

    I completely agree with this article, frameworks are excellent tools, they save time and work wonders when used properly, I generally only use the Bootstrap grid system, customizing the media queries to my needs, however when a project calls for a custom grid I have no problem coding it up.

    The important thing is to analize your project’s needs and find an appropriate solution, more often than not part of a framework will cover part of your need

    0
  2. 52

    Awesome,
    Front-end developer though, I strongly encourage you to create your own framework for at least a couple projects.

    0
  3. 103

    Jen,
    A great article and you nicely consolidate the debate between frameworks and custom build for big projects.

    As most of the comments illustrate there are a huge number of frameworks and skeletons out there and as experienced developers it is up to us to decide what is appropriate for each project.

    As a PHP developer, I will often use bootstrap, as you already outlined, because it delivers functionality to a business very quickly. More often than not, intranet based systems do not have the styling requirements of a frontend website. Furthermore, bootstrap wrappers are available for PHP frameworks that mean that I can implement a database driven drop down, it’s label and wrapping DIV with one line of code – including responsive spans.

    When developing a frontend website, or CMS template, like WordPress I would perhaps chose something more adaptive like skelJS which is very light and concentrates on the grid with breakpoints rather than styling.

    So what is right for one project may well not apply to another – there really isn’t a right or wrong answer.

    0
  4. 256

    Do you know @import (reference) in Less? Bootstrap is Awesome!!! Do you know Less Hat?

    0
    • 307

      Is it easier to find bootstrap or foundation developer help?

      0
      • 358

        I think you’ll find help for Bootstrap to be more available — but that’s because it has significantly more users than Foundation. Also, the level of developer using Bootstrap tends to be lower than Foundation, so you may find more basic tutorials pertaining to Bootstrap.

        0
  5. 409

    Why would a professional designer use a responsive design framework?

    So that less experienced designers can easily make changes.

    1
  6. 511

    Roll your own and steal from existing stuff. Be it Bootstrap, be it foundation, Harry Robertson’s inuitcss, Andrew Clarke’s Rockhammer or the HTML5 Boilerplate or just a cool site you like..
    It’s HTML, it’s open-source, it’s great, and it’s great to see all the code you need, so ..
    why on earth limit yourself to one framework and stay within it’s confinements ?

    1
  7. 562

    For my experience from my fellow web designers and front-end developers, person who does not have enough knowledge on HTML and CSS tend to go with Bootstrap. On the other hand, person who knows how to use HTML and CSS good enough they tend to build their own framework.

    In my opinion, Bootstrap is great Framework that offers many functions and pre-defined class that you can just use without worrying about CSS or JS at all. However, it’s not always good choice to use it. For instance, if you just want full responsive grid system you don’t really need a Bootstrap’s 5700 + lines of code to do that because it can be done in under 50 lines of CSS code.

    I will probably use Bootstrap if I’m gonna be using at least 50% of functions or pre-defined CSS from Bootstrap on my website. Maybe it all comes down to personal preference at the end.

    One thing I’m sure tho, if I want to hire a Front-end developer, I will make sure he/she knows how to build a site without Bootstrap or Foundation.

    0
    • 613

      You’re right, hopefully you don’t need 5700+ lines of CSS to code a grid. But Bootstrap’s 5700+ lines of code aren’t responsible for just a grid. If you want just the grid CSS, you can download just that. Look into the custom downloading features so you can get exactly what you need, not necessarily the entire framework.

      0
  8. 664

    I have seen a web designer said ” I don’t understand why people design a site, you can just pay $50 at Themeforest and it’s done. It’s much faster and cost efficient.”

    0
  9. 766

    Like many of the other designers/devs who have commented, I too use my own mini framework/set up and these are the reasons why.

    1. personally I think frameworks make you lazy. I for a while used the foundation and BS frameworks and when I needed to create a custom build for a client, I was trying to remember basic code, because I got use to tweaking code instead of thinking about what I needed to do and code it out.

    2. finding bugs and fixing issues. As designers/devs is part of our Job to find and fix. It keeps us on our toes and constantly learning and evolving. If everything is done for us we end up at point 1.

    3. Using frameworks as a learning and inspiration tool. Just like looking at other designers work, using frameworks should be the same, look at how it’s done and build your own. That way you can add and take out what you need and don’t need, and keep the framework to a bare minimum.

    4. If all else fails, go with the framework. As the web evolves at a rapid pace, those that live in the world of frameworks will get left behind, just like those who didn’t want to take the plunge into sass and less. I know so many designers that didn’t get jobs, because they didn’t know any pre-pro’s. Companies want people who push the envelope and not stay static. Frameworks like all the other things past and gone is a trend until something better comes along.

    At the end of the day it’s up to each individual how they work, but me personally I love the challenge and the need to keep evolving and learning from mistakes and issues and being out of my comfort zone. That’s what makes a better designer. Do think Richard branson asked other airline companies to use their planes, so he could run an airline business? nooo. he got he’s own.

    4
  10. 817

    One of the problems I find with frameworks is that you are having to adhere to set out classes, then apply them to each of the elements, and this is similar to inline styling. Then if you want something changes, you must alter the markup when you really should be changing the CSS.

    For this, I created my own mixin system with SASS. I can name the class or ID, or target child elements and apply a mixin to tell it what to do. From there, all my classes are written out inside the media queries (mobile first of course) and concatenated just by using one mixin.

    0
  11. 868

    Personally, i’m a big fan of foundation. Still using F4 though because of better IE8 support (with an additional css file).

    Maybe one of the main reasons that webcompany’s should adopt a framework – and a reason that has not been stated here yet – is the advantage of being able to work togethter better. If your in a company with multiple developers, using the same framework on your projects makes it dead easy to take over work when one developer is not available (or quit, or fired, or ill or whatever). If all developers use their own way of working, their own class names, their own coding habits… it’s just hard. I guess it’s one of the main reasons that Zurb created Foundation in the first place i guess. …. Hire someone new? Teach ‘m foundation and they can work on all projects without investing a lot of time figuring out other people’s code.

    I do agree that you should take the time to remove unnessesary css or js files, but wiht foundation, that’s no problem.

    Why should you write basic css (the grid) every time from scratch? Starting to use foundation with sass was the best thing we did down here. It gives us more time to focus on the custom design for our clients and makes collaborating on projects so much easier.

    0
  12. 919

    Christian Benseler

    March 12, 2014 10:11 am

    Tottally agree!

    By the way, when you said “Take careful notes of what you have and have not downloaded, so that you can repeat the process when updating your files” you don’t have to cate the notes (at least in bootstrap): the custom build generates a .json file (don’t remember the full name) with your settings.

    []s!

    0
  13. 970

    The fact that Frameworks slows down the website is less and less accurate especially with the possibility to load the CDN files with Bootstrap and Foundation. Those Frameworks come with a load of useless code and as mentionned, Pure can be a better alternative sometimes.

    Does anybody has a take for Font Awesome ? I’ve found myself save a load of time not having to find/resize/upload all kind of icons.

    0
  14. 1021

    Frontend development has moved towards frameworks due to the complexity of features required to deliver modern websites/apps.

    When used right, the overhead of such frameworks is negligible and allows boutique studios to deliver complex and efficient solutions fast, which means you’re business stays competitive given the landscape.

    In response to some of the comments about building your own grid, although it’s possible to produce a simple grid framework for yourself, the Twitter Bootstrap 3 grid framework is quite complex, lightweight and highly customisable through proper use of Less variables.

    Once we master these grid frameworks, they really can bring a lot of value to a design and development business.

    1
  15. 1072

    Advising against a framework is the dumbest thing I’ve read on here. You lose points, Smashing Magazine. There’s no need to “show off” what you can do these days, and spend hundreds of hours writing sub-par responsive styles that will only be worked on and tested by you and your few other developers, when you can base your work off of a “Foundation” that has been tested and developed by hundreds, if not thousands, of devs, and can be built out in a fraction of the time. I’m sorry, but I have no desire to act like a “real programmer” by reinventing the wheel.

    -7
    • 1123

      @Nathan You might want to read the entire article because I think you missed the message. Responsive frameworks have their place and can be used effectively based on the situation. Additionally, it is not about using a framework or building your own, but rather looking at it from a hybrid approach. Use what you want and create what you need to build better custom designs.

      @ Jen Great article and stellar discussion. Cheers!

      1
    • 1174

      You can downvote me all you want. I’m the one actually doing this for a living, as opposed to just reading/writing articles about it. This article is a joke, and I stand by that.

      -2
  16. 1225

    really helpful. thanks a lot.
    If someone needs to know about RWD, i found this really good and brief writing
    starscontest.com/blog/responsive-web-design-what-and-why/

    0
  17. 1276

    Another fully featured frontend framework out there is my offering: Responsive.

    The advantages over the ones referenced in the article?

    Responsive has been built from the ground up to be accessible. All the javascript widgets provide support for mouse, touch, keyboard, and screen readers whilst requiring only the simplest markup to set them up.

    It’s also been coded specifically to avoid opinionated design elements yet be feature rich; there’s no point adding multiple colours and classes to simply have them overwritten. It’s got multiple grid layouts, normalized forms, images, video and much more – all with native right-to-left language support built in.

    Check it out here. http://responsivebp.com/

    0
  18. 1327

    We use frameworks quite often in our daily work (mostly Twitter Bootstrap or Foundation). One of the drawbacks is that most websites based on frameworks look the same – you can easily notice a lot of sites with uncustomized Bootstrap. Thankfully both Bootstrap and Foundation use preprocessors. That means you can easily customize it by either using online customizers and downloading customized CSS code or getting dirty with the code yourself. We’re summed up a few tips we use while putting our hands on framweorks, take a peek at: https://netguru.co/blog/posts/kick-off-ui-development-with-these-simple-steps

    0
  19. 1378

    Prototyping a design using a framework just makes sense.

    Get the sign-off from the client first before carrying a project too far down the path. Letting them see the basic appearance / where frames from, say, Foundation, is a boon to rapid development (especially when a client may be using a proprietary CSS where an HTML file may be easier to read).

    The fact many of them use SASS/LESS saved me time on a project before their Web developers adapted it to a framework, so I could focus on the dozen other services I provide in a small consulting shop.

    Many front-end frameworks are packaged modularly, meaning you can strip the bloat or just use their responsive/Nav solutions and forget the rest.

    1
  20. 1429

    Jen

    Thanks for this article. I have watched a couple of your linda videos on Bootstrap as well. My question for you is this, as a professional ui developer who is well versed in HTML and CSS, wouldn’t it be easier for me to spin out my own grid and CSS structure conducive to the project at hand? If my project is not client based but a single company project, and I am well tested in the areas of browser support and device intricacies, should I bring in a bloated 8000 line CSS file before I even put my own touches to it?

    My fellow ‘backend’ developers say it would make things easier for them but I usually write all the HTML before they even touch it. They want a familiar list of class names that will make a button do what our Designer wants it to do but there is nothing prebuilt into Bootstrap or Foundation that will give them that comfort.

    So, it all comes back to my desk anyway and I have to make it dance the way the designer wants it to dance by writing specific CSS for its irregularities. I’ve built many grids and used grid builders for quit builds but if I want to make my life easier why would I want to manage a big code based from a framework of which 80% I may never use? And that includes their bloated grid system.

    Thanks for the consideration ahead of time.

    3
    • 1480

      Reinventing the wheel by a ‘ui developer’ is not a systematic approach unless you plan on providing documentation / training as well as cover support for nuances, bugs, etc.

      If I were your employer I would appreciate my employees investing time in producing the end product and utilize something (or even contributing to) a tried and tested framework.

      If I were your co-worker, I would hate to have to come to your desk to ask how to implement a new component or submit a bug.

      Bloat is always the go-to for people discussing frameworks but most these days allow you to utilize only what you need and through minifying, gzipping and other tools, it’s no longer relevant.

      Either way, there are plenty out there such as Bourbon Neat if going small and getting up and running quickly are of any concern to you.

      2
  21. 1531

    Nice article by Jen Kramer.
    People are increasingly making use of their mobile terminals (tablet and smartphones) to connect to the internet and it is important to adapt websites to the new browsing habits. The SEO of a Responsive Design based websites is not a real problem. This is the ideal option if you want to have a single website in different versions. The images previews of a certain width in the results pages of a search engine represent a considerable asset for SEO.

    Thanks for posting!

    1
  22. 1582

    responsivehtmlexperts

    January 10, 2015 8:08 am

    Great article, you give good information for responsive website design. Bootstrap is really a framework that comprises of bunch of websites that suggest high excellence of the designs.

    0
  23. 1633

    Jen, great article! I recognize you from your courses over at Lynda, taken a few myself. I appreciate your unbiased approach and agree with you completely. I focus on providing affordable websites to my clients using Foundation. I study it daily and gain proficiency every time I do. I am able to build from scratch, but have found for a freelancer (and currently a one man team) the solution works great for me. Thanks again!

    1
  24. 1684

    On the other side of the spectrum are designers who are confused by Bootstrap and what effectively is something expressed in coder terms. For them I’d suggest a tool like http://sparkle.cx

    0
  25. 1735

    Sometimes less is more

    I built a grid system (not a framework) using pure javascript it comes in at under 1kb but does way way more than any other grid system i’ve used before

    check it out

    https://github.com/Paul-Browne/epicGrid

    0
  26. 1786

    jaycebennett90

    June 3, 2015 3:15 pm

    Building a responsive website with Joomla gives you a heap of power under the bonnet … you can achieve great things. To keep that Joomla power optimised it’s a must to ensure you don’t load unnecessary non-core and framework bloat.

    0

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