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Last updated on 9/3/20

Is Bootstrap Right for You?

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Bootstrap is a front-end component library that allows you to prototype your ideas or build an entire website using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Since it was first released by Twitter in 2011, Bootstrap has been a popular choice among web developers. According to builtwith.com, it is used on more than 18 million sites. So clearly, many developers believe it’s a good choice for their projects.

But is Bootstrap right for your project?

Let’s take a look at some of its pros and cons to help you decide.

Advantages of Bootstrap 4

Reduced Development Time

Bootstrap is useful for quickly developing prototypes of your websites and web applications so you can focus on the functionality and structure without implementing a boilerplate to create a responsive and cross-browser compatible front end.

All you need to get started with Bootstrap 4 is a link to the framework’s minified CSS file in your HTML document and some knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. There are several ways to include Bootstrap in your project, but the easiest and quickest is to link to the minified CSS file hosted on the BootstrapCDN.

To use Bootstrap this way, you’ll need to add this line to the  <head>  section of your HTML file:

<link rel="stylesheet" href="https://stackpath.bootstrapcdn.com/bootstrap/4.3.1/css/bootstrap.min.css" integrity="sha384-ggOyR0iXCbMQv3Xipma34MD+dH/1fQ784/j6cY/iJTQUOhcWr7x9JvoRxT2MZw1T" crossorigin="anonymous">

Make sure that it’s added before any other CSS files so that your styles override the default Bootstrap styles.

Some Bootstrap components use JavaScript, in particular, the jQuery and popper.js libraries, as well as Bootstrap’s JavaScript library. To make sure everything works as expected, you should also add the following to the bottom of your page just before the closing  </body>  tag:

<!-- jQuery first, then Popper.js, then Bootstrap JS -->
<script src="https://code.jquery.com/jquery-3.3.1.slim.min.js" integrity="sha384-q8i/X+965DzO0rT7abK41JStQIAqVgRVzpbzo5smXKp4YfRvH+8abtTE1Pi6jizo" crossorigin="anonymous"></script>
<script src="https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/popper.js/1.14.7/umd/popper.min.js" integrity="sha384-UO2eT0CpHqdSJQ6hJty5KVphtPhzWj9WO1clHTMGa3JDZwrnQq4sF86dIHNDz0W1" crossorigin="anonymous"></script>
<script src="https://stackpath.bootstrapcdn.com/bootstrap/4.3.1/js/bootstrap.min.js" integrity="sha384-JjSmVgyd0p3pXB1rRibZUAYoIIy6OrQ6VrjIEaFf/nJGzIxFDsf4x0xIM+B07jRM" crossorigin="anonymous"></script>
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Huge and Active Community

Because Bootstrap is so popular, there is a rich variety of resources and support available. Initially developed as an internal Twitter project, it was released in 2011 under an open-source license. Since then, it has had more than 1,000 contributors to the core project. The creator and maintainer of the project, Mark Otto, is now the senior director of design at GitHub (which is owned by Microsoft) so it has the support of some of the web’s prominent organizations.

As a popular open-source project, Bootstrap has an active and helpful online community with many discussions available to help you find solutions to problems or give tips on how to best use the framework. For example, Stack Overflow has more than 100k questions that have Bootstrap-related tags, such as “twitter-bootstrap” and “bootstrap-4."

In addition to the community-based resources, Bootstrap has comprehensive official documentation on all the components and utilities. 

Customizable

The active Bootstrap community also means that there are many custom themes you can use to help make your site stand out from the crowd. As well as the themes available from the Bootstrap site, a quick search will show that there are many other Bootstrap 4 theme providers. 

Since it's open-source and customizable, you can create a theme from scratch, or make modifications to others. By the end of this course, you'll have the skills you need to customize Bootstrap 4 and make your own theme.

Disadvantages of Bootstrap 4

Sameness

The fact that it’s easy to get started could also be a disadvantage if you use the default theme and colors. As with any front-end library, you'll need to customize it if you want to implement distinct designs.

Learning Curve

As with any framework, you have to put in some effort to learn it. But since you have this course to help you get started, that’s not a big disadvantage. 😁

Let’s Recap!

  • The advantages of using Bootstrap as a UI library for building your websites include reduced development time, its large and active community, and the fact that the themes are customizable.

  • The disadvantages include the pitfall of using default theme and colors, and the extra learning effort required when learning any framework.

Now that you’ve learned some of the pros and cons of using Bootstrap for your projects, you're ready to start learning how to apply it to build responsive page layouts.

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