Unless you are a seasoned web developer, you might not have heard about Bootstrap. This article explains what it is and the basic usage of this simple web development tool.
What is Bootstrap?
When a business is starting up with limited capital or minimal financial resources, it is is called ‘bootstrapping’. This is the reason why the guys that gave you Twitter named their new project, Bootstrap, a design framework made for the web that can get you started with creating web sites and web applications with minimal development skills. In a nutshell, it is a set of HTML, JS and CSS files that make it easy for you to build a basic website in no-time.
With Bootstrap, the coding comes first, and the design can be added later if desired. There are lots of predesigned Bootstrap CSS and themes available for use when the time comes to customize the design of the website. Bootstrap has hundreds of web elements that you can use for your website which are all fully responsive (automatic scaling based on different screen sizes). You can choose from a list of grid systems, forms, buttons, navigation bars, panels and more.
Can You Use Bootstrap?
You can and everybody else can use Bootstrap for their web application development projects because it’s free! You can start with the basic files from the Bootstrap website or download a theme that has it all built in. Developing your first site is also as easy as changing code and putting in a few HTML elements.
However, it does not automatically mean that everybody should stop using all alternatives and use Bootstrap for their websites. Remember that bootstrapping is starting up with minimal resources. It is made to work toward a working prototype fast.
Some people or customer demand a fully customized website. This personalization is something that Bootstrap can easily do. Even though there are tools out there that will work better than Bootstrap in specific use cases. For example WordPress is better when you have non technical users that need to make changes to the website or add news or articles on the website. Use Bootstrap for quick site designs and mock-ups while working on the overall look. We at Hoasted use it for building our customer systems (like the cPanel, the MyHoasted customer portal and the website. After the design is finished and we have a working prototype, we connect all buttons etc to our backend (for the website we use October CMS, based on Laravel)
Why Should You Use Bootstrap?
There are three important reasons why you would use Bootstrap on your web application.
- First, of course, is that it is free and it is good for people who are just starting up on the web development business. To customize, there is a wide list of designed templates, html snippets etc available in the Internet, also for free.
- Next reason, Bootstrap is packed with lots of useful elements and features, and all of them are also free. There are a boatload of amazing snippets for download via JSfiddle or CodePen. Check out a cool JSFiddle example and another cool CodePen snippet.
- Finally, Bootstrap created sites that can be customized easily, which is important when you are creating your own themes as well.
Download Bootstrap and start using it
The easiest is to go to the Twitter Bootstrap website and download the latest version (soon version 4.0 is released). Those files you put on your webserver, web hosting account or your local machine. When opening the index files you see a working example page, that you can use to start working from.
When building a custom page or template, you can embed Bootstrap in there. You simply add this code to your site’s <head> section:
<link rel=”stylesheet” href=” https://maxcdn.bootstrapcdn.com/ bootstrap/3.3.1/css/ bootstrap.min.css”>
Then, you just need to add this to the footer of the site’s code added with jQuery:
<script src= "https: //maxcdn.bootstrapcdn.com/bootstrap/3.3.1/js/ bootstrap. min.js"></script>
That is all there is to it. Simple and easy. What you need to do next is go through all the Bootstrap elements from the extensive list found on their website and select which ones to include in your own. You can then modify the code samples to your liking and according to your requirements.
If you head over to the Components page on the get Bootstrap website, you see a few code examples that you can copy and paste to your own code. Edit is, add content to it, and modify as required by your development project. You will see that these elements are intuitive to use, making web development with Bootstrap a breeze. Check out these Bootstrap Examples as well.
Free Bootstrap themes
Bootstrap themes modify the look of Bootstrap if the default doesn’t really appeal to you. Themes sit on top of the main Bootstrap framework and contain color schemes that you can use. There are a couple of amazing websites that offer free Bootstrap Themes:
Some Ending Words
This article should have given you a general idea of Bootstrap and the potential of this easy-to-use web development tool. Getting started with Bootstrap will now be much easier and convenient for you. If you think it’s the right tool for you, go and give it a try 🙂