Given that you’re part of the web design world, you’ve probably heard of Bootstrap. Created by two former Twitter employees, it’s a web application toolkit that offers a front-end development framework, along with a huge collection of code written in JavaScript, CSS and HTML. It’s perfect if you want to create mobile-first, responsive website projects.

It also saves you from writing countless lines of CSS code. I particularly like how it lets me maximize the time that I spend designing. Let’s break down what you need to know.

Get to Know the Bootstrap Grid System

If you’re ready to use Bootstrap but are concerned about the costs, there’s no need to worry. It’s free. If you’re all set to download it, go to GetBootstrap.com. After finishing your download, you’ll need to get acquainted with how Bootstrap uses a grid system. It features groups of rows and columns inside at least one container. The grid is what enables responsive layouts, making your creations work well when people access them with mobile phones.

In a grid system, rows and columns work together, and you should never have one without the other. Once you grasp that, it’s easy to create websites with the number of columns you want and to specify content for each one.

The container is the top-level element of the Bootstrap grid. It can hold content — not just the grid’s rows and columns — and it controls the width of your layout. It also keeps the right and left edges lined up within the visible area of the website inside a visitor’s browser window.

The latest version of Bootstrap offers two container types. A fixed-width container centers your layout. Then, as you can probably guess, the full-width container makes the layout span the entire width.

How Has Bootstrap Improved Web Design?

Statistics indicate that about 25.7% of websites use Bootstrap. Perhaps you’re wondering about some of the things that helped it achieve that kind of market share even though it’s only been around since 2011. One of the primary reasons is user-friendliness. People can build highly functional, responsive websites with only a limited knowledge of coding languages.

I’m among the people who believe it’s positively changed web design by making it more accessible. There was a time not long ago when substantial skills brought websites to life and made them function as intended. That’s not to say Bootstrap negated the need for individuals to continually educate themselves about web design and development. However, Bootstrap’s accessibility is a major factor that helped introduce people to what it can do.

It’s open-source nature also presents possibilities to people who want to create web templates and offer them to others. After visiting a theme library, you can select an option that works for your needs, then download it. Since many of the templates have premade HTML pages, all designers need to do is add the content.

Individuals who use this method to create their websites can also pick a template from the assortment of HTML and CSS options that are bundled within Bootstrap’s files. There are user interface (UI) components, too. For example, you can add forms, buttons, carousels and more.

Is Bootstrap a Good Choice for Me?

Bootstrap is particularly useful for web design and development professionals. However, you should consider giving it a try if you’re just getting started with either of those disciplines and have only grasped the basics of HTML so far. It’s useful to have some foundational CSS skills, too.

As you get to know the framework, be careful not to rush into things, and make some common mistakes. Trying to work too fast or getting overly eager could cause you to make blunders and think it’s the fault of the tool you’re using.

There’s some excellent official documentation to dive into as you get acquainted with Bootstrap. Plus, you could also decide to take an online course if you’re more comfortable with a teacher guiding you.

Can You Use Bootstrap With Other Products?

Another handy thing I like is that you can integrate Bootstrap with web design programs you may already use. For example, there’s a process for integrating it into WordPress, or you can use it when working with an existing Shopify theme. So, if you’re already accustomed to other programs, the content here still applies to you. By learning Bootstrap now, you’re giving yourself more options for the future.

Could Bootstrap Help Your Small Business?

Cloud computing is a technology that arguably changed the small business landscape. It helped companies save money, enjoy more scalability, seamlessly transfer content between computers and more. Once you start using Bootstrap, you may find it has a similar effect of positively changing how your enterprise operates.

Since it offers things like reusable JavaScript and CSS libraries, you’ll find it provides everything you need to start building a website. Even better, you can rest assured that your finished website will look the same whether someone views it on Firefox, Chrome or another major web browser. That’s particularly advantageous if several people are working on designing the website and you want to ensure uniformity across platforms.

Moreover, Bootstrap’s functionality works with a central set of development code. That characteristic solved numerous historical problems associated with the inconsistencies between development and design teams.

Also, working with an open-source option means even if you start with a premade template, it’s simple to customize it to your liking. If a substantial part of your business involves designing Bootstrap websites for clients, you can tweak the design according to their specifications. That efficiency could help you keep customers satisfied while giving you the ability to ramp up your workload without feeling overwhelmed.

One of the main criticisms of Bootstrap is that websites made with the framework tend to look similar. However, you can put your web design background to use by making adjustments to your page’s style. People also widely report that it takes them anywhere from hours to a week or two to learn the framework and get comfortable with it. Consider that it could be a useful thing to have in your skillset that’s not too time-intensive.

Nothing to Lose

I hope this Bootstrap overview gives you the necessary information to start using the framework and see if it helps with your design and development work. The good thing is that, since it’s free, there’s no reason to delay at least giving it a try and seeing how it works.

One of the reasons it became so popular is because it simplified many parts of the process and helped people customize their websites without so much effort. Getting things done more efficiently and with better results are two advantages almost anyone can enjoy, regardless of their skill level or the size of their business.

 

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About the author

Lexie Lu

Hello! My name is Lexie and I have a fervor for design, writing, and coffee. I graduated with a dual major in Creative Writing and Commercial Design, and through those grueling study hours (facilitated by coffee, of course) I always found time to write for myself.

My posts feature design trends throughout all industries and show how the field is always changing. There’s never a dull moment in the design world!

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