Personal Website

This project is maintained by NathanCastle

Thoughts on life without Bootstrap

Originally published on 10/02/2016

Even the most hardened, front-end-averse developer these days has to recognize that a usable product needs a friendly interface, whether that’s delivered over web or mobile. In my experiences, a desire to avoid writing tedious css and jumping through hoops to make things responsive has led me to choose Bootstrap in the past.

With classes for responsive layouts, a built-in navbar, and a bunch of other built-ins that could be described as ‘the kitchen sink’, Bootstrap felt like a natural choice for getting started. Until recently, I hadn’t given that much thought, but talk about flexbox and the excruciatingly long wait for Bootstrap v4 had me intrigued.

My personal project felt like a good place to start with my exploration, as I’m targeting mobile and desktop equally. After going for years without starting a website’s css from scratch, I had the following impressions:

One nice thing about dropping Bootstrap is that I control all of the UI code. I don’t need to worry about conflicts or confusing behavior. If I don’t like how something works, it is convenient to just change it. I don’t need to worry about having my project ‘look like bootstrap’.

The last project I did before I started using Bootstrap for all of my UIs was a WPF/XAML app. At the time I really appreciated the capabilities and convenience of that system. Now, with the advancements in CSS, the open web feels like it has caught up with one of the best proprietary standards, at least with regards to making responsive layouts quickly.