Pros and Cons of Twitter BootstrapPosted by Itay Herskovits on Sep 09, 2014
Bootstrap presents a convenient means of organizing your front-end code, allowing for more efficient implementation of a unified look across your website. However, it is not without its downsides, as introducing an external framework to your code base can raise a number of issues. In this article we’ll look at the pros – and cons – of Twitter Bootstrap, and how they affect development for your website.
Pro – Rapid Front-end Development
Con – Auto-generated HTML
While this may not seem a major concern at first, it is important to note that Bootstrap’s ease of use comes at a cost, and that that cost is non-compliant HTML. The HTML generated by Bootstrap is very div-heavy, resulting in a highly nested and confusingly-organized source structure. Furthermore, Bootstrap can rely heavily upon specific classes being assigned to your elements, which are used as flags to enable various features of the framework. In many ways this violates one of the core precepts of web design – that your presentation should be truly independent of your data. Both of these factors can conspire to make troubleshooting and maintenance of your site challenging, and reduce re-usability of your code.
Pro – Robust Development Community
Bootstrap has a large development community, including developers working on everything from reusable components to ready-made templates. Bootstrap’s customizable nature means that you don’t need to download the entire project if you only need a portion of the functionality, and there is a good chance that any non-included functionality has already been developed as a plug-in for the framework. The active community, coupled with the many available templates, makes getting a Bootstrap-driven site running a quick and painless endeavor.
Con – Questionable Organization of Source Code
Twitter Bootstrap is a powerful tool that allows you to quickly create a visually-coherent website that is cross-browser compatible and responsive. However, this flexibility and ease of implementation comes at a price – namely the readability of your HTML, violation of web development best practices, and large auxiliary files that increase your sites load times. One thing to note, though, is that most of the potential negatives of Bootstrap development are specifically focused on the code, and not the functionality. Bootstrap works well when used as designed, and can save a lot of time on front-end development tasks at the price of a slightly larger website footprint. The functionality implemented is often worth the bloat that is introduced into the code base, and proper use of Bootstrap can mitigate – or in some cases completely obviate – the most common complaints about the framework.
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