What is Bootstrap? (With benefits and uses)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 15 July 2022

Published 20 May 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Bootstrap is an essential tool for anyone pursuing a career in web design and development. It creates responsive websites with an easy, functional and stylish framework that saves the web developer time and work from coding and recoding simple elements that are used across most web projects. Bootstrap provides standard and customised preferences affording beginners the opportunity to learn to code and seasoned web developers to spend more time on creating unique and specific websites.

In this article, we discuss the framework of Bootstrap, how to use it, what it can do for web developers and designers and the advantages of using it for your web projects.

What is Bootstrap?

Bootstrap is a free front-end framework for faster and easier web development and includes HTML and CSS-based design templates for typography, forms, buttons, tables, navigation, modals, image carousels and others, as well as optional JavaScript plugins. It is today's most popular framework for developing responsive mobile design projects on the web. Bootstrap is a group of reusable strings of pre-written code making responsive web design faster and easier since you no longer have to write and proofread CSS code.

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Bootstrap Structure

When used for developing high-responsive projects in HTML, CSS and JavaScript, Bootstrap reduces the time to create a modern website. Made up of multiple parts, the files you should know about are:

  • bootstrap.css contains the global settings, fundamental HTML elements styled with classes and an advanced grid system. Once downloaded, go inside the dist>css and find two versions: bootstrap.css and bootstrap.min.css and use either one.

  • bootstrap.js contains the JavaScript framework. Find it inside the dist>js folder. Vanilla JavaScript is part of the framework.

  • SVGs, SVG sprite, web fonts icon library and glyphicons icon font set.

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The advantages of Bootstrap

Web design has grown to become one of the most important aspects of website development. With excellent web design, you can create responsive apps and websites that provide great user experiences. Bootstrap framework is focused on simplifying web development with many benefits that make it advantageous compared with other options. Some of its benefits include:

Responsive grid

Bootstrap's library has a powerful grid system, which is its major advantage and one of its biggest draws for web developers. Its predefined grid system means no more coding from scratch. Use its pre-built coding blocks and immediately start filling in your containers with content with one of their five predefined column sizes, extra small, small, medium, large and extra-large or stick with the default. The default style looks great, but you have the ability to rewrite and adapt it to your design.

Responsive images

Bootstrap's responsive CSS adjusts to desktops, phones and tablets. Getting images to adjust in size, based on what device your user is viewing, used to be tiresome. Bootstrap automatically resizes images when you add “img-responsive” to an image without switching back and forth between code and design software. Other additional classes include “img-circle” and “img-rounded”.

Pre-designed components

One of the most convenient things about Bootstrap's ready-made functionality is its wide range of components that you tack onto your web page. For any standard element you need, go to their library and select things like dropdowns, navigation bars, progress bars and thumbnails.

JavaScript

Bootstrap's JavaScript, with Vanilla Java, offers over a dozen custom plugins, giving you more room to work with interactivity with solutions for modal popups, transitions, and image carousels. It even has a plugin called scroll spy that automatically updates your navigation bar as you scroll through a page. If you have experience with JavaScript, you can use it to integrate your own plugins, giving you the potential to create highly interactive websites.

Documentation

Available, accessible documentation is easy enough for beginners. The Bootstrap website has every piece of code described and explained, including code samples for basic implementation. Even as a beginner, all you do is choose a component, copy and paste the code into your page and fine-tune it from there. It's consistent and comprehensive and offers many shortcuts while requiring a basic understanding of HTML and CSS.

Customisable

A typical critique of frameworks such as Bootstrap is the size of the files and Bootstrap has already addressed this with its customisation features. It allows you to customise the functions you want to include in your download. Go to their customise and download page and check off the features you do not need for your application, saving user load time.

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Consistency

Bootstrap was founded on the principle of consistency using the core concept of pairing designers with developers. It utilises interior tools that always remain the same, keeping code consistent and error-free. Results are uniform across platforms regardless of browser since Bootstrap is compatible with all modern browsers.

Templates

Bootstrap templates allow multiple platform support for mobile or desktop, assuring user-friendly responsiveness. Design templates have grown since the popularity of Bootstrap soared because users created templates to further accelerate the web development process from typography to image carousels or buttons. Templates are free and readily available.

Support

With steady performance improvements, Bootstrap has a large community populated with designers and developers who can modify and contribute to the code base. They support RTL and have a Twitter page, blog and dedicated Slack room with developers who help with technical problems on Stack Overflow.

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What are the uses of Bootstrap?

Developers use Bootstrap to build entirely mobile-friendly websites down to just calling a few CSS classes. There are many basic elements common across web projects that would apply to even the most classicist developers. Instead of writing the same code for these elements multiple times every time you start a new project, Bootstrap saves you the work and trouble by giving you the option to simply input pre-written code from their assortment of reusable codes.

Once you've placed the pre-written code on your website, you can customise them with exclusive customisations or leave them as-is. The standard or default code produces beautiful websites giving developers the freedom from worrying about the pages while they are working on code. The code is highly adaptable and developed to help keep you from writing basic framework code. Bootstrap alleviates your coding workload and gives you more time to focus on design elements.

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A less traditional developer or a beginner can use Bootstrap from a fresh perspective to build entire websites. A less experienced person can work inside Bootstrap's framework, add elements they want from its collection of pre-written code, get creative and build in specific personalisation.

BootStrap allows web developers to have it both ways. The beginner just learning to code and using the pre-written code's standard styles will produce functional and beautiful websites that look like an expert built them whilst an advanced coder has a jump-start with Bootstrap's good-looking framework. They are free to spend time rewriting and customising code to their specifications. They still have to build code for entirely new and unique elements, but they have more time to focus on being creative than writing from scratch.

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How to use Bootstrap

With HTML for structure, CSS for presentation and JavaScript for interactivity, Bootstrap is used for various web design and development projects. With no single steps for using it, there are some general processes and guidelines you can follow:

1. Download and install

Bootstrap is free and open. There is no restriction so it has easy availability. Decide whether to directly download a full version, best for beginners, download the specific parts you want and host it yourself or include it from a CDN.

2. Begin coding

Begin coding on any preferred Editor/IDE. Supported server-side languages include ASP.NET, PHP and Ruby on Rails. Great for beginners, Bootstrap can be used with a basic knowledge of HTML and CSS.

3. Use a basic template

When Bootstrap is installed, select a basic template and begin customising and building features on it.

4. Build on a template

Start adding coded elements that you write yourself or select them from Bootstrap's library of pre-written code.

5. Run Bootlint or other linter tools

Check your code for common mistakes with an HTML linter. A linter catches errors that affect the website's function, but Bootlint checks code as you go saving valuable time.

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