Bootstrap is one of the most frequently used, open source frameworks which presents an optimal mix of HTML, CSS and JavaScript. This framework is primarily used in designing and deploying responsive & dynamic websites; as well as mobile front-end development as well. The CSS framework presents developers the flexibility of using multiple controls such as buttons, form controls, navigation controls and so on to give a dynamic look and feel to their websites.

Bootstrap – Introduction

Bootstrap is essentially a front-end web development framework combining the specific features and functions of HTML & CSS to design & deploy templates using multiple web components such as forms, buttons, navigations, tables, images and so on. In addition to this, Bootstrap is quite open-ended in terms of its integration with plug-ins and JavaScript frameworks which in turn would enable developers to make these components interactive. Hence, it provides a one-stop shop for users providing them with ample features and tools to develop responsive designs using the sophistication of both HTML & CSS.

Bootstrap – Specific Advantages

As already stated, Bootstrap presents a single source of truth for all HTML & CSS needs which are required for designing & developing interactive websites (both for desktops as well as mobile). Still, a few of the key advantages of using Bootstrap which compels the developer community use it extensively are mentioned below –

a)  Easy to upskill & employ – Any developer having the basic knowledge of HTML and CSS can start using the features of Bootstrap

b)  Auto-responsive feature – The embedded CSS in Bootstrap auto-adjusts to the platform in which the webpage is viewed (mobile, tablets, desktops etc.)

c)  Mobile-first approach – Bootstrap in its newest version has incorporated the mobile-first approach wherein the CSS are designed specifically for mobiles; and then work their way upwards

d)  Compatible with all browsers – Bootstrap designs are compatible with all browsers such as Firefox, Chrome, Safari etc.

Bootstrap – Basic example

Just like any other library; Bootstrap needs to be first linked or referenced to the HTML code post which all the CS features would be auto-applied to the webpage. Therefore, the link is done similar to the external style sheets.

The highlighted portion shows the referencing of the bootstrap CSS & JS; as well as the jQuery library. The JavaScript libraries referred above are necessary only when there is a JavaScript referencing to the HTML code.

Once the declarations are done in the HEAD tag; the classes and features of the embedded CSS can be used in the subsequent BODY tag; which would eventually become the visible part of the web page.

The ‘class’ reference would automatically connect to the CSS embedded in bootstrap; and provide the requisite look & feel to the visualization.

Recent developments in Bootstrap – Bootstrap 4 vs. Bootstrap 3

The key advancements which came into being in the 4th edition of Bootstrap vis-à-vis their previous releases are –

a) The number of CSS files which were there in Bootstrap 3 were less as compared to Bootstrap 4

b) Bootstrap 4 has a 5-grid system where as Bootstrap 3 has a 4-grid system

c) Bootstrap 4 has a more enhanced class for rendering responsive images as compared to Bootstrap 3

d) Bootstrap 4 has introduced features of adding, removing or even renaming existing classes – which was previously not present in the third edition.

Conclusion

In designing full-fledged websites for businesses, it is important for designers to have a framework which can be readily employed in web development rather than manually creating CSS stylings for individual visualization nuances. This is where Bootstrap comes into picture; enabling users to get access to pre-defined sophisticated HTML & CSS libraries which can be readily embedded in their HTML code. More so, Bootstrap also allows easy connectivity & integration with JavaScript as well; thereby making it one of the most desirable technologies for front end developers.