Avoiding Bootstrap?

Hi guys,

Got a couple of personal projects lined up where I’d like to create more tribute style pages just to practice my HTML and CSS. I’m thinking about avoiding Bootstrap to really push myself to try to see how far I can go with just HTML and CSS alone, maximising my markup learning. Anyone done this? How effective did you find it in learning and practicing your markup skill? How much harder is it to build responsive pages without Bootstrap?

How often do hiring companies in the real world reject their front-end candidates along the basis of “can’t hire you, you Bootstrap too much”? My biggest fear is getting so comfortable with Bootstrap to the point that I’ll end up relying on it too much without me realising.


To me, Bootstrap is a tool. And I think to really get the most out of it, you need to know the things that go into it, that make it work. And that’s where learning about doing responsive design comes in. I think once you learn how to make a responsive layout from scratch, then you can use a framework like Bootstrap to expedite your production time.

Also it certainly helps to know why something isn’t working from the ground up, rather then encountering a problem and then not having a good background of knowledge to try and debug it. Now I’m not saying knowing responsive design backwards and forwards means you won’t run into problems, but when you do…you’ll be able to diagnosis it quicker.

If you want to get a good grasp on responsive design, check out A List Apart: http://alistapart.com/topic/responsive-design But there’s a ton of material out there to learn this stuff.

Some companies might heavily use Bootstrap, some might use another framework. It really depends on the place. But to me, knowing the meat and potatoes of responsive design gives you a leg up with any framework or just with doing it from scratch.

And going from scratch isn’t terribly hard btw. It’s a case where the more complex your layout is, the more you’re going to have to do to make it responsive and look good on different devices, which is why most of those frameworks were invented, to cut down on having to figure everything out. BUT, that’s half the fun and frustration of coding, it’s working out the kinks, trying stuff, breaking things, fixing them, and learning along the way.

I say go for it. :grin: It’s what I did.


I’ve been wondering the same thing. I know basic HTML/CSS and have made a homepage. I have tried to make it responsive and have been using percents and em as much as possible, but I still have a few kinks to work out.

I like how easy bootstrap is, but have been reading that it is mostly good for mock ups and when needing prototypes. I also read that it is good for brochure sites.

I think that it is interesting that some companies rely on bootstrap and others seem to hate it. Is it worth using at all?

From what I have been reading it can make your site look very similar to other sites unless you highly customize it. Is it worth all of the customizing?

When would you use it and when would you not?

Thank you!

BTW I’m going to check out those posts on the link. They look really interesting and helpful!


I think that the previous comments made by @dlyons is spot on. Bootstrap is a tool and it will make your website look much like others out there on the web. I use it for mock-ups, tweek to my liking, then remove all the code that I do not use to ensure my sites load faster. It is nice to learn bootstrap since it is designed to shorten coding time. The way I learned it was to Make a website with bootstrap and then learn what caused certain elements to do certain things and how they come together. Either way, it is worth learning especially if you have a decent grasp in HTML/CSS. There are not many(any) companies or clients who will ask you to explain the code in bootstrap line by line. They typically want someone with the know-how to produce effective websites in a somewhat short time-frame. Bootstrap does just this. Hope this helps.

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I think it’s also good to note that there are other frameworks to use besides Bootstrap. It just depends on what your project needs are. Are you not needing something as robust and looking for something a little more lightweight that focuses on responsiveness? Below are a few examples.



I’ve seen quite a bit of a stigma about “Every Bootstrap site looking the same” and to me it comes down to the person coding/designing it. If you use Bootstrap out of the box, maybe tweaking a few colors here and there, then yeah all your sites are going to look pretty much exactly the same. On the other hand I’ve seen websites done in Bootstrap that I wouldn’t be able to tell unless I looked at the source code. So it is possible to use it and make something unique, it just depends on how much work you want to put in.

That being said, yeah there’s a lot you’d have rework for the sake of making it your own.

I made another thread a little while ago about Foundation, and if anyone had experience with it. It’s another framework much like Bootstrap. It has a lot of the same functionality but it comes with less stuff built in/styled so it gives you more room to flex your CSS muscles, which I personally like. You might want to give a look. The only downside I’ve seen so far is the community for Foundation is a lot smaller than Bootstrap.

Really that depends on you, the project in question, and utilizing the right tools for it. I see nothing wrong with using a framework to speed up your workflow and cut down your production time. But I’m still a huge advocate for knowing the basis for all this responsive stuff.

Personally, I’d rather be dependent on my knowledge of responsive design then be dependent on a framework to do it for me because I don’t know how to build one otherwise. Does that make sense? And that goes for any framework. Even down to a simple grid system.

Which is why I’m super jazzed about FCC’s upcoming curriculum changes. They’re going to to a whole entire thing with responsive design. I don’t know if you’ve checked out the beta for it yet but it’s looking awesome.

Excellent! I hope you do find those posts helpful. As I mentioned before there’s a ton of material out there on responsive design but that site is one of the best I’ve come across.