Photo by the v lovely @olivia

Twitter Bootstrap

2 min readDec 10, 2012


I didn’t think I’d learn anything building Bootstrap.

Actually, I was pretty confident I wouldn’t learn anything.

As a technical challenge, Bootstrap just isn’t very interesting. It’s trying to provide a collection of components — components like modals, tooltips, and grids that have been around the Web forever — to people who don’t spend a lot of time writing frontend code.

That’s it

There’s nothing groundbreaking there.

I knew it would enable people to move faster and build more beautiful products, and that was great. I also knew that Bootstrap would be relatively successful — it being something which I think really needed to exist and it being released under Twitter’s name.

But what I didn’t anticipate was the extent of its popularity and in turn what its popularity meant.

40,000 stars

Today Bootstrap is really fucking popular. However, what people often don’t realize is that despite its popularity, and despite it being a “Twitter” project, it isn’t actually maintained by a team at Twitter (nor was it ever).

Bootstrap is (and has always been) maintained by two nerds who like to write code together. Just two nerds.

What’s more, this wasn’t something we did in the office – there was no “Bootstrap team” – no 20% time – just Mark and I hacking in our free time. And this is significant, because what building Bootstrap has taught me more than anything else, is that’s all I really care about.

Writing code with the homies

Sitting on my bed alone, stressed out, hammering through 50+ issues a night isn’t why I wanted to release Bootstrap with Mark. Or Ratchet with Dave and Connor. Or Ender with Dustin. Or Hogan with Rob. Or Bower with Alex.

Getting together and creating something with your friends is amazing and for me easily one of the most fun and rewarding things I do. I love it. And that’s why I’ve done it and will continue to do it.

The trick is not losing sight of this.