Why We Made Solid Public

Since launching Solid a couple days ago, we’ve gotten a lot of great questions and feedback from folks on the Internets. One question in particular has come up a few times, in various forms, and feels like it merits a quick post to clarify our thinking:

  • Why is Solid public?
  • Is it competing with Bootstrap, Foundation, Basscss?
  • Why didn’t you just use [insert popular framework here]?

Those questions are all a little different, but the answer is largely the same for them all.

As Emily laid out in her post, there were many reasons we needed a framework to build BuzzFeed with. The reason we didn’t simply fork an existing framework (and there are a lot of great ones out there!) was that we didn’t actually know what we did and didn’t need. On top of that, we hadn’t ever really thought about our CSS from a design perspective before, making it hard to predetermine what methodology would work best for us. A lot of building Solid was going down a path, realizing that path wasn’t working and backtracking. We had to discover together what was going to work for all of our use cases, for our designers, for our developers. Even now we’re still uncovering new challenges to tackle and reevaluating decisions we’ve made so far. We’re just doing it far less and are in a stable enough place that we felt comfortable releasing it to everyone!

So why did we release Solid at all? It wasn’t because we feel that other frameworks are lacking and needed more competition (like the docs say, we took a lot of inspiration from Basscss and other frameworks out there). Partly, we’re proud of what we’ve made together. But, mostly, I think we know as designers and developers that sharing our work publicly makes everyone (including us) better. We’ve gotten a ton of feedback in only a couple of days and are looking into a few of the suggestions and comments right now in order to improve Solid for the future. And, maybe, someone out there is working somewhere without a CSS framework/style guide and this launch will inspire them or give them ammunition with their team to say “Hey, BuzzFeed did this, we should too!”

We’re going to be writing more soon about the process of building Solid and some of the more technical details behind how it gets compiled and deployed. We’re looking forward to sharing everything we’ve learned so far and getting more and more suggestions and help from the awesome front-end development and design communities.

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