Why do people use bootstrap?

I recently took over the development & maintenance of an online media site and have had a ‘fun’ time unraveling the knot of code I was given. The previous developers decided to throw away all best practices and really tag on as much as possible in the least efficient ways. As I got to cleaning up the LESS I ran into the infamous bootstrap.

Now bootstrap is nothing new to me or any of you, but I never use it. I see no advantages in using it while developing a site/product. To start it is fairly heavy. The compiled CSS alone is 123kb and the JS 37kb. Now I understand it isn’t that big, but when you’re using less than half of the features it comes with I find it to be a heavy waste.

Another reason I find bootstrap to be an annoyance is its over use of classes. It requires you to pile on excessive classes that are not semantically friendly. Suddenly your markup is cluttered and harder to read.

Now I know you can pick and choose parts of bootstrap to compile so that you are just getting the features you need, but if you’re going to take the time to do this you might as well create your own base framework.

It’s not just bootstrap either. Over the last few years I have run into vary similar problems with a lot of these css base frameworks. They all are semantically different and in the end you override a lot of CSS. Especially when your product has a unique design to it. This has caused me to do what everyone else did and build my own framework. Except I don’t care if people use mine.

Over at Milkshake we call our css starter Vanilla — ironic I know. Vanilla is by no means perfect but it is very flexible and light. It’s helper classes and super flexible grid make it easy to get started on any project. using less classes in your markup and letting you keep your semantic naming convention.

Where to use Bootstrap

The only real purpose I see for bootstrap is when you’re setting up the backend of a project or for admin panel uses. Basically when the styling doesn’t matter but your eyes would hurt if there was none. Other then that I am not a fan.

In the end I am not a fan of bootstrap. Really I am not a fan of a lot of these base frameworks, and this is probably because I see the need to use someone else's when you can create just as good of one on your own.

If you want to take a look at Vanilla feel free to check out the git repo.