On Frontend Frameworks

If you do the same task more than a few times, it’s stupid to not automate it in some fashion. When building web sites this typically shows itself in the use of frameworks like [Twitter Bootstrap][boot].

### What I Like About Frameworks

The big benefit to frameworks is that they style all the stuff needed without you having to remember each element. Lots of times I’ve missed styling definition lists, or the `cite` HTML tag. I know I should but in the bustle of getting a project done they just drop off the radar.

Frontend frameworks also help developers close the gap needed for a decent site design. They know that there are basic good styles for everything so getting by without a designer on a project (and still having an acceptable site design) is possible. It may not really be recommended since there is a lot more involved in a good design than just the button and table styles, but it gives you a solid foundation.

### What I Hate with the fire of 1000 suns

The big thing I hate about all the frontend frameworks I’ve seen is the stupid column layout. They all seem to require you to add a bunch of meaningless classes to your HTML to accomplish the column layout.

HTML is semantic mark up so `

` is entirely the wrong way to do it. The class means absolutely nothing semantically and shouldn’t be in the HTML at all.

### So You Repeat Yourself??

No I don’t repeat myself, even though I don’t use frameworks. I built my own WordPress theme to start WordPress projects off of. It has basic styles for all content, inputs, buttons…but absolutely nothing for layout. All the layout has to be written by hand. So I guess I do use a framework, just not one that forces HTML markup on me.

[boot]: http://twitter.github.com/bootstrap/

2 thoughts on “On Frontend Frameworks

  1. I like to use Sass for this purpose. Even though the the front-end frameworks provide generic classes like “.span-5”, I can choose not to call them directly, and just mix their definitions into my own named structure, e.g. “#sidebar”.

    There’s a lot to consider for modern layouts, especially when designing for the various devices from phones to tablets & desktops and have it look good everywhere. I find the layout abstractions of front-end frameworks to be the most useful pieces for this, actually. Do check out Zurb Foundation as an alternative to Bootstrap, too.

    1. It’s my understanding that calling the classes directly (which is fine with me from a philosophical view) means you loose the responsive aspects of the framework. I certainly could be wrong but that seems to kill any real benefit of the framework if it is accurate.

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