What happens when you have a close to release SaaS platform only a couple of weeks/months away from release?

Scenarios arise all the time where you have an crappy template, framework, etc.. from an earlier step in the process, and now it’s just not cutting it.

What does Twitter Bootstrap offer that other themes (etc.) don’t? Here’s the skinny

Pros

  • Full browser support
  • “Mobile first” approach in version 3 (Mobile searches will eclipse desktop in 2015)
  • Bridges many common CSS gaps
  • Lightweight
  • Customizable
  • Use of LESS CSS
  • Helps maintain consistency
  • Provides easy to use design elements developers can use without a nak for design.
  • High quality template community
  • Integrated with jQuery (and many jQuery features)

Cons

  • Form and entry fields are not made for uber-complex usage. Customizable, yes, but you are left to your own devices.
  • jQuery plugins are limited (3rd party plugins help). Out of the box fails to include major features like grids, tree views, drag and drop, etc.
  • Naming conventions and semantics could be more descriptive. Example: using the <i> tag for icons. Class names like “pull-right”.
  • If you do not change any of the design, anyone with a trained eye can tell you are using it.
    You lose the integrity of using your system/organization for coding, which can be important, you know, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Picking Your Direction Early

One example of a stack from an early starting point could look like this: c#, ASP.Net MVC, HTML5, CSS 2/3 and jQuery. Throwing Bootstrap into the mix will probably through the whole project out of whack, requiring a revamp of the whole code structure.

Depending on the code fluency, this may be a waste of time for you or your team. If this is a big decision, it should have been made earlier, but it’s (technically, but not advised) possible to make the change.

Uses & Real-World Implications

  • The goal of the Framework is simplicity. You may choose to start your own framework or stick with something like Bootstrap. If you stick with Bootstrap you are forever tied to their build. If you do it yourself you can scale and make constant core changes.
  • You can keep elements like the LESS CSS or the color-coded buttons. Or even use it (or other frameworks to solve design or other challenges).
  • This product has been commercially demonstrated and sold, and the user interface has been very well-received. I made the right choice by spending the time on my own code.
  • Some teams rapidly built a few mockups using a customized Bootstrap template. The resulting user experience has a higher potential to have better usability. Bootstrap saves time when working with teams. The team had no trouble finding documentation when needed.
  • Furthermore, when you have multiple team members working on this, they can help standardize the customization of the framework by removing or adding elements.
  • Sometimes over optimization of a framework leads to an almost unrecognizable version of the framework. So does that mean it was pointless to start with it? It depends how you arrived at the final version, did build on the framework or pretty much rewrite all elements? Think how you would approach this.
  • Only need a quick website? Bootstrap can be a god-send for these. You get all the of the promised features of Bootstrap with the reliability of a well-supported framework – just follow their lead and you will be good to go.
  • What if you’re working on an intranet or something very, very narrow in market scope. Who cares if it looks just like bootstrap, right? Just stick with the framework, and you’ll be good to go.

Conclusion

For quick- dirty fixes, bootstrap is the way to go. Heavy, complex sites need the love and care of a customizable solution.

If it’s possible give Bootstrap a try on a staging site or something first, do that. It’s totally worth seeing which elements you can use.

Twitter Bootstrap is powerful as hell. But so are a lot of development tools. Check it out. Let us know what worked/sucked.

Tagged with →  
Share →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>