When it comes to frontend development frameworks, Bootstrap is definitely among the most popular names. Owing to its various features, Bootstrap is loved by many developers and designers alike.

Ever since 2011, Bootstrap has been rising in popularity. Currently, it serves as the backbone for millions of web projects and sites. That said, what impact has Bootstrap had on web design and development? More importantly, are there any particular pros and cons associated with it?

In this article, we will be analyzing the same.

What is Bootstrap?

Simply put, Bootstrap is a free and open source CSS frameworks. It is ideally meant for frontend development with a focus on responsive and mobile-friendly layouts. It comes with its own set of CSS-based (as well as JavaScript) design templates and layouts that can help developers and designers quickly create forms, buttons, typography elements, and various other interfaces for the web.

Naturally, since more and more users are now shifting towards their mobile devices (in fact, mobile internet has already overtaken the desktop), the role and importance of frameworks such as Bootstrap has risen manifolds. Furthermore, the fact that Bootstrap comes with its own set of grids and guidelines makes it very easy for frontend developers and designers alike to build cool web apps and sites that are fully responsive and work seamlessly well across all mobile devices and screen size dimensions.

What Does Bootstrap Have to Offer?

The biggest and most obvious advantage associated with Bootstrap is that it is a time-saver in every sense of the term. When you are short on time as far as a web development project is concerned, look no further than Bootstrap!

Owing to its predefined set of classes and templates, Bootstrap can help us quickly put together a decent web design within minutes. In fact, even if our coding skills are below par, Bootstrap still gets the job done. This is, most certainly, why the majority of newbie developers and designers alike tend to rely heavily on Bootstrap -- a simple search for "Bootstrap templates" or even "Bootstrap WordPress themes" will yield thousands of results. The majority of such templates or themes are coded by intermediate- to beginner-level developers.

Another really novel and great aspect associated with Bootstrap is the mobile-friendly grid system. Not only does the fluid grid system help us ensure that our work is fully responsive right from the start, it also provides us with near-perfect compatibility with various devices. As such, cross-browser compatibility and responsiveness are hallmarks of every Bootstrap-based project.

The Bad Part?

There is no polite way to say it -- Bootstrap templates, by and large, are almost always bloated and fairly bulky. This, in general, is not a fault of Bootstrap itself, but can also be attributed to the fact that virtually every newbie coder or designer is using Bootstrap for their projects. As such, best coding practices and optimization techniques as well as measures are often overlooked.

Similarly, poor code quality and lack of semantic code is a problem that is associated with several Bootstrap projects, be it for a particular Content Management System or just plain HTML template.

Impact of Bootstrap on Web Development and Design

Bootstrap has served a very useful purpose of helping developers and designers alike come to terms with the concept of mobile-friendly design. In fact, prior to the advent of Bootstrap, responsive design almost entirely was an enigma.

It might seem like an oversimplified statement, but Bootstrap has had a huge role to play in the adoption of responsive web design as a standard on the web. With its fluid grid system and several other features, Bootstrap has made it easy for every designer out there to have a frontend design that works perfectly fine across multiple mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, and also scales well for the desktop resolutions.

However, overuse of Bootstrap has affected web development and design slightly negatively. "All Bootstrap sites look the same!" is surely a remark that is often said with contempt, but it does hold an element of truth in it.

Relying on Bootstrap to quickly put together a decent design is not a bad idea. With that said, relying too heavily on Bootstrap is a tendency that is gaining weight among several developers and designers. Using Bootstrap for virtually every design project simply implies that we are neglecting the particular project's ideal way of doing things. Instead, we are structuring everything around Bootstrap to save developmental time, efforts and energy.

Conclusion

The over-reliance on Bootstrap surely is a trend that needs to be contained. The solution?

Well, the answer is simple. Using Bootstrap where it is necessary is absolutely a good call. However, as our web apps and sites grow in size, we will find Bootstrap as too much of a beginners' solution.

This is where rich web apps built atop JavaScript and its several frameworks come into play. For frontend development, JS can help us create better, faster and more well optimized applications that run seamlessly across devices. Perchance we need to do something about the design, turning towards a framework similar to Bootstrap (or Bootstrap itself) is not a bad call. However, most modern JS libraries and frameworks have support for responsiveness and can offer more than just that.

Have you ever used Bootstrap for a project, be it a website or an app? How has your experience been? Share your views and thoughts with us using the comments below!