July 1, 2013

Using Twitter Bootstrap to Create a Responsive Web Design

An exponential rise in the number of new devices and screen resolutions makes it seemingly impossible to custom code a user interface design separately for each of these new devices. It is the biggest challenge in the mobile web development space and a UI nightmare that any web or mobile developer faces.

Creating a Responsive Web Design (RWD) holds the key to address the needs of this growing new category of users. It is a strategy aimed at designing websites and applications to ensure a great user experience is carried forward across a wide range of devices. This approach also helps a business to cut down costs related to SEO and Internet Marketing endeavors that would otherwise go into managing multiple websites. Simply put, your business is losing traction if it is not adapting to a RWD approach to web development.

Twitter Bootstrap, originally developed by two Twitter employees, Jacob Thornton and Mark Otto, can be your answer to launch an intuitive and fluid web design in no time. Bootstrap is a free set of tools for designing websites and applications, and it is another remarkable example of the success of open source development. With Twitter Bootstrap, a web developer gets an agile UI framework that can be easily tailored to get the best UX Design. This utility comes in handy when you are looking to embed aesthetically appealing tabs, grids, layouts, menu items, alerts, user-input forms, navigation buttons or any other UI functionality. HTML templates can be set up in a breeze and even cross-browser compliance is addressed within this framework.

Here are few of the rich features of Twitter Bootstrap which justify its use in creating a responsive web design:

  • Twitter Bootstrap Templates – This immensely popular HTML/CSS framework rides on the success of the contributions made by the open-source community. A large number of templates (free and paid) are available to get you started.
  • jQuery – jQuery plugins are an integral part of the framework ever since its first version was released in August, 2011. These include the best of user interface design features such as carousel, typeahead, scrollspy, dialog boxes and a lot more.
  • Built-In Style Elements – Twitter Bootstrap integrates beautiful typography into sites and applications by including many HTML style attributes out of the box. Fonts, icons, tables, buttons, etc. are often some of the UI challenges of a developer that are addressed using this nifty framework implementation.
  • LESS is More – Styles in Twitter Bootstrap are not available in the conventional CSS format but in LESS. Using LESS a developer can tweak the design codes by defining a set of variables to get a new set of CSS files. The code compilation speed is around 6 times faster than SAAS resulting in faster webpage loading.

Recent Developments on Twitter Bootstrap

Twitter announced awhile back that they are working on the newest version of Twitter Bootstrap, labeled 3.0.

This would be their third major release, and so far there is a clear list of improvements and a roadmap to the framework publicly available on GitHub.

Among the major changes which they would incorporate into this new version are:

  • “Mobile First” strategy, following the latest trend in which the web is targeted more on the mobile devices than on the classic ones
  • The CSS framework is tested on iOS and Android devices along classic web browsers
  • All designs are by default fluid

Twitter Bootstrap is now completely rewritten and the team has also addressed performance issues, so the new source code size is set to be smaller which will increase the performance in using this framework.

As more and more users access your website or applications in newer ways using a wide variety of devices, it becomes important to rise up to the challenge and embrace emerging technologies like never before. Twitter Bootstrap is your answer if you want to focus more on the functionality side of your website and applications and less on things like cross-browser compatibility and styling.