Altabel Group's Blog

The Best Front-End Frameworks for modern web design

Posted on: July 15, 2015

Front-end development frameworks are handy tools to save time and effort when it comes to designing web sites or applications. The choice of them is extremely wide nowadays, they can be either small or big and rich in features. One can be big enough to provide a fully functional responsive website template.

Each framework has its own strengths and weaknesses, specific areas of application, allowing you to choose based on the needs of a specific project. Here is the list of the most popular frontend development frameworks:

1. Bootstrap

Bootstrap is the most used frontend web development framework in the world. Created and maintained by Twitter, it is described as “a sleek, intuitive, and powerful mobile first front-end framework for faster and easier web development.” The best thing about Bootstrap is that it is continuously upgraded by the bootstrap developers with latest technological advancements. For instance, when recently Google released material design guidelines, material design based bootstrap themes became available just under less than a month. This is the speed with which bootstrap follows and adapts any new web design trend.

Technically, bootstrap might not be necessarily better than the other frameworks, but it offers many resources (articles and tutorials, third-party plug-ins and extensions, theme builders, and so on). And you can see it basically everywhere. And this is perhaps the main reason why it’s framework #1 by popularity.

2. Foundation

Foundation is a truly professional lightweight front-end framework from Zurb. This framework enables the user to create complicated layouts without the need to create a large number of custom elements. Some key features that Foundation comes up with for building lightning fast websites are: data-interchange – using it you can load light weight html sections for mobile usage and heavier html for desktop or big screen devices; Fastclick.js – for ultra-fast mobile experience; off Canvas Navigation– almost default navigation style, you can create off canvas navigation out of the box using foundation; GPU Acceleration – helps smooth and faster animations.

This is one framework that gives a close competition to Bootstrap in terms of popularity, use and features.

3. Semantic UI

Semantic-UI is quite new yet already very competitive framework to the likes of Bootstrap and Foundation. It takes quite a different approach making websites building much more semantic. It utilizes natural language principles, thus making the code much more readable and understandable. Instead of learning complex CSS class naming conventions, Semantic classes are easier to remember. The other plus of Semantic is that most of its UI components come with real-time debug, making it easier to trace JavaScript behaviors.

Semantic is one of the most innovative and full-featured frameworks. It comes integrated with many third party libraries like Angular, Ember and Meteor and you hardly need to use any additional library even in the big and complex web projects.

4. Gumby

Gumby has become popular in very short time. It is a responsive CSS framework that is extremely customizable. Few of the key features of this framework are – an extensive and beautiful UI Kit and templates that give designers a head start in the design life cycle and a responsive grid system that adapts to any device and viewport. The framework also comes with a large number of components including responsive images (for serving images based on device size) and parallax for creating parallax effect like a breeze.

5. Pure

Pure is a light weight package of CSS modules that can be utilized in any web project.
It was created by the design house of Yahoo. Pure doesn’t come with additional JS or jQuery plugins, it is pure CSS.

The best thing about Pure is its exceptional small size. It offers only bare-bones styles for a clean start to your project. It’s ideal for people who don’t need a full-featured framework but only specific components to include in their work.

6. Susy

Susy doesn’t come as a jumbo sized package like Bootstrap or Foundation to cover all aspects of web design, but it brings out the best in what it is meant to do, building grids. So basically you have to understand the complexities of how grids are built. When you do that, some people say that then there is nothing better than Susy as you are able to create any kind of grid layout.

7. And the last in my list but not least – Material UI

Material design is rocking at the moment and promises to continue for the coming years. So CSS frontend development frameworks around material design are inevitable and Material UI is the pioneer in that direction and is the most comprehensive framework that implements Google material design. It is built on top of LESS CSS preprocessor and comes packed with React Components.

This framework provides CSS and material design compliant ready to use components that can be used in your web project. What you get with Material UI– Google Material Design Color Palette, Typography, Customization Option, etc.

So let me stop here, although one can for sure make this list longer (and you are welcome to!). There are many frameworks out there, so what one can advice you is to choose a popular framework that is under active development, but has reached some maturity. But the most important thing is to select a framework that fits you project needs. And finally, if you are willing to, you can adopt a mix-and-match approach. If a particular framework doesn’t satisfy your needs, you can mix components from two or more projects.

Aliona Kavalevich

Aliona Kavalevich
Skype ID: aliona_kavalevich
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development


2 Responses to "The Best Front-End Frameworks for modern web design"

Could you please tell where does Thymeleaf framework stands?

This is good article.. but where is the underscoreJS?

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