Internet Software Technology

CSS Frameworks

CSS Frameworks
Written by prodigitalweb

,It was the days of raw HTML pages, from when CSS has come a long way, and you should know that the creation & proliferation of these frameworks is one of the most important developments. With the help of these tools, designers & developers can build & launch new small and big projects. The tools have a huge impact on the users and how the web is experienced. You should always remember that the frameworks are able to generate a shared language for UI & UX on web apps & on websites. As a result, these make the sites easier to understand, navigate & use. Let’s dig into the article to learn more about the CSS framework in detail.

What is a CSS Framework?

A CSS framework refers to a pre-prepared library of code that is used to implement consistent website styling & layouts. These include the reusable code that you can use for common design elements & components. You can easily apply these elements & components to base Hyper Text Markup Language in order to generate consistent website designs or user interfaces. Front-end developers use them to deploy things including responsive grids, styled forms, buttons, etc, on apps.

Types Of CSS Frameworks:

These work in multiple ways in order to style an element. For example, there are a few frameworks like Bulma, Tachyons, etc, which use a modular approach. Whereas, Bootstrap is capable of giving a set of predefined styles as well as pre-built components, using a conventional approach.

A few approaches used by CSS frameworks are:

  • CSS-in-JS Frameworks:

This popular approach permits writing CSS properties for elements with JavaScript. You are able to define some JavaScript objects ( compiled into normal CSS at run time) rather than having an external stylesheet.

  • Component-based Frameworks:

These are able to give reusable UI components, including navbars, icons, sections, dropdowns, etc. This type of framework is able to speed up the development process. The reason is that it isn’t necessary to style the components from scratch. Bootstrap, Primer, etc, are names of a few top frameworks.

  • Utility-first Frameworks:

In CSS, these provide developers the flexibility to take a unique approach to styling instead of providing default CSS components. These can provide pre-configured styles for particular classes like “m-10.” A few common names of these frameworks are Tailwind CSS, Tachyons, and so on.

  • Modular Frameworks:

These refer to a set of building blocks for CSS. You can mix and match them in order to generate unique designs. Developers select the particular pieces that are required for their projects rather than being limited to a framework that was designed earlier. It is able to provide them with enhanced flexibility & control over their design selections. An example of this kind of framework is Tachyons.

  • Minimalist Framework:

These are able to deliver you limited styles & components to get started. They act as boilerplate setups & are able to deliver the features & components. Thus, you can generate an elegant design without unnecessary complexity.

Purpose Of CSS Frameworks:

  • Separate Presentation From Content:

It lets developers keep the presentation of a website different from its HTML content. Thus, it becomes easier to modify & maintain it.

  • Consistency:

It can set up a consistent look across every website page.

  • Accessibility:

It delivers different ways through which users can access websites with impairments.

  • Browser Compatibility:

Confirms that Websites could be displayed across several browsers & devices.

  • Maintainability:

It helps to maintain & update a website’s styling over time.

  • Performance Optimization:

It helps to reduce the file’s size and complexity in order to improve website performance.

Benefits Of Using A CSS Framework:

These are the following benefits of a CSS framework.

  • Easy Customization:

These are able to provide predefined components & styles. But these are mainly produced to make them simple to modify. Developers can easily change the framework & add their styles. It gives you more control over the project’s look.

  • Speed Up Development Time:

Speed is the main reason why people prefer using them. These include multiple elements & styles that you may need to make from scratch when you want to develop a website. A lot of web designers & developers prefer to use frameworks as tools that allow them to prototype new apps or websites before generating a custom-design system.

  • Consistent Style & Design:

Another advantage to using this framework is that you can see all styles, UI elements, buttons, etc, looking consistent out of the box.

There is no need to spend hours, days, or weeks tweaking every style in order to make sure that they include the same padding, spacing, & font sizes.

As the framework has been meticulously crafted already, the tedious work is done. You should know that the popular CSS frameworks are being used widely. The additional advantages make the website familiar to users. It is clutch from a UX standpoint. Remember that you will have to consider accessibility. In most cases, the known frameworks are made for a variety of screen sizes & devices. Therefore, these can be accessed more by a wider range of users.

  • Facilitate Responsive Design:

It is challenging to build a perfectly responsive layout.  Multiple variables & factors are available to consider. You need to extrapolate from there to a lot of devices. You can see your grid system becoming a mess.

When it comes to the modern CSS framework, you need to know that these have done a good job in creating a pixel-perfect responsive design system. Only applying the genuine CSS classes should be your job.

  • Improve Collaboration & Maintainability:

Most of the frameworks include an extensive documentation library & a community of users. Therefore, a common codebase & well-documented information can help you to learn how to use said system. In addition, you need to remember that most frameworks are open-source projects. It indicates that you are able to use, adapt, and redistribute versions freely.

  • Saves Time:

The CSS framework is able to save a lot of time, which is one of the main reasons to use it. Developers can easily start from scratch with each component & style.

  • Cross Browser Compatibility:

On multiple browsers and platforms, these are often tested in order to ensure cross-browser compatibility. It allows developers to code across many platforms more quickly with better efficiency.

Disadvantages Of CSS Framework:

These have some disadvantages also. You should know the drawbacks and be aware of them while planning to design a website.

  1. Confusion Due To Many CSS Levels:

If you are a beginner, you should know how vulnerable you are to this problem. When you plan to learn the CSS framework, you may get confused. The reason is that multiple levels of CSS exist, including CSS2, CSS3, etc.

  1. Cross-Browser Issues:

A lot of browsers exist, and they work in their own ways. Therefore, you should check that changes implemented through CSS codes in the website must be reflected properly among several browsers.

  1. Security Issues:

Data and technology are everything that drives the modern world. And in this world, security is crucial. However, this framework has limited security, which is one of its major drawbacks.

  1. Extra Work For Developers:

It is important to pay attention to the design services. In addition, you have to test many CSS codes across multiple browsers for compatibility. The workload will increase later because the developers are testing compatibility for several browsers.

Key Features Of A Modern CSS Framework:

Although these run a pretty broad gamut, most of them come with a few key common features.

  • Predefined Grid Systems & Layouts:

Because of the grids, the web becomes perfectly proportionate boxes. In most cases, these include a default grid system. It lets you generate a flexible & fluid layout for the website. The system is able to provide multiple customization. As a result, it becomes easily adaptable to a wide variety of resolutions, screen sizes, and page structures.

  • Responsive Media Queries:

Media queries are another thing that most frameworks are able to handle out of the box. It is used to adjust styles automatically based on device characteristics. The systems are sometimes complex & tedious to create from scratch. However, they are crucial for the modern web in order to make sure the content scales & displays properly on different devices.

  • Pre-built UI Components & Templates:

The CSS frameworks include a library of default pre-styled UI components. You only need to apply a simple class to use things like buttons, forms, tables, toggles, etc.  As a result, it becomes quicker to build interfaces & pages. In addition, it is able to generate a foundation for a consistent look & familiar UI throughout the website.

  • Typography & Theme Customization Options:

There are multiple frameworks that have built-in customizing & theming options. As a result, it becomes super easy to apply things, like your brand colours, selected fonts, & other personal touches. In order to match the style of the brand, these things transform the brand’s feel and look.

Why Do You Need A CSS Framework?

These frameworks are designed to be used in several scenarios. For example, these are used to set up navigation bars, footers, sliders, hamburger menus, 3-column layouts, and so on.

These allow you to expand on JavaScript, SASS, & other technologies. When designers are time-stressed, these let you set up web pages as well as homepages without the need to dive into some CSS.

CSS Framework Use Cases:

Teams that are comprised of many developers get benefits from the standards that CSS frameworks provide. Instead of each developer including their style of names to a project, these help to regulate layouts and read the code of others. Besides, it helps to smooth the development cycle with fewer bugs & enhanced team communication. One of the widely used examples of these frameworks is Foundation & Bootstrap.

CSS Framework Tools:

These are the 8 examples of CSS framework tools & modules:

  • Reset style sheets
  • Grid structures
  • Website typography
  • Parts of graphical UI, including tabs, slideshows, etc.
  • Icon sets in icon fonts or 2D sprite graphic elements
  • Styling for buttons, form elements, or tooltips
  • Equalizers for producing equivalent height content
  • CSS helper classes (hide, left)

Difference Between CSS Framework And Custom CSS:

CSS Frameworks: A Solid Foundation

What Are CSS Frameworks?

These are reusable sets of CSS rules to style web pages more easily. These add predefined styles for common elements such as forms, buttons, navigation bars, & grids. Bootstrap, Tailwind CSS, and Bulma are examples of popular CSS frameworks.

Advantages Of CSS Frameworks:

  1. Time Efficiency:

It saves time, which is one of the most important benefits of using this framework. You are able to prototype & develop the website without beginning from scratch. There is no need to reinvent the wheel with predefined styles & components. It is mainly beneficial for the tight project deadlines.‌

/* Example: Bootstrap button class */ <button class=”btn btn-primary”>Primary Button</button>

  1. Consistency:

Because of the capabilities of these frameworks to maintain a consistent look as well as a professional appearance, the website becomes user-friendly. The reason is that visitors are able to find this easier to understand & navigate.

<!– Example: Bootstrap navigation bar –>

<nav class=”navbar navbar-expand-lg navbar-light bg-light”>

<!– Navigation links go here –>


  1. Responsiveness:

Most of the frameworks are responsive, which indicates that they support various screen sizes & devices. It becomes a perfect choice for generating mobile-friendly websites without excessive extra work.

<!– Example: Bootstrap responsive grid system –>

<div class=”row”>

<div class=”col-sm-6″>Column 1</div>

<div class=”col-sm-6″>Column 2</div>


Disadvantages Of CSS Frameworks:

  1. Learning Curve:

It is required to learn how to use them in an efficient way. Each framework includes conventions & classes. But for beginners, it may be challenging.

/* Example: Bootstrap class for a responsive grid */

<div class=”container”>

<div class=”row”>

<div class=”col-sm-6″>Column 1</div>

<div class=”col-sm-6″>Column 2</div>



  1. Bloated Code:

These need more code than you need. As a result, you get larger file sizes, affecting the performance of the website. Remember that removing unused styles will consume a lot of time.

  1. Limited Customization:

Frameworks can limit the ability to generate a unique design. Although you are able to customize the styles to some extent, you may face difficulties in getting a distinctive look.

Custom CSS: Total Control 

What is Custom CSS?

In Custom CSS, you need to write your style from scratch. This approach can give you complete control over each aspect of the design of your website. You are able to create a unique experience for your visitors.

Advantages Of Custom CSS

  1. Complete Control:

It is one of the main benefits of custom CSS. You are able to design your website’s elements as you envision this. For projects with the need for a brand-specific look, the customization level is perfect.

/* Example: Custom CSS for a unique button */

.custom-button {

background-color: #ff6600;

color: #fff;

border: none;

padding: 10px 20px;

border-radius: 5px;


  1. Minimal Code:

It ensures that you get cleaner & more efficient code. The reason is that you need to add only what you need. It may lead to quick-loading web pages, along with enhanced performance.

/* Example: Minimal custom CSS for a simple webpage */

body {

font-family: Arial, sans-serif;

background-color: #f5f5f5;


  1. Greater Understanding:

When you write custom CSS, it will force you to deeply understand the function of CSS. As a result, you can become a better web developer. When it comes to solving design problems, it can provide more flexibility.

Disadvantages Of Custom CSS:

  1. Time-Consuming:

If you want to create custom CSS from scratch, remember that it may consume time, mainly for larger & more complex websites. It needs a perfect deal of planning & coding.

/* Example: Complex custom CSS for a multi-page site */

/* Styles for the homepage */

body.home { /* Custom styles for the homepage */ }

/* Styles for the contact page */ { /* Custom styles for the contact page */ }

  1. Potential For Mistakes:

Writing this creates room for errors, mainly for those who have less experience. Remember that a single mistake may cause design problems, which you definitely don’t want.

/* Example: A common mistake – forgetting to close a CSS rule */

.button {

background-color: blue;

color: white;

  1. Maintenance:

It is hard to maintain a custom CSS over time, mainly when you plan to update your website or make changes. So, it is necessary to be organized & document your code properly.

/* Example: Well-documented custom CSS */

/* Header styles */

.header {

background-color: #333;

color: #fff;

/* … more styles … */ }

Which One To Select?

Whether you want to use a CSS framework or write custom CSS, totally relies on your specific project and your expertise level.

These are a few factors to keep in mind:

Choose A CSS Framework When:

  • You want to create a website quickly and have a deadline.
  • You need a responsive website and don’t want to spend more time on media queries.
  • You are working on projects that do not need a highly-customized design.

Choose Custom CSS When:

  • You have the expertise & time to generate styles from scratch.
  • You want a unique design reflecting your brand or personality.
  • You are willing to keep the code clean & efficient in order to optimize performance.

Top 5 Best CSS Frameworks For Website Developers And Designers:

  1. Bootstrap:

Jacob Thornton and Mark Otto developed it on Twitter with the purpose of promoting consistency across internal tools. This open-source framework comes with templates based on CSS & JavaScript for interface components. It has made the focus on responsive design popular among web developers. This one has promoted the mobile-first concept and offered the right tools for the easy implementation of it. By introducing the grid and partitioning the screen into columns, it did so. Using it, developers don’t need to create projects separately around adjusting a website for smaller screen sizes. They need to incorporate the essential classes, and then the design will adjust itself.

Advantages Of Bootstrap:

  • Massive Ecosystem: Its ecosystem is incomparable among front-end frameworks. This one is capable of providing an extensive library of themes, layouts, UI elements, panels, modals, buttons, alerts, cards, etc — from which Designers and developers are able to select and implement. Besides, it is backed by community support.
  • Accelerated Prototyping: Writing HTML code, getting website responsiveness is possible now for developers, using it. Designers do not need to spend time adjusting the incompatibility of browsers, CSS positioning, etc.
  • Twitter Support: We all know that when an open-source is backed by a significant commercial player, it helps to carry high confidence among those who know the industry. Bootstrap is backed by Twitter.
  • Supports SASS & LESS: Many developers do not like to use LESS. But many major projects rely on this. Whereas people also prefer to have SASS support. Other than Bootstrap, you will not find too many frameworks which support both.
  1. Foundation:

We know it as the most-advanced responsive front-end framework. It is able to provide a grid, HTML, SASS, CSS UI elements, templates, & codes, which are capable of covering buttons, navigation, forms, typography, etc. In addition, it can comprise optional functionalities that JavaScript extensions provide.

It was formerly managed by ZURB. This open-source project has been run by volunteers since 2019. It is able to operate with a mobile-first approach. In addition, this one helps you to build large web apps that need a design host.

Advantages Of Foundation:

  • Massive Toolkit: It provides more than a CSS framework requires. Most front-end developers can solve any problem with its extensive tools. For example, it is able to provide separate framework elements for emails & websites. It is useful for developers who work with module bundlers like Webpack. Foundation can provide CLI or a command-line interface.
  • Greater Flexibility: In order to give full control over their UIs to the front-end developers, it is made. For instance, it does not force developers to use a specific style or language. Therefore, it is preferable for multiple developers.
  • UI Components And Beyond: While it provides the standard UI components, it also comes with a responsive image system. Besides, Foundation has a pricing table, responsive embeds, form validation, right-to-left support, etc. As a result, web developers are able to use many features to play with.
  • Training Options: ZURB can give you many training courses & consulting options for the Foundation. It helps companies which are willing to work on big projects & pay for it.
  1. Tailwind CSS:

Are you a web developer, mainly a front-end developer? Then, the very first question you get to hear from another front-end developer is, “Did you use Tailwind?” You need to know that it has gained huge fame in the front-end community. Because of its simplicity, people keep on adopting it.

This one is able to provide several predefined CSS class names that can be used in order to style the element without writing CSS. This framework has almost 6 million weekly downloads. The interesting thing is that Tailwind CSS includes a fast-growing community of developers who work actively on the project.

It uses the mobile-first design approach. It indicates that the design of default styles is done for smaller screen dimensions like mobiles. This approach results in making responsive web apps that can be scaled up to large screen sizes like laptops.

Advantages Of Tailwind CSS:

  • Highly Customizable: Tailwind CSS is popular for its customizability. In order to customize the look and feel of the website, it is able to provide many plugins & variables. It allows you to match the website’s design aspects.
  • Responsive Design: It can provide utility classes with variants like sm, md, lg, etc. You can use these in order to create adaptive user interfaces.
  • Accelerated Product Development: It is able to improve the entire productivity of developers. The reason is that you don’t have to write custom CSS rules. The pre-defined utility classes help to build & style applications.
  1. Bulma:

This open-source, free CSS framework is capable of providing a front-end component library that is ready to use, and helps to create responsive web applications. Its design is made with the intention of mobile-first design. It is able to make responsive web elements.

Bulma is capable of providing several CSS classes that you can use to style the elements quickly. Among developer communities, this framework has gained huge popularity. It has about 200k weekly downloads. Besides, the project comes with almost 400 contributors. It shows that the project is very popular as well as evolving continuously.

Advantages Of Bulma:

  • Documentation: With visual instances, it is well-documented. Beginners are able to catch up easily with the flow of the library.
  • Responsive Design: It is designed to make it responsive completely. It allows your website to look perfect on any type of device.
  • Customizable: Its modular structure lets you customize its components with the purpose of fulfilling your specific needs.
  1. UIkit:

This front-end CSS framework is user-friendly. It is perfect for those developers who are willing to build responsive web interfaces. It is able to generate exceptional web apps with minimal effort. In addition, it ensures scalability & high performance.

This UI framework supports browsers that work seamlessly on the latest versions of Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, etc. As per reports, it gets around 20k weekly downloads.

As UIkit is modular, it lets developers select the components & styles they are willing to use. It makes them adaptable & highly customizable to multiple project needs. In addition, this one works well with popular front-end frameworks, including React, Angular, Vue, and so on.

Advantages Of UIkit:

  • Lightweight: It is very lightweight & designed with the purpose of reducing the file size of apps and websites. It results in faster load times.
  • Right-to-left Support: It is compatible with right-to-left languages. It allows you to switch the orientation of each design element accordingly.

Things To Consider Before Choosing A CSS Framework:

When you select the best CSS framework, keep in mind that it can provide a lot of value to your project. Have you not worked with this framework before? If it happens, then it is necessary to brush up on this before diving into frameworks.

When you spend some time learning the depth of CSS, it allows you to spot the difficulties with your syntax. Additionally, you can easily check the documentation of the framework for the required information if you learn how to accomplish the necessary outputs in pure CSS. It helps you to become more productive, mainly when it comes to troubleshooting and resolving any problem.

Whenever you plan to go with a good framework, it is recommended that you brush up on your CSS skills. Based on your experience & skills, the effort & time you need to spend on this job will differ.

Keep in mind that a CSS framework is able to increase the project’s budget. It might have many redundant or irrelevant codes which you do not use. However, it relies on the project you use.

Your website or application is limited as your project is inside the CSS framework. So, if you rely excessively on a framework, you may have a similar website for others and applications that are capable of using the same one. As a result, your project can become less noticeable when it has to stand out.

Criteria For Evaluating CSS Frameworks:

Before choosing one, you need to evaluate & compare many frameworks depending on your specific requirements. If you are willing to evaluate & select the best CSS framework, you need to consider these aspects:

  • Features & Components:

You must assess the offerings of the framework in pre-designed components, responsive grid systems, typography, icons, form elements, etc. It is necessary to look for a wide variety of features aligning with your project needs.

  • Customizability:

It is essential to evaluate the flexibility of the framework and ease of customization. You need to consider if it lets you modify styles, colours, & layouts without compromising maintainability.

  • Responsiveness:

In order to generate responsive web designs, you have to verify the framework’s support. You have to look for features such as breakpoints, responsive grids, & utility classes. These can simplify building responsive layouts.

  • Performance:

It is necessary to consider the framework’s impact on website performance. You have to look for those ones that prioritize optimized CSS & reduce file size. It allows you to deduct page load times in order to get an improved user experience.

  • Project Requirements & Goals:

You must first understand the project type you are willing to build. It is the best place to start considering this aspect. If you plan to create a simple website for a small project or personal use, you can go with a lightweight & simple system such as Water or Milligram.

But for something more robust, Foundation or Bootstrap is required.

  • Learning Curve & Ease Of Use:

It is important to consider your team’s capabilities versus the system’s complexity. Do you have any expertise in diving into new CSS frameworks? Or are you using something which isn’t home-baked for the first time? If you want to understand how to use this framework, you need to learn about it a little bit. Have you never worked with a framework? Then, you can select a simple starting option. As soon as you have the hang of the meta, you are able to dive into learning more complex systems.

  • Browser Compatibility:

Ensure that the framework is compatible with the major web browsers & their versions. It is important to choose a model that supports older browsers, relying on your target audience.

  • Community Support & Resources:

You need to find community forums, discord servers, or subreddits in order to see the number of people who are helping others.

  • Accessibility:

When you decide to select a CSS framework for your front end, you need to prioritize accessibility. An inclusive app can be made with an accessible UI library. This application can offer a unified approach to everyone.

If you are willing to make your app completely accessible, you need to look for libraries that provide accessibility testing features like screen reader support,  keyboard navigation, etc. These features are helpful for people with special abilities in order to navigate & interact with your app.

You will need to select a library that follows accessibility standards like WCAG. It makes sure that your app is able to fulfil accessibility regulations & laws. There are a few libraries, like Semantic UI, which could have accessibility problems. Therefore, it becomes challenging for those with special abilities to use UI components.

The Bottom Line:

Whenever it comes to talking about web developers’ and designers’ toolkits, CSS grid frameworks play a very important role. Developers need to choose a framework to run projects smoothly. Moreover, the framework has to give you comfort in operating, and should be equipped with all the features in order to meet the needs of the project. No matter which framework you select — all the websites need to be tested on real browsers & devices. Emulators & simulators are unable to provide the real user conditions which software has to run within. So, the test results that run on them become inaccurate. You need to consider testing websites & apps on a real device cloud that provides the latest browsers, devices, & OS versions. It is applicable to both automation testing and manual testing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Tailwind better than Bootstrap?

Bootstrap is the best option for those who are not designers. So, if you are willing to generate a user interface that is simple to use, then this one is ideal. On the flip side, the Tailwind CSS framework is perfect, if you are willing to get the entire creative control & the simplicity of creating unique components & styles.

Do professionals use Bootstrap?

It is used by professional web designers when they want to build websites & apps for businesses across different industries. In the United States, more than five lakh websites were made using this framework.

How to use the CSS framework?

If you are willing to use a CSS framework effectively, these are the steps you need to follow:

  • You need to familiarize yourself with the framework documentation.
  • You have to include the framework’s CSS file in your HTML code.
  • Your task is to apply the classes of the framework to your HTML elements.
  • Your task is to customize as required using the guidelines of the framework.
  • You have to test and iterate for desired results.

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