What Is Bootstrap in Web Development?

About the Author

Renee Whitmore

Renee Whitmore is an Associate Professor of English at Sandhills Community College in Pinehurst, North Carolina. Before starting at SCC in 2013, she taught English at the middle and high school levels for five years. She currently teaches a combination of traditional seated and online courses, including English Composition, Argument Research, and Creative Writing. Renee earned a Bachelor of Arts in English in 2006 and a Master of Arts in Teaching, with a specialization in English in 2011, both from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

You might be familiar with the term, “bootstrap,” but do you know what it means for web development?

Of the nearly 8 billion people in the world, almost 4.66 billion are active internet users. And since you’re reading this article, that means you’re one of them. However, when you click on a webpage, have you ever wondered about all the work that goes into designing it? Here’s a hint: it doesn’t just magically appear.

Whether you are a web developer or not, knowing a bit about what goes into building websites is good knowledge. Plus, over the years, web developers have put a lot of work into simplifying the process for others, and gone are the days where you have to have a degree in computer coding to understand how to build a website.

Today, we are going to take a look at Bootstrap, what it is, how it works, and the benefits of using it.

What Is Bootstrap?

The official Bootstrap website defines “Bootstrap” as “the world’s most popular front-end open-source toolkit, featuring Sass variables and mixins, responsive grid system, extensive prebuilt components, and powerful JavaScript plugins.”

Simply put, Bootstrap is a handy collection of codes written in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript that can be used to create responsive websites and web applications. Best of all, Bootstrap is open-source and totally free to use.

Founded in 2011 by Twitter web developers, Bootstrap has evolved over the years with over 20 releases to date. Bootstrap is hosted on GitHub’s website and simplifies the web development process and comes with a host of benefits. It has become increasingly popular over the years and is used by individuals, large businesses, and everyone in between.

Benefits of Bootstrap in Web Development

Bootstrap’s appeal is that it simplifies the web development process and allows tech laymen the opportunity to also enter the world of building websites. Here are some additional benefits of using Bootstrap:

Responsiveness

The term Responsive Web Design (RWD) means that the content and layout can fit different types of devices, such as desktops, tablets, and smartphones. You have probably noticed while surfing the web on your phone that some websites do not load properly or seem “off” on your phone, which might mean the website is not responsive. 

Bootstrap’s responsive grid system ensures that content built through the platform will be clear and concise when viewed from any computer or device.

Customizable

Bootstrap allows you to customize your website to match your needs. This is a perk because not all toolkits do this, which means you have to download huge files that take up a ton of space on your computer. The platform includes tools on its “customize and download” page, allowing you to only download what you need in order to develop your website.

Easy to Use

One of the best benefits of Bootstrap is its ease of use, enabling the company to appeal to novice web developers as well as experts. Most people have no problem using Bootstrap to design their websites. In addition, Bootstrap comes with a large support community, so pretty much any question has been answered and they also continuously release updates to fix any issues.

Time Saver

Bootstrap saves a ton of time while building websites because you don’t need to write any of your own code. Bootstrap provides coding blocks that help you build your foundation quickly and efficiently.

Open-Source

Bootstrap is open-source, meaning anyone can use it and modify or customize the codes to meet their website needs. This also means it’s free to use, another huge benefit!

How Do You Use Bootstrap in Web Development?

Before you use Bootstrap, you need minimal knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Short for HyperText Markup Language, HTML is basically the computer language for describing a web page’s structure and content. CSS, short for Cascading Style Sheets, is a tool used to format a webpage’s layout. With CSS, you can control the color, text size and font, positions of images, and everything else needed to design a webpage. JavaScript is a programming language that creates interactive web pages.

Once you have some basic knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, download Bootstrap from its “Getting Started” page on its official website. Here, you will find a host of information, including how to use Bootstrap once you have downloaded it. You can also look at “Bootstrap Cheat Sheets,” like this one, which gives you the information you need in a clear PDF.

Conclusion

Bootstrap has changed the world of web development, making it quicker and easier for most people to navigate the system and design their own pages without ever writing a single CSS code from scratch. Bootstrap has been used to create notable websites, such as NASA’s, and works for businesses and organizations everywhere.