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I'm interning at a new startup, and I've been tasked with designing the front-end of the site. I really, really want to use the new Twitter Bootstrap (http://twitter.github.com/bootstrap/). It's all CSS, looks amazing, works great, and lets me get to designing and not worrying about the little stuff.

However, is this a good idea if it's a demo of a webapp that we're building that could become production code? Will it look silly and amateur if I use this instead of coding it all myself? Is the bootstrap too Twitter-ish for a real company's brand?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 14 down vote accepted

looks amazing, works great, and lets me get to designing and not worrying about the little stuff.

I think you answered your own question there. There's a variety of mature CSS frameworks and Javascript UI libraries out there, but Bootstrap has two very nice advantages:

  1. It's supported by Twitter, which means that it will probably be around for a very long time, it will probably be very consistent across browsers, and it will probably grow nicely.
  2. It combines basic CSS framework stuff with basic Javascript UI stuff. Although using let's say Blueprint with jQuery UI is an extremely simple task, it's always nice if all your front end needs are covered by one framework (same naming conventions, less chances you need to hack something to get css with js to play nicely)

And as for:

Will it look silly and amateur if I use this instead of coding it all myself?

There's nothing more silly and amateurish than reinventing the wheel. So, by all means, go for it.

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3  
+1 for "There's nothing more silly and amateurish than reinventing the wheel. So, by all means, go for it." that lesson took me awhile to learn, –  Hartley Brody Oct 20 '11 at 23:40
    
I would say you look more professional for using well known, documented and tested libraries rather than writing your own possibly buggy solution. –  wobbily_col Apr 3 '13 at 17:22
    
at the same time this means a new developer misses out the steps of creating tabs, sliders and the other elements provided in Bootstrap themselves, negating their learning - certainly using twitter bootstrap is good, but then again creating your own UIs and doing things your own way is realistically the only way to better yourself as a developer / UX engineer –  rickyduck May 8 '13 at 14:09
    
@rickyduck There's a difference between learning and working. If your main goal is to learn, by all means build everything yourself. If your main goal is to ship a product, then building everything yourself instead of reusing thoroughly tested components is just silly. –  Yannis Rizos May 8 '13 at 19:24

Is the bootstrap too Twitter-ish for a real company's brand?

You can tweek the code in the less files provided with the bootstrap to make it look like you want and adjust it to the company's brand. To do that, you have to install less and see the documentation http://lesscss.org

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One thing to consider is that Bootstrap is licensed under Apache 2.0 license. You would probably want to check with your company's legal representative over using it. IIRC it's not a requirement of Apache 2.0 that you share any changes, but IANAL, and there may be other conditions which need to be considered.

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I'm also interning at a startup and my boss/CIO suggested we use it for the application I've been working on. As a newer programmer (with a few years of experience with just HTML/CSS from my high school days), I was able to focus on the application development and design, without being caught up in the front-end styling details for quick demos to my boss. It's still important to have sufficient CSS skills to ensure that you can do further styling or adjustment to the CSS or LESS files, or just know what's going on behind the scenes.

The great thing I've enjoyed so far has been the implementation of the js files is that I've been able to get nice modal functionality very quickly and easily using bootstrap-modal.js, which would've taken away from a lot of the more important issues if I had written it myself.

So far, it's been a great help, but like any development tool, it's good to know what it's doing or find out what it's doing to stay sharp and be able to fix things when they go wrong.

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