Thrid party CSS Frameworks

Posted on by jordanhaines

For the past year the rise of CSS Frameworks has been increasing, I keep hearing developers ranting about how they are the best thing since slice bread and how we should all be using them. I have always asked the question Why?, Why should I use a framework?, I can code HTML and CSS pretty fast and to a high standard so why? All the developers I have asked have not given me a good enough answer to make me want to switch the way I code.

I have therefore decided that CSS Frameworks are not the way forward and I will not be using them on live or even test sites. Here are my reasons why:

  1. Code Bloat
  2. Page weight
  3. Design restriction

Code Bloat

By using a CSS Framework you are forcing the user to download the CSS for the framework and then the CSS for your site. On top of that your lovingly handcrafted HTML then gets polluted with a million and one class names that the CSS Framework needs to work.

Why not code it from scratch by hand and use one ID and one class name and save the user from downloading a lot of CSS that is not used in your site. This for me is a big one as it is forgetting one of the basics rules for creating websites, Lean clean code with minimal page weight to allow fast download speeds.

Page Weight

Page weight over the last year has become a real problem, Not just because of CSS Frameworks but also because of CSS Preprocessors and retina images. By using CSS Frameworks we are forcing the user to download extra code which may not be needed. I have already touched upon this so will stop here on this point.

Design restriction

With the rise in popularity of Twitter Bootstrap I have seen a rise is similar designed sites, This is caused by Twitter Bootstrap limiting on where you can place design elements. This is really bad for the web as code should not stop designers from designing.

The above points are the three main reasons, Others include lazy coding and lack of understanding. Developers are quick to use these tools as they see all the big names on the web talking about them, yet they fail to understand if they actually need to use the CSS Framework in the first place.

In my opinion it is still best and all will best best practise to hand code websites without using CSS Frameworks you get cleaner code and it saves page weight.

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