The Best CSS Frameworks of 2017

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Developing a website or a web application is easier today thanks to the wide selection of frameworks and tools available to developers.

A lot of time and resources can be saved during the development process, because there is no need to build everything from scratch.

Frameworks, particularly front-end frameworks or CSS frameworks, also allow developers to follow design standards and provide the best user experience.

Some CSS frameworks offer the best development experience. Instead of building everything from scratch, you already have grids, animations and other elements ready for use.

To help you get started, here are the best CSS frameworks of 2017.

Mini.css

Best CSS Frameworks 2017 - Mini.css

Mini.css, as the name suggests, is a lightweight CSS framework that can be used to develop gorgeous user interface out of the box. It is no more than 7KB when compressed, making it one of the lightest CSS frameworks available today. In an era where speed matters the most, mini.css is quickly becoming the favourite of many developers.

What’s interesting about mini.css is its use of SASS and modern HTML5 syntaxes. The combination makes this framework futureproof and allows you to customize every part of the design to your liking. It is also easy to fine-tune mini.css to the needs of your projects without actually making the base framework gigantic.

Some of the advantages of using mini.css include:

  • Responsive design and mobile-friendly elements, allowing rapid development of both desktop and mobile websites using only one framework.
  • A long list of accessibility features. Mini.css follows the ARIA rules quite strictly, so it is easy to develop sites that are also compatible with screen readers.
  • Style-centric coding allows easy customization.
  • Good cross-browse compatibility.

Bootstrap

Best CSS Frameworks 2017 - Bootstrap

Bootstrap is one of the oldest names in the framework landscape. After several iterations, Bootstrap can now offer refined elements and approaches that not all frameworks can offer. It combines HTML, CSS and JavaScript to allow developers access to popular UI components and interactive elements. Bootstrap is also relatively light and works really well with all browsers.

Consistency is one of Bootstrap’s main strengths. That and the fact you can find a tutorial to assist with virtually anything. You can also deliver a consistent user experience across all browsers; it is even possible to deliver constant UX across multiple devices. Aside from its native responsive design, Bootstrap is also using well-defined CSS and JavaScript elements to avoid conflicts and browser-related issues.

It is also worth mentioning that Bootstrap already has a number of design themes ready for use. These themes are developed not only by the team behind Bootstrap, but also by its enormous developers’ community. The long list of advantages offered by Bootstrap makes it even more appealing. With Bootstrap, you can expect things like:

  • Custom builds for custom projects.
  • Highly theme-able framework and easy access to design elements when needed.
  • Support for responsive embeds using tags such as <iframe> and <object>.
  • Fast deployment and ready-for-use design elements allowing rapid development of any type of website.
  • Large developers’ community and plenty of support options, including premium support if needed.

Foundation

Best CSS Frameworks 2017 - Foundation

This last framework on our list takes a different approach. Instead of using pixels and grids, Foundation focuses more on REM for a more fluid layout. There is no need to define specific CSS inputs to get perfect-looking layout across multiple devices. You don’t even have to worry about setting fixed margins and paddings, because Foundation is designed to handle this type of changes perfectly.

The use of REM means you can reduce the size of the font to 80% and have the entire layout getting changed automatically. The framework also comes with support for pixel-to-REM conversion, which means getting used to it will also be very easy to do.

Foundation also has no specific styles predefined. Instead, the framework is designed to help developers and site designers work on their own styles and design languages fluidly. It is easy to set up a set of design elements at the beginning of the development project without having to modify the framework directly. This also makes Foundation easy to update, since there are fewer specific syntaxes to adjust. Other advantages include:

  • Support for responsive design out of the box.
  • Block grid to help developers divide contents into a grid that is evenly spaced.
  • Built-in Interchange and support for lazy loading of images and other visual elements. It is easy to structure a page for maximum performance and user experience with Foundation.
  • Plenty of add-ons to help expand Foundation. There are add-ons that add support for SVG icons, responsive tables, templates and many more.

All of these frameworks have their own advantages. Which is the best one to use? The answer to this question depends on the development goals you’re trying to achieve. Bootstrap remains the most flexible – and popular – one to use, but both mini.css and Foundation are also suitable for specific purposes. They all offer rapid development tools that will help you develop a functional site in no time.

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