Over a period of time, Front-end frameworks have significantly triggered the possibilities of web development by playing the role of a catalyst. Yes! A catalyst… Just like a catalyst speeds up the chemical reaction, similarly a framework makes the processing of web development swift. If you are among the ones who are looking for some new resources to start your website right from the scratch, then it is important to get familiar with the development frameworks that suit your business objectives.
Before listing out the best available front-end frameworks, let™s know some basics concepts of frameworks.
A Brief Introduction To Basics Of Front-end Frameworks
Typically, a front-end framework consists of an outlined package of files and folders semantically coded with HTML, CSS, JS components, etc. which assist in the development of websites or applications. Most of the web development projects are based on some standard front-end frameworks which make the process faster, simpler and credible.
There are many Front-end frameworks that are available but they all vary from each other based on their features and functions. A framework can be as small as a simple library of CSS3 codes or can be large enough to provide a fully-functional responsive website template.
List Of Top 6 Front-end Frameworks
Within CSS front-end frameworks, a distinction can be drawn between types of frameworks available on the basis of their complexity. This distinction is purely subjective which does not mean that either is superior to the other, rather it is on the basis of their features and functions.
Here are the top 6 frameworks of 2015:
Bootstrap by far is the most popular and trending front-end framework which is developed and maintained by Twitter. It is often described as the most powerful and intuitive mobile first front-end framework that includes HTML, CSS, and JS components to build responsive websites of all sizes and complexity. The best thing about Bootstrap framework is that it actively gets upgraded by the core community of Bootstrap developers with the latest conventions to match the future possibilities. Most recent of it was the upgradation of Bootstrap to utilize Sass as the CSS preprocessor.
Licensed by: MIT
Current version: v3.3.5
Framework Size: 145 KB
Introduced In : 2011
Founder: Mark Otto and Jacob Thornton
Basic concepts: RWD and mobile first.
Unique components: Jumbotron
Browser support: Firefox, Chrome, Safari, IE8+ (you need Respond.js for IE8)
Preprocessors: Less and Sass
Icon set: Glyphicons Halflings set
Add-ons: Numerous third-party plug-ins available.
Customization: Basic GUI Customizer. Add color values manually
Average Ratings: 88,000+ stars on GitHub
Official Page: http://getbootstrap.com/
2. Semantic UI
This new released, Semantic UI packs all the latest features needed for new-gen web designing and development. The inbuilt integration of third party libraries like Angular, Ember, and Meteor is all enough to build big and complex web projects without any additional library support.
Licensed by: MIT
Current version: 1.2.0
Framework size: 552 KB
Introduced In: 2013
Founder: Jack Lukic
Basic concepts: Semantic, tag ambivalence, responsive.
Unique components: Divider, Flag, Rail, Reveal, Step, Advertisement, Card, Feed, Item, Statistic, Dimmer, Rating, Shape.
Browser support: Firefox, Chrome, Safari, IE10+ (IE9 with browser prefix only), Android 4, Blackberry 10
Icon set: Font Awesome
Documentation: Very good. Semantic proffers an organized documentation along with a specific website which helps in initiating the process of customization. Customization: No GUI customizer instead supports manual customization.
Average Ratings: 21,300+ stars on GitHub
Official page: http://semantic-ui.com/
3. Yaml 4
Since its inception, YAML was considered as the base for developing flexible and responsive layouts for varied websites. Over thousands of websites are functioning smoothly on the stable code base of YAML. And not just this, numerous YAML-based websites have been accoladed with various notorious awards. Moreover, this modular CSS framework is constantly updated to build flexible, responsive, and functional websites.
Licensed by: Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License (CC-BY 2.0)
Current version: v4.1.2, (Build: 130728)
Framework size: 6 KB
Introduced In: 2005
Founder: Clark Evans,Ingy dÃ¶t Net,Oren Ben-Kiki
Basic concepts: RWD, mobile first, semantic
Unique components: Namespacing for third-party CSS, Matched building blocks, Optimized typography, bullet-proof layouts
Browser support: Chrome, Mozilla Firefox 3.6+,Opera 10+, Apple Safari 4+, Internet Explorer 6+
Average Ratings: 229+ stars on GitHub
Official Page: http://www.yaml.de/
4. Foundation by ZURB
Foundation is primarily an Enterprise level front-end framework from Zurb. Zurb has significantly contributed to the web designing world for over 15 years and finally it released its proprietary framework that contributes to the next level web development. If trends are to be believed, Foundation is in the neck to neck competition with Bootstrap in terms of features, usage, and demand. And, that is why it mostly ranks among the top in the list of development frameworks for building device-agnostic (responsive) websites.
Give that amazing snap and swap experience to all your mobile customers by integrating responsive feature like fastclick.js in your website. Still in some doubt? Well, it™s time to get inspiration from big names like Mozilla, Ebay, Facebook, National Geographic, Yahoo!, etc. that use Foundation framework. Foundation is mostly cited as the advanced responsive front-end framework in web realm.
Licensed by: MIT
Current version: Foundation 6 released
Framework size: 60KB CSS & 84KB JS
Introduced In: 2011
Basic concepts: RWD, mobile first, semantic.
Unique components: Icon Bar, Clearing Lightbox, Flex Video, Keystrokes, Joyride, Pricing Tables, 50% less coding, Flex Box grid
Browser support: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, IE9+; iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7+
Icon set: Foundation Icon Fonts
Documentation: Good. Many additional resources are available.
Customization: No GUI customizer, only manual customization.
Average Ratings: 18,000+ stars on GitHub
Official Page: http://zurb.com/
Pure is a proprietary sleek, modular framework designed by Yahoo. It is purely written in CSS which includes core components which can be used bundled or single based on your requirements. Since this front-end framework is released from the house of Yahoo, it can be easily used by linking to Yahoo CDN.
Licensed by: Yahoo! Inc. BSD
Current version: 0.6.0
Framework size: 4.5KB minified + gzip
Introduced In: 2013
Basic concepts: SMACSS, minimalism
Unique components: None
Browser support: Latest versions of Firefox, Chrome, Safari; IE 8+; iOS 6.x, 7.x; Android 4.x
Responsive: By default
Icon set: None. Instead use Font Awesome
Customization: Basic GUI Skin Builder
Average Ratings: 12,100+ stars on GitHub
Official page: http://purecss.io/
UIkit is another sleek and modular front-end framework other than Pure, which is used to develop powerful web interfaces. It comprehends a comprehensive collection of HTML, CSS, and JS documents which can be simply utilized, customized, and extended. Ulkit is an open-source framework which is highly popular for its advanced features and functionalities it possesses.
Introduced In: 2013
Current version: 2.13.1
Average Ratings: 3,800+ stars on GitHub
Basic concepts: RWD, mobile first
Framework size: 118 KB
Preprocessors: Less, Sass
Icon set: Font Awesome, LESS, jQuery, normalize.css and FontAwesome.
Unique components: Article, Flex, Cover, HTML Editor
Customization: Advanced GUI Customizer
Browser support: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, IE9+
Licensed by: MIT
Official Page: http://getuikit.com/index.html
Knowing in-depth details about these top 6 front-end frameworks, it is equally important to know which one is the best suited to your business. Here are some points that need to be kept in mind:
How To Choose The Right Framework ?
Choosing the right front-end framework for your website is not that difficult, here are the reasons why:
Every business sells differently and so does its requirements vary in terms of web development too. Every business needs a unique website, each having different features and functionality. So, choose a framework that best suits your requirement and business objectives.
Here are some pointers to keep in mind while choosing a suitable framework:
Installation Speed: Based on their speed of installation, decide whether the framework is easy to install and use.
Simple To Use: Check if the process of framework is simple and understandable.
Other Features: If you are looking for a framework that can perform multiple functions, then make sure you choose a feature-rich framework that offers more configuration options, widgets, etc.
Compatibility: Know the compatibility level of the framework you are going to choose with other systems
Reliable: A framework which automatically gets updated and upgraded on timely basis to offer more advanced services is much more reliable than others. It™s better to choose the one that offers continuous long-term support.
There are numerous front-end CSS development frameworks available to choose from. The selection majorly depends on your business requirement. Though some of these frameworks might have some common features but still vary from each other on the basis of their functionalities and possibilities.