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CSS framework or hand coded CSS?

Should I use a CSS framework or hand code the CSS for a complex website/web app. If you think I should use a framework then which framework would be best?

5 Answers

James Barnett
James Barnett
39,199 Points

Personally I think that Frameworks like Zurb foundation & Bootstrap add in too much to start with. You need to learn to walk before you run.

So learning the principles of:

  • fluid grids
  • flexible images
  • media queries
  • good typography

Then maybe add in a pre-processor such as Sass or LESS

Once you've got those down you will be better able to work on a large site that is already using a framework. However I'm a firm believer in not solving problems you don't have yet.

I highly recommend you check out this article for a great prespective on grid frameworks

Finally, I'll leave you with my favorite quote on frameworks:

Make sure every bit of code added to your project is there for a reason you can explain, not just because it is part of some standard toolkit or boilerplate.

It all depends on your skill level and the job at hand.

Frameworks are a good bet though, for a few reasons.

  1. The code is very well written through many iterations
  2. Many include a robust grid system for you to work with, instead of creating your own
  3. Frameworks can save a ton of time and initial setup

I myself will be using frameworks until I am competent to create my own version of a good framework.

What framework should you use? It all depends on what you are trying to achieve and what you want your website to look like. Many people are using Twitter bootstrap but I have heard that designers are starting to look down on sites that heavily rely on twitter bootstrap, as everyone is doing it.

Here is a great website to get a new project started.

Here is a website showing a list of top frameworks

Cameron Cottle
Cameron Cottle
13,742 Points

Writing all your code by hand while fun is not exactly efficient. It takes a good deal of time to write out everything that you are going to need and chances are you are going to have to make adjustments on the fly. If you have the time by all means come up with your own CSS framework, but don't be surprised if you wind up having to write more code than you anticipated.

If time is of the essence work with a framework that has already been pre-built and make some minor tweaks to it over the course of your career to account for your particular style.

Thanks everyone, For your opinions and your advice. I guess I should get efficient in CSS before I can start using frameworks.