"The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it."
Terry Pratchet, Diggers

What is the "best" front-end framework to use?


Front-end frameworks are meant to help you quickly get started building a new website. Popular ones include Bootstrap, Foundation, and even Semantic UI. But a question we constantly get is - "which of these are the best to use"?

"Best" is subjective - it boils down to the preference of the developer. I personally prefer building websites with my own "framework". Having built websites for over 15 years, I have, in my coding-utility-belt, enough standalone and re-usable classes that they, in a way, form my own framework. I know what I need, and can leave out the unneccassary ones - hence reducing bloat, making a website more optimised for loading speed.

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What is the "best" front-end framework to use? | BlueSky Perth Custom Web + App Development

Although, for dashboards and admin interfaces, I do enjoy using the Semantic UI framework - most of their interface classes/modules are very close to what I like to achieve in terms of looks, thus requiring minimal modifications on my part.

Currently at Bluesky, we have a new admin system - and since this website is an extension of the new system, I decided to built it with Semantic UI too. It took me quite a bit of time to adjust classes to be more "frontend friendly", but in the end, the turnaround was a little quicker than usual.

But I do see the advantages of using any of the popular frameworks for developers who -

  • work in a team environment where fellow developers are already accustomed to a certain framework.
  • recognise that their client may have some knowledge of a certain framework - thus making it easy for the client to edit and style content to how they want it to be.
  • may lack the skill or experience to quickly build a new website from scratch.

So which framework should you use?

Before settling on a framework to work with, do you research. Some of the factors you might want to consider are -

  • your skill level. if you believe you have the skill level to easily customise the look and feel of the website, select a framework that is pretty lean, and with less bloat.
  • if a framework already has widgets or classes that closely matches what you need for the website, choose that since there will be minimal need to customise.
  • responsiveness. unless you're very comfortable coding your websites to be responsive, use a framework that will easily help you built your websites to be responsive, with minimal effort.
  • flexibility. if the framework's classes require too much effort to override (or customise), then its something you should stay away from.

Ultimately, its all down to preference, and/or your work environment. If you feel you are experienced enough to skip a framework all together, by all means, do so - you have more control over your own code than "someone else's" code. If you're in a team environment, and everyone else involved in building websites are comfortable with a certain framework, then stick with it.

There is no right or wrong (framework) - what matters is the end product is a website both you and your client are very happy with.

Rizal Farok | BlueSky Perth Custom Web + App Development
Rizal Farok
5 years ago
design UI/UX

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