Best CSS framework for Front-End developers in 2021

This article lists the best CSS frameworks that is use by Web developer in 2021. We have described each framework clearly for their pros as well as cons for you to take decision wisely.
Top CSS framework for frontend development with CSS logo - raftlabs.co

Introduction

A CSS framework is a library allowing for easier, more standards-compliant web design using the Cascading Style Sheets language. In much simpler words, a CSS framework is a collection of CSS stylesheets that are ready-to-use and are used by UI developers to make their jobs easier. You can write CSS for your pages on your own but that requires you to write hundreds and thousands of lines of code which is time consuming. That is where CSS Frameworks take their place. They’re tailored for use in common situations, like setting up navbars, and are often expanded upon by other technologies such as SASS and JavaScript.

In this article we will take a look at some of the best CSS frameworks of 2021 and help you choose the one that best suit your needs.

1. Bootstrap

Bootstrap is a free and open-source CSS framework directed at responsive, mobile-first front-end web development. Bootstrap is considered to be one of the best CSS frameworks due to its responsive design. It contains CSS- and JavaScript-based design templates for typography, forms, buttons, navigation, and other interface components. They have extensive set of documentation, examples and demos to get you started quickly with responsive web development.

Developed By – Twitter

Statistics:

  • GitHub Stars: 152k
  • Release Date: August 19, 2011

Top companies using this:

Pros:

  • Offers lots of examples and a pre-set layout to get you started with.
  • It is a 100% responsive framework, and responsiveness is a crucial factor due to which people choose Bootstrap over its competitor.
  • The most commonly used CSS framework with broad community support.
  • Easy to learn and implement.
  • Excellent JavaScript components with custom CDN.
  • Maintained by a community of hundreds of developers, ensuring stable releases and long-term support.

Cons:

  • Bootstrap has been extensively used which could potentially imply that all websites look the same.
  • The build size of CSS projects is large due to so many modules being loaded in Bootstrap.
  • Bootstrap 4 relies on jQuery for many of its interactive features which makes it difficult to with JavaScript frameworks like React or Vue.

2. Tailwind CSS

Tailwind is a utility-first CSS framework for rapidly building custom user interfaces. It comes with classes equipped to build custom UI designs directly in the users’ markup. Unlike Bootstrap where you get pre-designed components which can be used as a base for further development, Tailwind does not come with a predefined template but it allows you to incorporate your style quickly.

Developed By – Adam Wathan

Statistics:

  • GitHub Stars: 45.1k
  • Release Date: November 2, 2017

Top companies using this:

Pros:

  • Tailwind operates on a lower level by providing a developer with a set of CSS helper classes.
  • Tailwind allows you to create your own custom components that you can reuse throughout your projects.
  • It comes with a menu of predesigned widgets to build your site with.
  • More productivity and smaller package size.

Cons:

  • There is a steep learning curve to Tailwind and is not best suited for less-experienced developers.
  • Complex animations are hard to achieve with Tailwind alone.

3. Bulma

Bulma is a modern CSS framework based on flexbox. It provides responsive design and mobile first UI components and has modular structure for you to import only the stuffs that you want to include in your web design. Bulma offers a flexbox based modern grid system.

Developed By - Jeremy Thomas

Statistics:

  • GitHub Stars: 44k
  • Release Date: January 24, 2016

Top companies using this:

Pros:

  • The syntax of Bulma is quite simple and easy to use.
  • It comes with a clean and modern design.
  • Bulma comes with naming conventions that are easy to use and remember.
  • Bulma doesn’t include JavaScript features which makes it easy to be integrated with JavaScript Frameworks like React or Vue.

Cons:

  • Bulma comes with a distinct style and if it is overused, we may end up with similar looking websites as in the case of Bootstrap.
  • Does not have a huge development community like bootstrap.

4. Foundation CSS

Foundation is yet another one of the best CSS frameworks. Foundation calls itself ‘The most advanced responsive front-end framework in the world’. It is a sophisticated frontend CSS framework that includes HTML, CSS, SASS, and JavaScript. Foundation is developed with a mobile-first approach and is highly responsive, best suited for large web applications that need a design host.

Developed By – ZURB

Statistics:

  • GitHub Stars: 29.1k
  • Release Date: September 2011

Top companies using this:

Pros:

  • Easy to understand and readable code.
  • It is not just a CSS framework but a complete front-end framework loaded with useful tools.
  • Provides many optional modular JavaScript components and plugins like tooltips, alerts, carousels, dropdown, placeholder, cookies, etc.
  • It is updated constantly to support the newest features such as grids with flexbox support.

Cons:

  • It has several features and is inherently more complicated than other frameworks.
  • Foundation features depend on JavaScript, jQuery or Zepto, therefore, making it not suitable for React and Angular projects.

5. Materialize CSS

Materialize CSS is a responsive front-end framework based on the material design with collections of UI-components with minimal effects on which users can easily attract. It is known for its responsiveness. It is created with CSS, JavaScript, and HTML for web design and mobile app development. Because of its features, it is suited for less experienced developers. Animations are used throughout the framework to provide visual feedback to users, in a way that’s easy for developers to work with.

Developed By – Alvin Wang

Statistics:

  • GitHub Stars: 38.6k
  • Release date: 1.0.0 (September 9th, 2018)

Top companies using this:

Pros:

  • The documentation of Materialize CSS is very comprehensive and pretty easy to start with.
  • Materialize’s components page includes cards, buttons, navigation, and many more added features.
  • There are a number of color palette options with an excellent selection of user icons.
  • It offers great user experience and interactions. It also easily integrates JavaScript plug-ins.

Cons:

  • Even though it has an active community, it is a small and independent project with no corporate support.
  • You need to have basic knowledge of HTML, JavaScript, and CSS to make good use of it.

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