There are few things we never actually forget throughout our lives. The thrills of learning to drive a car is most certainly one of them. Especially, if you learnt with a car that had manual transmission, like I did. It’s more hands-on and engaging, right?
However, it gradually tappers off. More so, when you are stuck in city traffic that never really surpasses jogging pace. You need to frequently hunt through the gears of the manual transmission to stay with the flow. Switching to an automatic helps a lot here. Or, if you have a powerful engine, you could stick it in 3rd gear and use that as a pseudo-automatic.
Exceptions are the petrol-heads, who think automatic transmissions are a disgrace! Sorry guys, I would prefer a manual, if I were racing. For day to day driving, I would go with an automatic in a heartbeat.
Same goes with web design and development. If you want to do something entirely different, go with the manual coding by HTML and reinvent the wheel! On the other hand, if you want to build a cozy looking one; the CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) frameworks would reduce a lot of your workload. The results are going to be much better looking.
These days, most of the websites share a similar, if not identical, structure. Due to CSS frameworks, the developers don’t need to build it from scratch and use the time saved to do other creative stuff. As the name suggests, this is a “framework”; so, you can build on and around it.
“But which one would suit my need?” you may ask. Well, that depends on your needs and choosing the right one could be a complicated decision. Because the requirements vary and these days available frameworks tend to be more complete and easy to use. However, if you consider the options available, ease of understanding, how fast you can install and use it, integration capabilities with other systems and long-term support availability of a framework; these will make your decision-making the process a lot simpler.
To help you with the process, the following list compiles the top 18 free responsive CSS frameworks of 2017, according to my views.
It is arguably the most popular framework for building websites, mobile web designs, and apps. Though it is not strictly a CSS framework, it puts CSS3 to the test with latest designs and possibilities. The current version is the Bootstrap 3.3.7, with version 4 coming very soon.
In the web developer’s minds, this framework is most probably the most valuable at this time, and it should be. You can build websites without hiring professionals if you are using this framework. Also, there are lots of video tutorials available to learn from regarding this framework.
This framework has something to offer to all level web designers, and it’s effortless to use. It has a simple and sophisticated view that is full of latest elements, and that is the biggest attraction of this framework.
This framework helps the web designer and developers to build a fast web interface. There are 30+ particular and extendible components, which can be put together with one another. These are partitioned into various compartments as indicated by their functionality and purpose. There are quite a few tutorials available to learn from.
If you are of creative sorts, this framework comes with lots of interactive elements. These will give you the freedom to cultivate your creativity to the fullest in web development. The websites built using this framework works well in both old and new browsers.
This is a lightweight framework with quite a few development features. With this framework you can work with your own style and develop anything you want.
This one is a straightforward CSS grid system which puts extreme focuses towards the modern browser’s usage. This framework will give you excellent layouts along with new abilities which are not available with the general float-based layouts.
This is another very lightweight CSS framework, which is described as a starting point for both designers and developers. This framework has a lot of functionality out of the box in terms of layout. However, you need to keep an eye on browser compatibility if you’re supporting few older ones.
If you are looking for a certain level of flexibility and minimalism, this is the one for you. This framework is based on a concept of Google material design; which offers various material design elements and also allows you to integrate other design elements into it.
This one is the Google’s way of saying, how to build something beautiful with already proven and available resources. It is most likely the easiest to use. Also, there are lots of tutorials available to learn from.
Yet another tiny and lightweight CSS framework that especially works well for mobile devices. This framework is perfect for any kind of screen size.
This one is a CSS micro frameworks that utilize Stylus as the foundation for building syntax. Highly integrated and fully responsive, it is well-suited with all modern devices and browsers.
If you like to keep it simple and minimal, this is the framework you are looking for. This will allow you to build flat and clean design of web pages. Very useful for those who are just starting with web design and need a framework on which they can experiment freely.
This is a quick framework for website development which focuses on the responsive web design with high quality. What makes web developing fun with this framework is that it itself normalizes all of the HTML.
Yet Another Multicolumn Layout (YAML) is a decade old, yet one of the most prominent CSS frameworks. It is a modular CSS framework, which helps to build highly flexible, accessible and responsive websites. This is a perfect starting point if you are looking for truly responsive design.
This is a quick and easy framework for website development which is also light and responsive. This responsive front-end framework is built with LESS. With this framework you can easily and quickly jumpstart your project. From prototype to production, it will perfectly help you with the foundation and components to easily design any responsive web project.
This is a simple, light, responsive framework with which you can easily create a landing page just using the grid and a few custom styles. This framework is perfect for the one who is embarking on a smaller project or the one who just doesn’t feel the need of a larger framework.
All of the above-mentioned CSS frameworks are there to be explored by you. There are some benefits of using a framework, which includes, but not limited to; solutions to common problems/issues, compatibility with all types of browsers, clean coding, faster mock-ups and it is helpful in collaborative works.
On the other hand, there are few disadvantages as well. You won’t be learning to do it yourself from scratch, and the learning process may be slow. Especially, if you are like the petrol-heads mentioned at the beginning of the article, these frameworks are not for you!
The individual developers need to make the call, whether to use a framework or not. These frameworks are useful for many people out there. However, that doesn’t mean it will suit your needs. Alternatively, it is possible to build your own CSS framework.