Talking of Design

The best and only CSS framework you need

17/03/14 • WEB DESIGN

Is your own.

Yes, I know has a faint whiff of link-bait, but that doesn’t stop it being true.

This post has come about in-part from @csswizardrys question: Why don’t you use a CSS framework? What is wrong with them, in your eyes?, to which I responded: The fact there are now so many tells you everything you need to know

Perhaps they are a bit wysiwyg, but where the wyg is made of real hair?

You do a search in Google for css framework and the first result you will get is 20 Exceptional CSS Boilerplates and Frameworks. (March, 2014)

And they are just the exceptional ones — in the opinion of the author. So there are obviously loads of others as well.

A standard?

If a framework was truly a standard” to work with, then surely there should only be a handful — to match the languages we have at our disposal? But when you see articles listing 20 as being exceptional, then — in my eyes — this paints them as mere examples of other folks coding work which has been deemed of a good quality — that you can use yourself if you want. We’ve created this to suit our needs. Here — use it if you want. Look at me I’m sharing. I’m a sharer.

With frameworks you have that ability to plug-in” the code, see that it works, and then off you go. That’s dangerous and promotes a kind of flat-pack complacency. Especially if the framework itself has marketing wording that suggests it will do things for you”. OK, so we’re not talking back to the days of full-on wysiwyg here — or perhaps they are a bit wysiwyg, but where the wyg is made of real hair?

Benefits of coding your own

One of the of the benefits of writing your own is that you have full understanding of the code, and the hows and whys. If a client requests a fix, or a change, or something different, you’ll know where to go and how to do this. You also won’t have to do it as some kind of overwrite in a different file and folder, so as to make sure you can still download framework updates in future without things going widdly-woo. Good you say? <cough>Bloat!</cough>

I’m sorry, but there is huge value in the long term management of a project when you don’t just know that something works, but know exactly how it works. How do you get that? By doing your own work.

Don’t get me wrong, the quality of code of many of these frameworks is not in question, and the potential to learn and improve your own coding with them is of great value.

But that’s it for me. They are resources to learn from when doing your job.

Oh what to do?

Sure, if you have a great idea that would benefit from being out there in super-quick time, lean on a framework to get it live so it can do its stuff”. That makes total sense. Sometimes time is of the essence.

But, long term, for the health of your work and your progress:

  • Download all the top frameworks
  • Take them apart
  • Look at them
  • Compare them to how you do things
  • Learn
  • And then build your own

Further eye food

I also talk about frameworks and such a bit more in my Everyday Designer post: Web Style Guides for the Smaller Project” (“Putting the boot in” section).

Me, but elsewhere

Stuff like my Blog & Social Media etc …

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