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1. Twitter Bootstrap
Bootstrap is a popular, modern front-end/UI development framework. It’s feature-packed and will have most of the things you’ll need for developing responsive sites and apps.
Bootstrap has a 12-grid responsive layout, 13 custom jQuery plugins for common UIs like carousels and modal windows, a Bootstrap customizer, and more.
Bootstrap is well-documented, and this open source project has plenty of coverage in blogs and tutorial sites.
- Getting Started with Bootstrap (twitter.github.io)
- Twitter Bootstrap 101: Introduction (webdesign.tutsplus.com)
Bootstrap Tools and Resources
|Bootswatch||open source, free Twitter Bootstrap themes|
|Built With Bootstrap||showcase of websites and apps that use Bootstrap|
|Bootstrap Browser Compatibility||table showing what browsers Bootstrap supports|
|Building Twitter Bootstrap||how Bootstrap was built|
|WP-Bootstrap||an open source WordPress starter theme built on top of the Bootstrap framework|
|Font Awesome||icon fonts designed for Bootstrap|
|Official docs of Bootstrap|
Foundation is another popular responsive front-end framework. With this modern HTML5 framework, you can approach web design either mobile first, or from big displays down to mobile sizes.
It has rapid-prototyping capabilities, a responsive grid system and much more.
Foundation is by ZURB, a company of product designers focused on providing web-based solutions.
- Foundation Docs: Getting Started (zurb.com)
- A Beginner’s Guide to Zurb Foundation (designshack.net)
- Dive into Responsive Prototyping with Foundation (alistapart.com)
- Rapid Prototyping For Any Device With Foundation (smashingmagazine.com)
- Quickly build a prototype to test on any device (netmagazine.com)
Foundation Tools and Resources
|Foundation: HTML Templates||HTML layout design patterns you can readily use|
|Foundation Icons Fonts||useful set of UI icons|
|Foundation: Omnigraffle Stencils||a template for your wireframes|
|Official docs of Foundation|
Skeleton is a simple and clean responsive CSS boilerplate for HTML5 websites and apps. It’s got just the things you need, and nothing more.
Some notable features: a responsive layout grid, standard media queries for your device-specific CSS style properties, a CSS class for responsive image elements that scale with the layout grid, a PSD template for mocking up your web designs, and an HTML5 shiv for old web browsers.
If you want to get started with responsive design quickly, you should look into this open source project.
- Build a Responsive, Mobile-Friendly Web Page With Skeleton (designshack.net)
- Skeleton Boilerplate: PSD To HTML (1stwebdesigner.com)
- Intro to Skeleton CSS Boilerplate (youtube.com)
Skeleton Tools and Resources
|Skeleton WordPress Theme||WordPress starter theme written using Skeleton|
|Skeleton Examples & Extensions||showcase and a list of projects built with Skeleton|
|Official docs of Skeleton|
4. HTML5 Boilerplate
In 2010, HTML5 Boilerplate became one of the first, and subsequently, most popular open source front-end web development tools for getting HTML5 websites and web apps up and running in no time. It’s a compilation web development solutions that enable our sites to support modern web browsers.
Included in HTML5 Boilerplate is a mobile-friendly HTML template, placeholder icons, CSS resets for normalizing/standardizing your stylesheet property values, standard media queries for popular viewing screens, an HTML5 shiv for non-modern web browsers, and more.
HTML5 Boilerplate Tutorials
- The Official Guide to HTML5 Boilerplate (net.tutsplus.com)
- HTML5 Boilerplate Walkthrough (youtube.com)
- HTML5 Quick Start with Boilerplate (teamtreehouse.com)
HTML5 Boilerplate Tools and Resources
|HTML5 Boilerplate Showcase||Tumblr blog featuring websites and apps that use HTML5 Boilerplate|
|Mobile Boilerplate||offshoot of HTML5 Boilerplate specifically for mobile apps|
|Sites Using HTML5 Boilerplate||list of websites that use HTML5 Boilerplate|
|Official docs of HTML5 Boilerplate|
5. HTML KickStart
At about 300KB, HTML KickStart packs quite a punch: UI components like stylish buttons and navigation bars, scalable icons (using Font Awesome), a responsive grid layout, a touch-enabled slideshow component and so on.
HTML KickStart Tutorials
- HTML KickStart Getting Started Guide (99lime.com)
HTML KickStart Tools and Resources
|Official docs of HTML KickStart|
6. Montage HTML5 Framework
Montage also has a feature called Blueprints for associatively binding metadata onto your app objects — a pretty nifty function for dealing with lots of dynamic page elements.
- Montage Quick Start (montagejs.org)
- Montage JS Getting Started (youtube.com)
Montage Tools and Resources
|Apps Made with Montage||gallery and showcase of live apps that leverage Montage|
|Mop||open source tool for minifying your Montage files and customizing your Montage bundles|
|Official docs of Montage|
SproutCore is a front-end framework for building HTML5 apps rapidly.
It follows the MVC architecture pattern and promises its users the ability to craft native-like user experiences for the Web.
- SproutCore Guides (sproutcore.com)
- Build mobile applications with SproutCore (ibm.com)
SproutCore Tools and Resources
|SproutCore Showcase||demos and examples on this section of SproutCore’s website|
|Official docs of SproutCore|
Zebra is a rich UI open source framework that leverages HTML5 canvas as the backbone of its rendering abilities.
Zebra says that using it “isn’t rocket science” and that you can get started in 5 minutes.
- Simple UI Zebra Application (github.com)
- How to create a color picker with Zebra (zebkit.com)
Zebra Tools and Resources
|OOP cheat sheet||helpful resource for understanding the concept behind Zebra’s object-oriented programming logic|
|Official docs of Zebra|
Adobe, Microsoft, and AOL sponsor this project.
- Show & Tell / Discussion Area (createjs.com)
CreateJS Tools and Resources
|EaselJS demos||a showcase of the capabilities of one of CreateJS’s JS libraries|
|CreateJS CDN Libraries||a public CDN for serving up your CreateJS files|
|Official docs of CreateJS|
10. Less Framework
Less Framework is a modern front-end framework for building responsive designs. Similar to Skeleton (discussed above), Less Framework focuses on being just a plain and simple layout grid framework.
It has 4 pre-built layouts: Default, Tablet, Mobile and Wide Mobile.
Less Framework Tutorials
- Responsive Web Design with HTML5 and the Less Framework (sitepoint.com)
Less Framework Tools and Resources
|Frameless Grid||grid system concept, a collection of resources, and a good starting point for designers and developers using the Less Framework|
|Less Grid||useful grid overlay to help you develop your layouts|
|Less Guides 4||Guides for popular Adobe software to help you mock up your layouts|
|Official docs of Less Framework|
|License||Size (MB)*||CDN||Contr-ibutors||Founder||Repo||Start Date|
|Twitter Bootstrap||Apache License v2.0||3.15||cdnjs BootstrapCDN||235||@twbootstrap 69,923 followers||Mark Otto, jacob (fat)||GitHub||Aug 2011|
|Foundation||MIT License||2.20||None||237||@foundationzurb 11,326 followers||ZURB||GitHub||Sep 2011|
|Dave Gamache||GitHub||May 2011|
|HTML5 Boilerplate||Multiple open source licenses||.09||None||157||@h5bp
|Paul Irish||GitHub||Apr 2010|
|HTML KickStart||MIT License||0.30||jsDelivr||11||@htmlkickstart 308 followers||Joshua Gatcke||GitHub||Feb 2013|
|SproutCore||MIT License||10.7||None||126||@SproutCore 2,999 followers||Strobe Inc.||GitHub||2010|
|Andrei Vishneuski||GitHub||Nov 2012|
|CreateJS||Unknown||Various sizes||CreateJS CDN Libraries||14||@CreateJS
|Less Framework||MIT License||0.007 MB||None||2||@lessframework 1,461 followers||Joni Korpi||GitHub||Jun 2011|
*Size is determined as the master package’s archive file size on disk (on MS Windows)
What Responsive HTML5 Framework/Boilerplates/Tools Do You Use?
I chose these 10 based on quantitative (i.e. development activity, popularity, etc.) as well as qualitative (such as reputation of the founders and simply personal preference) reasons.
These are my top picks. I’d like to know yours. Please write a review about your favorite open source HTML5 front-end web development framework or boilerplate and please also discuss your personal experience with it in the comments below.