Start your free trial now, and begin learning software, business and creative skills—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.

Start Your Free Trial Now

Boilerplates, grids, and frameworks


CSS: Frameworks and Grids

with James Williamson

Video: Boilerplates, grids, and frameworks

Boilerplates, grids, and frameworks provides you with in-depth training on Developer. Taught by James Williamson as part of the CSS: Frameworks and Grids
please wait ...
Watch the Online Video Course CSS: Frameworks and Grids
Video Duration: 3m 12s3h 27m Beginner Jan 22, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

View Course Description

Have you wondered if using a CSS framework will speed up your site development? In this course, senior author James Williamson introduces the types of frameworks available—including the most popular choices among working web developers—and provides an honest assessment of the pros and cons to using a framework. He guides you through downloading a framework, setting up a directory structure, and building a framework-based site, such as structuring the HTML and working with forms. A separate chapter explores layout grids, often included with CSS frameworks, which provide a simple system for laying out page content.

Topics include:
  • Understanding boilerplates, grids, and frameworks
  • Choosing a framework
  • Building your own framework
  • Crafting a deployment strategy
  • Modifying files
  • Customizing typography and color
  • Filling in framework gaps
  • Exploring grid-based syntax
  • Nesting grids
  • Using mobile grids
Developer Web
James Williamson

Boilerplates, grids, and frameworks

One of the most confusing things about CSS frameworks is what exactly a framework is. A broad definition would be that they are a collection of CSS files that contain predefined rules for layout, typography, and browser resets. However, the more that you research them, the more confusing it can get. You're likely to encounter terms like boilerplate, bootstraps, frameworks, and grid systems with each one of them seeming to promise more than the next one. If you dig a little deeper, you'll find that although in some cases the terms are used interchangeably, there are some subtle differences between them.

For the most part, they all refer to a collection of assets that are designed to speed up the development of sites. So although the terms themselves aren't really well defined, let's take a look at what most people are referring to when they use them. A boilerplate usually refers to a set of templates that are focused around a very specific standard or goal. Take the HTML5 Boilerplate that you see here, for example. Now this focuses on providing starter pages in assets for building HTML5 sites and apps.

Boilerplates are typically meant to provide the starting point for a project focused on specific best practices. Frameworks, on the other hand, are usually more of a collection of assets that provide a system for building sites. Now this system usually has a specific focus such as building responsive sites, crafting user interfaces, or specific typographic approach. Now some frameworks might feature a single focus, while others attempt to provide a diverse set of options for users. Grid systems are similar to frameworks but tend to be focused specifically on page layout.

Most feature a small number of CSS files that are built around container level classes. Although some feature starter pages and demo files, now these are typically much smaller than a full framework. It's also worth noting that many frameworks also contain a grid system as part of the overall framework. You may have also come across the term Bootstrap, now that's almost entirely due to Twitter's Bootstrap Project which you can see here. Bootstrap was the result of Twitter releasing a UI framework for building Twitter-themed pages.

The project took a life of its own, and it was spun off from Twitter as a stand-alone framework. Although it's a little bit more comprehensive than most frameworks, there is nothing that really sets it apart as a totally different system. For that reason, you should think of the term Bootstrap as more of a marketing term than anything else. However, with the amazing popularity of Bootstrap, it wouldn't surprise me at all to see people begin to refer to some of the more complex UI frameworks as Bootstraps, so that's something you may want to keep an eye on.

So that's a brief overview of some of the terminology I'll be using throughout this course. Keep in mind that there's an amazing amount of diversity among frameworks, grid systems and boilerplates, so often it's not so much looking for a specific type of system, but rather looking for the system that's going to work best for you and your projects.

There are currently no FAQs about CSS: Frameworks and Grids.

Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.

Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now Already a member? Log in

* Estimated file size

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.

Mark all as unwatched Cancel


You have completed CSS: Frameworks and Grids.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


Upgrade to View Courses Offline


With our new Desktop App, Annual Premium Members can download courses for Internet-free viewing.

Upgrade Now

After upgrading, download Desktop App Here.

Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Start your FREE 10-day trial

Begin learning software, business, and creative skills—anytime,
anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts. provides
Unlimited access to over 4,000 courses—more than 100,000 video tutorials
Expert-led instruction
On-the-go learning. Watch from your computer, tablet, or mobile device. Switch back and forth as you choose.
Start Your FREE Trial Now

A trusted source for knowledge.


We provide training to more than 4 million people, and our members tell us that helps them stay ahead of software updates, pick up brand-new skills, switch careers, land promotions, and explore new hobbies. What can we help you do?

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.