CSS: Frameworks and Grids
Illustration by John Hersey
Watching:

Are frameworks right for you?


From:

CSS: Frameworks and Grids

with James Williamson

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

Video: Are frameworks right for you?

There's a fair amount of debate among designers as to whether or not frameworks are worth using. Some designers absolutely swear by them, and wouldn't start a project without them, while others see them as adding unnecessary overhead, and too many constraints for their projects. Whether frameworks are right for you is going to be driven largely by your personal preferences, and your approach to coding. When deciding on whether to use frameworks or not, I find it helpful to focus on why they were created in the first place? Designers often use the same code over and over again from one project to another.
please wait ...
Watch the Online Video Course CSS: Frameworks and Grids
3h 27m Beginner Jan 22, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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
Subjects:
Developer Web
Software:
CSS
Author:
James Williamson

Are frameworks right for you?

There's a fair amount of debate among designers as to whether or not frameworks are worth using. Some designers absolutely swear by them, and wouldn't start a project without them, while others see them as adding unnecessary overhead, and too many constraints for their projects. Whether frameworks are right for you is going to be driven largely by your personal preferences, and your approach to coding. When deciding on whether to use frameworks or not, I find it helpful to focus on why they were created in the first place? Designers often use the same code over and over again from one project to another.

I mean, if you have spent hours crafting a set of browser reset styles, why should you have to re-create them in every new project that you do? By reusing code, you ensure you're using code that works, and you're getting faster with each new project. And over time, most designers identify code and patterns that are common to most projects and begin to craft templates or starter files around them. This is how the majority of available frameworks are born. I have always thought that it's a great testament to the web community that so many designers and studios have decided to share their frameworks with the rest of us.

However, that very process points out one of framework's biggest flaws. My workflow is unlikely to match yours, and how I prefer to solve problems might not be the way you would do it. So, if you use a framework created by someone else in a way, you're committing to working the way that they like to work. What's more, you're going to have to spend time familiarizing yourself with how they like to structure content, and how to best apply your own aesthetics to their styles. Still, there are tangible benefits to using frameworks.

So let's look at some of the pros and cons. Probably the foremost reason for using frameworks is to speed up your development time. With a framework, the markup for typography, columns, alignment, units of measurement, and the element styling are already worked out, perhaps most importantly, cross-browser compatibility issues are addressed throughout most frameworks eliminating most of the time spent debugging and testing. If a layout grid is included, the designer can align elements to an underlying grid, and create rows and columns by simply applying class names to page elements.

In that sense, designers can rapidly create style prototypes or even finish sites without having to author a ton of separate styles. Another reason to use a framework is for the structure and consistency that they give your projects. In order to use a framework, you need to use the constraints in place for class and ID values, and underlying code structure. Since many frameworks are built around web standards and best practices, this means that your own projects will be properly structured and achieve a degree of consistency that makes them easy to update and maintain.

And perhaps my favorite reason to use a framework is for the education they provide. A high-quality framework is the result of literally hundreds or even thousands of hours of lessons learned the hard way by other designers. By using a framework, you are not only benefiting from their knowledge, you are able to dig into what makes the framework tick and figure out how to approach different design issues. If you broaden your horizons and experiment with multiple frameworks, you can get a fairly broad survey into how the professional web community tackles most problems.

It sounds good, right? Well, there are some negatives. Perhaps, the most frequently cited negative is that your projects will undoubtedly suffer from some level of bloat. To one degree or another, frameworks try to provide options for almost any situation the authors can think of. This means that it will be a rare project that uses everything a framework has to offer. So, without taking the time to go through and strip out all that unused code, your projects will have a bit more bloat than they actually need. You're also restricted to working based on the way the framework is constructed.

This isn't always a negative but if you don't choose wisely, you could end up with a framework that doesn't really fit your own personal workflow or standards. Also, if the framework is too restrictive, you end up having to spend an inordinate amount of time to modify the framework for that particular project. That's what makes choosing the right framework so important. While it's nice to have a head start, you don't want to spend twice the amount of time in overriding or modifying the framework's styles. Most frameworks use non-semantic class names for page layout and styling.

While this might not be a problem for some designers, for those that are concerned with creating clean semantic code, it can be a bit of a deal breaker. Does this mean the frameworks are right for you or not? Well, I can't say. That's entirely up to you. What I do recommend, however, is that before you commit to using one, you should research them and experiment with the ones that seem to best fit your needs and philosophies. Once you have had some hands-on experience with them, you'll be better prepared to determine whether or not they'll work for you.

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

Congratulations

You have completed CSS: Frameworks and Grids.

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


OK
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:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
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 lynda.com 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.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com 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 lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com 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.