What is Bootstrap and How to Use it in Web Development?

By Roman Berezhnoi January 18, 2019 8.72K views

What is Bootstrap and How to Use it in Web Development?

Bootstrap was originally created by Twitter developers for internal use, but after a while, it was laid out in open access and became a convenient set of tools for developing user interfaces of any complexity.

So, now Bootstrap is an open and free HTML, CSS and JS toolkit that is used by web developers to create responsive website designs quickly and effectively. You can find great examples of the bootstrap web design on specialized sites like Awwward.

The Bootstrap framework is used not only by independent developers but also by entire companies. The main area of its application is the development of front-end component sites and admin interfaces. Among similar systems (Foundation, UIkit, Semantic UI, InK, etc.), the Bootstrap framework is the most popular.

Bootstrap Logo in purple color with the white capital B

In essence, Bootstrap is just a collection of files (CSS and JavaScript). When a Bootstrap web developer connect these files to the page, a large number of classes and ready-made components will become available for design layout. Using them makes the creation of modern websites with responsive web design very effective.

Classes Bootstrap can be divided into 3 large groups:

  1. Classes for creating a grid (adaptive page layout).
  2. Classes for styling content (text, code, images, tables, and other information).
  3. Service classes (for solving the most common auxiliary problems, such as alignment, display control, adding borders, etc.).

In addition to classes, the Bootstrap framework also contains components (ready-made interface objects) such as buttons, breadcrumbs, forms, navigation menus, drop-down lists, pop-up panels, etc.

Benefits of Bootstrap

Bootstrap accelerates the creation of layouts by providing a great number of templates and ready-made solutions. 

Cross-browser and adaptability.

Sites created using Bootstrap are identically displayed on different devices and in modern browsers.

Ease of use.

Working with Bootstrap is not difficult; it only requires basic skills and having some basic knowledge working with layouts.

Easy to learn.

Again, is easy to learn. A considerable number of tutorial videos will help you understand Bootstrap without any difficulties and master it.

Many themes for popular content management systems (CMS) are developed using Bootstrap, which proves its quality level. In essence, it is a framework containing the components of CSS, HTML,  and JavaScript, as well as its own styles and fonts.

Bootstrap elements
Pinterest of F5 Studio web agency

Using standard mesh

Adaptive sites that contain classic elements (header, footer, content and side column), and therefore they it is important to calculate the width of each and every one of them. Usually, calculations are carried out in percentages, and if everything is clear with the header and basement (the width is usually 100%), then there are difficulties with the other blocks. On stationary desktops, the ratio of content to the side column may be 75 to 25 or 80 to 20. When reducing the window, this option is unacceptable, you need to drop to 100% and flow around.

Bootstrap grid

In such situations, a grid is needed. It makes it possible to define classes of objects, specifying their width and the nature of the display on various devices.

The Bootstrap grid is a table containing rows and columns. You can create a grid inside an existing one, thereby eliminating the need to manually enter media queries. Thus, it greatly simplifies and accelerates the process of creating adaptive blocks.

Disadvantages of Bootstrap


Sites developed with Bootstrap are similar to each other: the same structure, navigation, buttons. Each new site is similar to the many already created ones, and this does not seem professional so trying not to use ready-made solutions will help create unique websites. That being said, it is important to understand all the tools offered by Bootstrap so as to maximize their use in development.

Lack of flexibility

Despite all the advantages, Bootstrap is a tool that has its limitations ( all sites on it are similar to each other). Therefore, Bootstrap may not be suitable for the implementation of some projects.

Older browsers

Since Bootstrap tries to keep up with the times and is constantly updated and as a result, the sites on Bootstrap may not display correctly in older browsers.

Of course you should explore some alternatives. WordPress website development seems the obvious and cost-effective solution for many types of websites. For corporate website development it is better to ask web professionals an advice. You can contact F5 Studio web specialists because they provide corporate web development consulting services.

How to start using bootstrap? (small guide for beginners)


Before downloading, make sure you have a code editor (we recommend Sublime Text 3) and some knowledge of HTML and CSS. Here we will not affect the source files, but you can always download and study them yourself. We will focus our attention on getting started with the compiled Bootstrap files.

Compiled CSS and JS

You can download the latest version of ready-to-use compiled Bootstrap code here https://github.com/twbs/bootstrap/releases/ to easily drop into your project, which includes:

  • Compiled and minified CSS bundles (see CSS files comparison)
  • Compiled and minified JavaScript plugins

This doesn’t include documentation, source files, or any optional JavaScript dependencies (jQuery and Popper.js).

Source files

Compile Bootstrap with your own asset pipeline by downloading our source Sass, JavaScript, and documentation files. This option requires some additional tooling:

  • Sass compiler (Libsass or Ruby Sass is supported) for compiling your CSS.
  • Autoprefixer for CSS vendor prefixing

Should you require build tools, they are included for developing Bootstrap and its docs, but they’re likely unsuitable for your own purposes.

Show the source of this block on Getbootstrap.com

File structure

In the downloaded files you will find the following structure and content, grouped logically by common properties and containing both versions: minimized and compiled.

After downloading, unzip the compressed folder to see the structure (compiled) Bootstrap. It should be something like this:

  +-- css/
  ¦   +-- bootstrap.css
  ¦   +-- bootstrap.min.css
  +-- js/
  ¦   +-- bootstrap.js
  ¦   +-- bootstrap.min.js
  +-- img/
  ¦   +-- glyphicons-halflings.png
  ¦   +-- glyphicons-halflings-white.png
  L-- README.md

What is included

Bootstrap is equipped with HTML, CSS, and JS for all types of work, they are all listed in categories that you can find at the top of the Bootstrap documentation page.

Sections of documents

Supported Items

General body styles for resetting the type and background, link styles, grid patterns, and two simple markup elements.

CSS styles

Styles for common HTML elements: design, code, tables, forms, and buttons. Also includes Glyphicons, a magnificent set of icons.


The main styles for simple interface components: tabs and buttons, navigation bars, messages, page headers, etc.

Javascript Plugins

Like components, these Javascript plugins are interactive components for tooltips, information blocks, modal components, etc.

Component List

All together, Javascript components and plugins contain the following interface elements:

  • Button groups
  • Button dropdowns
  • Navigation tabs, buttons, and lists
  • Navigation bar
  • Shortcuts
  • Badges
  • Page headers and hero element
  • Thumbnails
  • Messages
  • Process indicators
  • Modal elements
  • Drop down lists
  • Tooltips
  • Information blocks
  • Element “Accordion”
  • Element “Carousel”
  • Keyboard ahead input

Learn from the documentation on how to use and customize them.

Basic HTML Template

After a brief introduction, we will focus on using Bootstrap. To do this, we apply the main HTML template, which includes all the elements listed in the file structure.

This is what a typical HTML file looks like :

<!DOCTYPE html>
   <title>Bootstrap Template 101</title>
   <h1>Hello, world!</h1>
   <script src=”http://code.jquery.com/jquery-latest.js”></script>

To make such a Bootstrap template, simply attach the appropriate CSS and JS files:

<!DOCTYPE html>
   <title>Bootstrap Template 101</title>
<!– Bootstrap –>
   <link href=”css/bootstrap.min.css” rel=”stylesheet”>
   <h1>Hello, world!</h1>
   <script src=”http://code.jquery.com/jquery-latest.js”></script>
   <script src=”js/bootstrap.min.js”></script>

And everything is set up! By adding these two files, you can use Bootstrap to develop a website from scratch or web application. Also Bootstrap is a good choice if you need to create an engaging website for your business.

To get professional bootstrap web development services for your project you can contact us.

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