Not all developers love cascading style sheets (CSS), but almost all modern websites employ them to help achieve the visual beauty and functionality users have come to expect. Whether you love CSS or hate it, a good CSS framework can help you achieve a modern, interactive site design with less time and hassle than writing all the code yourself. There are many CSS frameworks available. The best one for you depends on your needs. A good place to start when choosing the best framework for your project is to compare the attributes of some top CSS frameworks.
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If affordability tops your list of needs, free-to-use bulma css is a good option to consider. This open-source framework, based on the popular Flexbox layout, is infinitely customizable because you can download the source code and change it in any way you wish. The thorough documentation, interactive tutorials and supportive community make this framework one of the easier ones to learn.
Top Features of the Bulma framework include modularity, a variety of built-in components, and compatibility with all major browsers. The framework has received frequent updates and bug fixes, so it is always getting better. It was designed to be a mobile-first platform, meaning you can design your site once, instead of having to code a different version for different devices.
If your main design goal is to do something a bit different, PaperCSS might be a good choice. PaperCSS bills itself as “the less formal CSS framework.” It includes components that have a cartoonish aesthetic that makes it an interesting choice for developing websites for gamers, kids, personal blogs and other clients who want something different from the usual “professional” website. Features of this framework include a Flexbox grid, buttons and interactive components.
If you are designing a project for a large business, you may want to consider Foundation. This framework was specifically designed with the needs of big businesses and professional web designers in mind. It includes a vast array of features, including the ability to create HTML emails. It can also help you optimize your site to be used on the varying screen sizes found on mobile phones, tablets and desktop devices.
If you’re looking for a lightweight solution, Spectre.CSS clocks in at about 10KB gzipped. This Flexbox-based framework is mobile friendly and responsive. It includes a variety of elements and components that can help you achieve a fast, flexible modern design. As a bonus, this framework is also easy to install and use.
If you need a highly intuitive framework, Semantic UI could be your perfect solution. The primary goal of Semantic UI is to make it easy for users to understand what a CSS class will look like and do, by giving CSS classes descriptive names, instead of something that reads like computer code. This makes Semantic UI a good choice for inexperienced developers.
If you need to get your project done in a hurry, Ulkit could be your best bet. Ulkit is one of the more “plug and play” solutions, thanks to its many ready-to-use components, designs, and themes. In addition to the ready-to-use modern designs, Ulkit includes built-in animations.
If you’re a designer who prefers to build everything yourself, rather than using pre-made components, Tailwind could be a good choice for you. Tailwind takes advantage of single-purpose utility classes, also called Atomic CSS. This framework requires more upfront coding knowledge than some of the others but can help you avoid some of the pitfalls inherent in some plug and play solutions.
If you are utilizing Google’s Material Design, then Materialize CSS may be a good choice. This framework is easy to learn and includes a simple grid system for page layouts. There are many components to choose from and this framework is optimal for designers who are trying to create a clean and modern design.
If you need a lightweight framework that can handle Google’s Material Design, at just 5.4k gzipped, MUI is worth considering. MUI includes a responsive grid to help you design mobile-friendly sites. It has no external dependencies. Its CSS library can be customized to fit your color scheme and it can be used to design HTML e-mails.
If you’re going for a retro aesthetic, NES.css takes the usual components found in a CSS framework and pairs them with a retro visual style based on 8-bit NES graphics. You can apply these styles to features such as comment balloons, reaction icons and containers. Sites for gamers are the obvious target market for this framework, but it could also be applied to other retro friendly designs.
Whatever your design needs are, there’s a CSS framework out there that can help you achieve them. Matching up the features of one of these top frameworks to the needs of your project should help you on your way to choosing the right CSS framework for your project.
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