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Twitter Bootstrap : LESS is more

The adoption of Twitter Bootstrap as a fast and consistent development environment is the stuff of legends. Before Bootstrap, various libraries were used for interface development, which led to inconsistencies and a high maintenance burden.

In simple terms, web-sites were expensive and time-consuming to develop whilst exhibiting huge inconsistencies.

Brought to life by Mark Otto and Jacob Thornton from Twitter, they kindly shared it with the world and it’s now the most popular starting place for front-end development.

What is it?

At it’s core, it contains HTML and CSS-based design templates for typography, forms, buttons, navigation and other interface components, as well as optional JavaScript extensions. In practical use, it means you start not with a blank sheet, but a well documented and widely understood origin.

The benefits are huge or having a standardised front-end interface that just works.

  • Rapid development shows huge time savings as developers have to write very little code. Nor do they need to worry too much about design and styling as these aspects are already taken care of.
  • Standard layouts, including a 940px wide grid system adapts beautifully to all screen resolutions and does so with the developer having to worry about how that might work. Simply dropping content into the cells is often all that is required – a task not beyond the ability of a talented marketer and may avoid dedicated development resource in the future.
  • Compatibility, both with itself and in the future. The whole interface just works without all those tedious compatibility/clash issues. It will doubtless become the standard for web developers for many years to come.
  • Nice and simple. You don’t need to spend a lot of time learning as it brought together all the standard approaches of good code. The translates into faster migration and greater adoption as the barrier to entry is pretty low.
  • Always testing. Fast deployment and ease of changes encourages lots of changes, adds and edits. By contrast, old legacy code is not a comfortable bedfellow with testing and iteration-based delivery.
  • Low maintenance. Not only is it simple to maintain, it’s simple to add, edit or throw away. Reducing the cost of code maintenance allows more resource to be spent on delivering new and exciting things.

We adopted LESS (the forerunner to Twitter Bootstrap) a couple of years ago and have been moving over to Twitter Bootstrap under WordPress during 2013. Often we extend and enhance the functions to meet the needs of individual clients.

However, from the start of 2014, we’re embedding Twitter Bootstrap directly into our VNX Platform – simplifying future updates and further driving down the cost of support for new websites.