Last updated on January 2nd, 2024 by RGB Web Tech
Front-end frameworks for responsive web design have become essentially important for the websites. There has already been too much buzz about the ongoing practice of using a responsive framework while initiating web designing. Because of the effectiveness of these frameworks, they are becoming more popular among the developers. Responsive frameworks are far better than the non-responsive ones. Additionally, they are effective and help in the development of user-centric applications.
Responsive web design front-end frameworks include CSS and HTML5 tags and thus they are the best choice to create exceptional website designs. There are several best front-end frameworks available to use to create exceptional websites. Here is a brief on some of the most renowned frameworks used popularly by developers.
1. Twitter Bootstrap
This list would be woefully incomplete without the inclusion of the wildly popular frontend framework, Bootstrap. Created by Twitter developers and initially released in 2011, it's the most used open source framework in the world.
Because it is updated continually, Bootstrap typically includes the latest and best features. For example, it added themes that met Google's material design guidelines shortly after they were published, and it was also upgraded to use Sass as a CSS preprocessor.
- Massive community support.
- Widest variety of themes.
- Best browser capability.
- Has both a fluid and fixed pattern grid system.
- More development tools available.
- Many popular websites are built on this framework.
- Superiority in mobile support.
- Most of the celebrated custom web development companies prefer this tool.
- Not as lightweight when compared to others. Out-of-the-box file size of 276 KB due to an excessive number of rarely used styles.
- Difficult to use jQuery plugins.
- Websites are easily recognizable.
- The excessive number of HTML classes and DOM elements can be messy and confusing.
Ideal for: Beginners and those who prefer a robust front-end framework.
Created by web design company Zurb, Foundation is a highly advanced, enterprise-grade frontend framework that is ideal for developing nimble, responsive websites. Used on sites like Facebook, eBay, and Mozilla, it is also fairly complex and may not be suitable for newbies.
This features-rich framework supports GPU acceleration for smooth, lightning fast animations and Fastclick.js for fast rendering on mobile devices. It runs on the Sass preprocessor and includes the Foundation-developed data interchange attribute, which lets you load lightweight HTML sections for mobile and "heavier" HTML sections for larger screens. For a comparison between Foundation and Bootstrap, read our complete article, Bootstrap vs Foundation.
- Offers finest of the customization abilities.
- Possess a robust grid system.
- Provides rapid development of code.
- Easy to use templates available for download.
- Offers services for sites as well as emails.
- Design-it-yourself approach.
- More complex when trying to customize.
- Not a great framework for beginners.
- Less popular in comparison to Bootstrap.
Ideal for:Developers who have decent amounts of experience and who are primarily concerned with developing fast, attractive, responsive websites.
3. Semantic UI
A relative newcomer on the scene, Semantic-UI stands out in several ways and is poised to become one of the most popular front-end frameworks out there.
This framework's main claim to fame is its simplicity. Because it uses natural language, the code is self-explanatory. Even those with very little coding experience will feel fairly at home working with this framework.
Another notable feature of Semantic-UI is that it is integrated with a dizzying array of third-party libraries. So much so, that you probably won't need to use any others. Therefore, the development process is a bit easier and more streamlined.
- Semantic class names make for a low barrier of entry, so even beginners can hit the ground running.
- Small file sizes and minimal load times because you can load only the components that you need; each has its own JS file and style sheet.
- Versatile elements make for easy customization.
- Very large packages when compared to Foundation and Bootstrap.
- Those with more complex design and development needs may find this framework lacking.
Ideal for: Beginners and those who want a lightweight, nimble framework.
4. Material UI
If you're looking for a front-end framework that makes it easy to adhere to Google's material design guidelines, you can't go wrong with Material UI. It is by far the most elaborate framework to implement these guidelines thus far, but there is one caveat: It isn't meant to be a starting point for a brand-new web design project.
Loaded with ready-to-use CSS and material design-compliant components, Material UI uses a CSS-in-JS solution. This unlocks many great features including theme nesting, dynamic styles, self-support, etc.
- The easiest way to meet Google's material design guidelines when using a framework.
- Highly customizable.
- Not intended to serve as a starting point for from-scratch web design projects.
- Need a decent understanding of React to use effectively.
Ideal for: Developers who understand and have experience with React and who need an easy way to adhere to material design guidelines.
The Materialize responsive front-end development framework also implements Google's material design specifications and is loaded with ready-to-use buttons, icons, cards, forms, and other components. It is offered in both a standard version and in one that runs on Sass.
Materialize includes a convenient IZ column grid feature that can be used for website layouts. It is also loaded with CSS that's ready to use out of the box for material design shadows, typography, colors, and other features.
Additional features include ripple-effect animation, drag-out mobile menus, Sass mixins, and more.
- Huge selection of components.
- Responsive support ensures that websites are supported across all devices.
- The large file size makes this a bulky framework to work with.
- No support for Flexbox model.
Ideal for: Less experienced developers who need guidance regarding Google's material design specifications.
UIKit is a highly modular front-end framework that stands out among most front-end development frameworks for many reasons. Chief among them is the fact that it includes both Less and Sass CSS preprocessors.
Loaded with an array of nimble, responsive components with consistent naming conventions, UIKit has become one of the most popular front-end frameworks out there.
- Highly customizable.
- Exceptionally modular, so you can add components to the style sheet without negatively impacting overall style.
- Create advanced user interfaces using components like nestable.
- Very few resources out there due to the relative newness.
Ideal for: Fairly experienced developers due to the current lack of available resources. Otherwise, it is great for simple and complex projects alike.
When minified and compressed with Gzip, Pure clocks in at just 4.5 KB, making it one of the lightest and nimblest front-end development frameworks out there. As a result, it is terrific for mobile website development, and many developers rely on it for precisely that.
- Extremely lightweight, ensuring fast loading times even on mobile devices.
- A flexible array of CSS modules can be used on just about any web design and development project.
- CSS only - does not include jQuery or JS plugins.
Ideal for: Developers who are focusing on creating responsive, fast mobile websites.
Adobe, Microsoft, and AOL sponsor this project.
- It is helpful for rich, interactive HTML5 content.
- You have basic knowledge of JavaScrip.
Ideal for: It is ideal for creating animation effects and HTML5 Audios on your website.
9. HTML5 Boilerplate
In 2010, HTML5 Boilerplate became one of the first, and subsequently, most popular open-source front-end web development tools for getting HTML5 websites and web apps up and running in no time. It’s a compilation web development solution that enables our websites to support modern web browsers.
Included in HTML5 Boilerplate is a mobile-friendly HTML template, placeholder icons, CSS resets for normalizing/standardizing your stylesheet property values, standard media queries for popular viewing screens, an HTML5shiv for non-modern web browsers, and more.
- It is an open-source front-end web development tool.
- Mobile-friendly HTML template.
- It required basic knowledge of HTML/HTML5 and CSS/CSS3.
Ideal for: It is ideal for designing responsive websites.
Milligram is another extremely lightweight framework similar to Skeleton. When Gzipped, it comes out to just 2 KB in size and is used to provide developers with a simplistic and convenient starting point.
Milligram’s grid system is different than most because of its use of the CSS Flexible Box Layout Module standard. It also includes a few key components for getting you started including typography, buttons, forms, lists, tables, blockquotes, etc.
- Very lightweight, only 2 KB when Gzipped.
- Uses CSS Flexbox as the grid system.
- Few resources available due to the relative newness.
- Minimal styling components available compared to other larger frameworks.
Ideal for: Developers who are creating a small project that doesn't require any styling components and want to use a CSS Flexbox grid system.
Some would argue that Susy isn't a Front-end Framework in the truest sense of the term because it is focused on solving complex layout needs. Many classify Susy as a grid maker more than anything, but it can be an indispensable tool for those who have specialized layout needs.
Susy arms you with mixins that can be used to create grids. The framework does all of the calculations for you, saving a lot of time and effort.
With Susy, you can create any kind of grid layout imaginable. If you have been looking for a way to do this, Susy may be the answer.
- Superior flexibility, so you can create any kind of grid layout that you need.
- Automatically performs all calculations.
- Does not cover all aspects of website design, so you still need another framework solution.
- No pre-built grids.
Ideal for: Anyone who has unique or specialized layout requirements.
Zebra is a rich UI open-source framework that leverages HTML5 canvas as the backbone of its rendering abilities.
Zebra says that using it “isn’t rocket science” and that you can get started in 5 minutes.
Flexible, aesthetically built and a concise front-end CSS framework to accomplish clean web pages. Siimple is beautiful and mostly used for building web pages that are flat and clean. Working on these simple things sometimes proves to be exceptionally well for the development of user-centric websites. This framework is certainly minimal, having a few lines of codes that can also be zipped down to 6KB in total size. This framework is suitable for newbies who are just starting with their website designing and require a framework to experiment freely. Siimple helps such developers to create minimal and clean web designs.
14. Less Framework
Less Framework is a modern Front-end framework for building responsive designs. Similar to Skeleton (discussed above), Less Framework focuses on being just a plain and simple layout grid framework.
It has 4 pre-built layouts: Default, Tablet, Mobile, and Wide Mobile.
15. Montage HTML5 Framework
Being an HTML5 framework, Montage is great to kick start modern web page development. Montage has got the elements that help in the creation of scalable and feature-rich websites. These exceptional elements also help to maintain the HTML5 applications for a range of devices whether a desktop or a smartphone. Montage is amazing in its ways. It has got reusable components along with HTML templates in addition to the declarative component model, declarative data binding, and much more than it.
SproutCore is a front-end framework for building HTML5 apps rapidly.
It follows the MVC architecture pattern and promises its users the ability to craft native-like user experiences for the Web.
Cascade is a great relief to the developers as it offers both semantic and non-semantic grid layouts along with base templates, navigational elements, table designs. Cascade has got a universal approach and thus it is easy for designers to include several elements in their design. With Cascade in use, designers, as well as developers, have got the option of creating high-performance web pages for a variety of browsers right from the older ones to the new browsers. Cascade can be used by developers to choose and work on the components most important for a particular project.
Skeleton is a lightweight responsive boilerplate that contains only 400 lines of code. This framework is meant to include only the minimum requirements to get you started on the development of a web project. It is not meant to be all-inclusive such as other frameworks as mentioned above.
Skeleton is also responsive, based on a 12-column grid system, and includes the bare essentials such as buttons, lists, tables, forms, etc.
- Extremely lightweight.
- Greater simplicity and useful for smaller projects.
- It does not include a wide selection of utility/styling components such as larger frameworks do.
Ideal for:Someone who is creating a smaller project that doesn't require all of the style components of a larger framework.
19. HTML KickStart
At about 300KB, HTML KickStart packs quite a punch: UI components like stylish buttons and navigation bars, scalable icons (using Font Awesome), a responsive grid layout, a touch-enabled slideshow component and so on.
FAQs - Front-end frameworks
1. Which is the Best CSS Framework?
Answer : That depends on the website you’re looking to build. The most popular CSS framework, however, is Bootstrap.
2. What is a CSS Framework?
Answer : A CSS framework is a library of CSS stylesheets with pre-done code to help you design websites faster.
3. Why Do CSS Frameworks Use Preprocessors?
Answer : CSS frameworks use preprocessors to automate tasks.
4. Which Files Do You Need for CSS Frameworks?
There are plenty of Front-end frameworks, but we have chosen the best Front-end frameworks that matter in 2023. Out of these 19, we cannot say which one is best, as each has its own set of features. By choosing the right Front-end frameworks for your needs, all the complicated and time-consuming styling is taken care of, and you can focus on writing business logic.
If you’re just starting out with CSS and UI, go for Pure, or Skeleton. However, to build more complex elements, you’ll need a more inclusive framework like Bootstrap, Foundation, Material UI etc. read our complete article, Bootstrap vs Foundation.