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It’s subjective, of course, but I think I have a legitimate reason not to use them. I am a full stack developer, meaning I am not a UI designer or a front-end programmer or a graphic designer only. I am not creating an awe inducing interface, use two or three CSS frameworks and then pass on the project to the back-end developer.

I wrote before about frameworks and code reuse and the article applies to CSS, as well. A front-end designer might use an interface framework to style all buttons and form fields and tables, all in one go and a grid framework to make sure the design will work in all browsers and will be mobile responsive. But these libraries may have unnecessary code. A grid framework will always have lots of combinations of widths and heights, some of them never used on the current project. After the template has been completely coded, it will need to be optimized and unused code will need to be removed, rendering the CSS framework unupdatable.

With this in mind, isn’t it better to code your own buttons and form fields and grids? It’s not a huge job and you’re paid to do it, anyway. And no two projects will look the same again.

I used to use PureCSS, but overriding the default styles would actually add more code than actually modifying the original CSS code.

While you cannot reuse entire CSS libraries, you can use chunks of similar code. The best two examples I can give at this late hour are form fields and grids. Default form fields are ugly and I always turn down the border colour, add more padding, inherit the font family and, sometimes, add rounded borders. I can reuse this CSS code with no changes from one project to another. The same goes for grids, where percentage elements are always welcome (20%, 25%, 33%, 50%, 66%, 75% and, obviouly, 100%). Also floated elements will always have margins opposite their float position and below.

There, I’ve said it.


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2 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Use CSS Frameworks

  1. A good tip. As you probably don’t remember, I do MFC templates and the I can not use bootstrap css or any other for that matter. It is true, a bootstrap css helps but I see and agree with your point of view “what about unnecessary markup”. Another great article… how come I forgot about your website and services… Shame on me. Good luck Cip
    – Dan N

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