If you’re a web designer who’s looking for a sleek, simple and responsive front-end framework, you’ve probably heard of both Bootstrap and Foundation. That’s because these are the two most popular frameworks around right now. But to start, you should understand what a framework is and what it can do for you. A framework is a collection of tools for creating websites and mobile applications. Framework packages include files and folders of standardized code (HTML, CSS, etc.) as a basis to start building a site.

Before we dive into the details of each framework, know that each one has its pros and cons. At the end of this blog post, you’ll make a decision on which is better based on your unique situation, your needs and your familiarity with code in the first place.

We want you to be armed with all of the latest information about each framework, so that you can make the best decision for your web-design projects. Let’s dive right in.

Similarities between Bootstrap and Foundation

1. Open source– Both frameworks operate under the MIT license, meaning they are free to use and adapt upon.
2. Responsive, or “mobile first”– A responsive site essentially means that the given website or web app can work seamlessly across screen sizes—mobile, tablet, and desktop.

Both of these frameworks come out of the box as responsive, so you won’t have to put in the extra work.

1. 12-column grid system– When it comes to frameworks, a grid system is what gives you the power to lay out your website or app.

Both frameworks have:
1. Rows and columns
2. Ability to nest columns in rows, and vice versa

2. Stylized CSS components– Bootstrap and Foundation both come with pre-styled, ready-to-go components.

A few of these include:

1. Navigation bar
2. Buttons
3. Pagination
4. Labels
5. Progress bar
6. And more

3. Optional JavaScript extensions– These easy-to-implement JS plugins make it easy to add certain kinds of more advanced front-end features—like affixed sidebars or pop-up modals.

At the time of writing, Bootstrap has 12 JS plugins, whereas Foundation has 15.

The Advantages of Bootstrap

1. Massive Community Support– Given Bootstrap’s immense popularity, there is a large community using the framework. Again, it has 81,500+ stars on Github, compared to Foundation’s 20,000 stars.
2. More themes available-Because of its popularity, there are more Bootstrap-based themes available.
3. Greater browser compatibility– The big distinction in compatibility is the support for Internet Explorer 8. Having support for older browsers can make a difference, especially for sites aiming to engage older demographics.
4. Can use Less or Sass– Foundation only works with Sass/Scss—a popular CSS preprocessor.

The Advantages of Foundation

1. More of a design-it-yourself approach– Foundation provides a better environment for website customization. Although it’s possible to customize with Bootstrap, it takes a fair amount of effort to get your site to notlook like other Bootstrap sites.
2. Do not have to add classes to be responsive or achieve certain style– If you don’t add the correct CSS classes with Bootstrap, effects will not appear.With Foundation, there are base CSS appearances built in. Some may prefer this, especially since there won’t be as much CSS bloat in your HTML.

Conclusion

In the end, using a front-end framework is ideal for people who want to build quickly, or at least not start from scratch. As you can see, many successful sites use Bootstrap and Foundation.

When it’s all said and done, the question isn’t really that simple. As we’ve talked about, there are pros and cons to each front-end framework, and whether designers want to choose one over the other largely depends on their personal preference and comfort level.

If you enjoy having a large selection of themes, then Bootstrap is the way to go. No doubt about it. If you have a preference for rams over pixels, then maybe Foundation isn’t so bad after all. If you want to enjoy support for Internet Explorer 8, then better stick to Bootstrap. However, if designing for mobile first is important…well, Foundation puts an emphasis on that. Then again…if community support and more choice in the form of plugins and widgets are important, you can’t beat Bootstrap’s bigger following and larger selection.

Without a doubt, using a front-end framework makes it easy to get up and running. Bootstrap and Foundation can both get you there—so figure out what’s most important to you in a framework and the choice is up to you!