Shhh don’t tell…We’re pulling ourselves up by our Bootstraps

This week the field school dove into the wonderful world of Bootstrap. I’ve played around with a few templates before, but I knew much less html, CSS, and javascript than I do now. It’s really great that Twitter and their developers released their code so other people can play with it. I particularly liked Bootstrap because I think front-end webpage design is one of the most important pieces to a project. Yes, the data and the database and the underlying programming has to work — and work well — but I am of the belief that no one is going to want to use a site that looks terrible. I myself have quit playing games (regardless of the story) and abandoned websites (no matter how useful the content) when I couldn’t stand the design. If I don’t like the way it looks, I won’t use it. Bootstrap helps website and project developers solve at least the basic problems of design when they don’t have more advanced knowledge to do it themselves.

Modifying a template is so much easier than trying to write “from the ground-up.” I tried the latter a few weeks ago, and while I think I can say it wasn’t ugly — it definitely wasn’t smooth, beautiful, or giving off the appearance of being created by anyone with real skill. But Bootstrap makes it pretty simple to modify the html and CSS to alter the appearance of the site, so long as you understand the basics of programming. And honestly, even if I wanted to create a brand new site without the underlying Bootstrap, I think it would be easier for me to start from Bootstrap and just continue altering it until it became completely different and mine — because I like to see how the code I’m writing is actually changing things and that’s much harder to see when writing from scratch.

The only issue I have with Bootstrap is that it is so popular and I’ve started noticing it throughout the web, particularly on the list of example projects that Ethan has shared with us. And yes, I know it’s kind of snobbish to say I don’t want people to know I’ve used Bootstrap when I did use Bootstrap — but isn’t it a good goal to aim to make my use of Bootstrap less obvious? That would mean I’m writing code of my own, right? An important element of artistic design is to produce something unique and beautiful. I just wish I was talented enough to do that, but until then I’ll just build off Bootstrap and hope no one notices.

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