The Bootstrap Debate
Before we begin, if you have not read my post called When Software Projects Go Wrong. Please take the time to read it now because it provides some context for some things I’m going to talk about here.
Recently, I was given a new project to work on at my work. I was looking forward to the project because my last project did not go so well. In order to ensure project success, I asked my boss if I could have a series of meetings with the people involved to get an overview of the process, I was asked to automate. Several days later these meetings took place and I was able to grab enough information to start to put together a prototype application. Due to what happened on my last project, I’m now required to have a weekly meeting with my boss to discuss progress and any concerns. Now, some people would see this kind of meeting as a drag. However, I use this weekly meeting to get some one on one time with my boss. I showed him the prototype application. While my backend code was good, he did not like that I used the popular Bootstrap UI framework in my project. When I questioned him further about why he didn’t like the framework? His only answer was that the “UI is not custom enough”. When the meeting ended, my boss sent me some screenshots of another internal app that is used in my workplace. He wanted to me to use these images to recreate my UI. By today’s standards, the proposed UI looks terrible for many reasons:
- It does not have a standard font or font size
- Certain UI elements such as input tags and labels to close together.
- Not responsive
To make a long story short, I did make a UI based on what I received and it looks terrible. However, the line “not custom enough” has haunted me for the past week because I know Bootstrap can be used to create something custom. For example, this very website. I overrode many standard bootstrap styles to create the layout. It’s not perfect by any means but it gets the job done. In addition, I used Bootstrap 4 to create a very custom interface for one of my personal projects. Obviously, there is no right answer here since UI design is all about taste. But I’m am curious to hear what kind of frameworks you guys use in your applications.