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Bootstrap tutorial: Learn from Experts

Bootstrap is a coding buzzword among developers and one of the most popular frameworks for building responsive websites and web applications. Mark Otto and Jacob Thornton of Twitter developed it as a web development toolkit. The front-end framework comprises CSS and HTML-based design templates for forms, typography, tables, buttons, navigation models, and much more, enabling developers to build responsive and mobile-friendly websites efficiently.

Anyone with a basic knowledge of HTML and CSS can learn Bootstrap. This Bootstrap tutorial will explore the fundamentals of the web development framework and help beginners learn Bootstrap from scratch. 

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What is Bootstrap?

Bootstrap is an open-source HTML, CSS, and JavaScript front-end framework for the quick and easy development of responsive and mobile-first websites and web apps. A responsive website can automatically adjust itself to the user’s behaviour and environment based on the device screen size, orientation, and platform.

Since its launch in 2011, Bootstrap has evolved from a wholly CSS-driven framework to include a range of JavaScript plugins and icons. In addition, Bootstrap includes HTML and CSS-based design templates that let developers create user interface components such as navigation, forms, buttons, alerts, dropdowns, tabs, modals, carousels, and more. Bootstrap allows developers effortlessly create flexible and responsive web layouts with all these features. 

Things You Can Do With Bootstrap

To learn Bootstrap and get a better idea of its capabilities, here’s a list of some of the things you can achieve with the front-end framework:

  • Create responsive and mobile-first websites
  • Create various types of form layouts
  • Create a multi-column layout with pre-defined classes
  • Create variations of the navigation bar
  • Create components like modals and accordions without any JavaScript code
  • Create tooltips to show hint text
  • Create different types of alert boxes 
  • Create image sliders and carousels to showcase content

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What does the Bootstrap package include?

A Bootstrap package consists of the following:

  • Scaffolding:

    Bootstrap provides a fundamental structure comprising link styles, Grid System, and background.

  • Components:

    Bootstrap includes several reusable elements to easily add components such as dropdowns, alerts, navigations, lists, responsive tables and media objects, and more.

  • CSS:

    Bootstrap includes features of global CSS settings, an advanced grid system and fundamental HTML elements style.

  • Customise:

    Bootstrap components are customisable, letting developers customise LESS variables and jQuery plugins to suit individual styles.

  • JavaScript Plugins:

    Bootstrap also comes with several custom jQuery plugins.

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Bootstrap Basics

Now, we’ll look at some Bootstrap basics in this Bootstrap tutorial for beginners below:

Bootstrap file structure

Boostrap is available in two forms: a source code version and a precompiled version. You can download the Bootstrap 5 files from their official website. We’ll focus on the precompiled version here.

After you download the precompiled version and uncompressed the zip archive, you’ll see the following basic Bootstrap file structure:

The Bootstrap structure consists of precompiled and minified CSS and JavaScript files and uncompressed versions. It also includes Glyphicons fonts and the optional starting Bootstrap theme. You can easily incorporate the Bootstrap structure in your project’s file structure by including the Bootstrap files from the zip archive or rearranging and placing them where you like.

Basic Bootstrap HTML template

A web project typically looks like this:

Using Bootstrap, you simply add the link to the CSS stylesheet and the JavaScript. Now the web project looks like this:

A browser knows the type of document it can expect with the HTML5 Doctype declaration <!DOCTYPE html>

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Creating a web page with Bootstrap

To create a Bootstrap powered web page, you need the third-party library Popper.js for adding components like tooltips. Alternately, you can include Bootstrap JS bundled with Popper. Finally, you can benefit from lesser load time by adding Bootstrap to your project via Content Delivery Network (CDN).

Below are the steps to create a Bootstrap web page:

  1. Create a basic HTML file

Create a new HTML file on a code editor, type the following code, and save the file on your desktop.

  1. Make the HTML file a Bootstrap template

Include the Bootstrap CSS and JavaScript files (using their CDN links) to transform the plain HTML file into a Bootstrap template. Also, include JavaScript files before the closing </body> tag at the bottom of the page for improved webpage performance. Once you add the Bootstrap CSS and JavaScript files to your HTML page, you’re all set to create any responsive site or application.

Adding the integrity and crossorigin attributes to the CDN links implements subresource integrity (SRI), a security feature for mitigating the risk of attacks due to compromised CDNs. SRI ensures your website fetches files without malicious modifications by providing a cryptographic hash that the fetched files must match.

  1. Save and view the file

Now, save the bootstrap template file on your desktop with a .html extension since some text editors may otherwise automatically save it as a .txt file. To open the file on a web browser, you need to right-click on the file and select your browser of choice. You can also open the browser first and drag the file to it.

Advantages Of Using Bootstrap

Here are some of the advantages of using Bootstrap for modern web development.

  • Highly customisable: While Boostrap provides a host of templates, you can customise your own using the CSS file or use both the existing code and your customisation for enhanced functionality.
  • Responsive: With an overwhelming number of smartphone users worldwide, the need for mobile-friendly websites is more than ever. Bootstrap provides a fluid grid layout that adapts to the device screen for optimum responsiveness.
  • Easy initiation: Bootstrap makes web development coding hassle-free with sound knowledge and experience of CSS and HTML. Integrating Bootstrap on existing and new website is also a cakewalk.
  • Cross-browser compatibility: One of the biggest advantages of using Bootstrap is its compatibility with all modern platforms and browsers. With the versatility of Bootstrap, you can rest assured that your website will work across multiple browsers.
  • JavaScript plugins: Bootstrap packages come with a host of JavaScript plugins, making it easier to incorporate interactive web page features such as dropdown menus, sliders, tabs, etc. 
  • Community support and documentation: Bootstrap comes with top-notch community support and ample documentation to help developers in their journey to learn Bootstrap. Regular Bootstrap updates further enhance the user experience.

Conclusion

This Bootstrap tutorial deals with only a few fundamental concepts of the framework to give beginners an idea of Bootstrap. However, building a responsive front-end with Bootstrap is quick and easy with some more advanced concepts.

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Is Bootstrap easy to learn?

Bootstrap is flexible, easy to work with, and has a shallow learning curve. You can quickly learn Bootstrap with a moderate knowledge of CSS and HTML.

What is Bootstrap used for?

Bootstrap is a front-end framework for creating responsive and mobile-friendly websites and web apps. It supports JavaScript extensions and has a host of CSS and HTML templates for UI elements such as forms and buttons.

Do I need to know JavaScript to learn Bootstrap?

While JavaScript is not a prerequisite to learning Bootstrap, basic JavaScript knowledge will help you customise and create your interactive web elements.

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