Bootstrap vs Material UI: An In-depth Comparison [2021]

Bootstrap and Material UI are named amongst the most reliable web app development frameworks today. While Bootstrap is known for its consistent user experience, full-proof documentation and high-speed development, Material UI is lauded for the artistic freedom it offers developers while creating unique, stylish and modern-looking apps. 

This article is a detailed comparison of Bootstrap and Material UI. 

Let’s quickly look at the two frameworks and move on to exploring the differences between Bootstrap and Material UI. 

What is Material UI?

Before we define Material UI, let’s first understand what Material Design is. 

Material Design is a set of principles or guidelines or, as it is commonly called, a “design language” that was developed by Google by expanding on Google Now’s Cards. It takes you through every element of website designing and tells you how best you can design your website. This includes explaining the use of buttons, animations, the various placement angles, etc. 

Being a mobile-first language, it offers a simplistic and high-quality user experience without any dependency on JavaScript frameworks. It uses its own material design framework that offers enhanced flexibility, customizability and creative freedom. 

Material UI, on the other hand, is a React-based framework that adheres to Material Design in its applications. It is a React component library that is used by the likes of Amazon, Unity, NASA, to name a few.

What is Bootstrap?

Bootstrap is an open-source, mobile-first front-end web development framework that is based on CSS and HTML. It is also dependent on jQuery plugins of the Javascript framework. 

Bootstrap was originally called Twitter Blueprint when Twitter’s Mark Otto and Jacob Thornton developed it. It was released as an open-source platform in 2011 to reduce inconsistencies in web application development. There is extensive support provided to developers through its community and its excellent documentation. 

Since Bootstrap doesn’t follow any design rules, it gives users ample freedom to use and customise as they wish. This is especially a great option for experienced developers looking for a powerful framework for creating fast and responsive web applications. 

AirBnB, Coursera, Dropbox, and Apple Music are among the top companies using Bootstrap.

Read: Web Designing Project Ideas & Topics

How do Bootstrap and Material differ in terms of design process and components? 

  1. Material UI sticks to the principles of Material Design, which has information for how each component will be used. There are a number of components (fewer than Bootstrap) that set the basic layout of the UI on top of which developers implement their designs. Each component has a dynamic, eye catching style by default and can be animated. It uses Gulp in its design processes.
  2. Bootstrap uses Grunt and has an advanced grid system that is extremely flexible and highly responsive. Material Design also has a grid system but is comparatively less advanced. Bootstrap includes offsets, column wrapping, offsets, and numerous other features.
  3. Bootstrap is compatible with a number of third-party components. However, Material Design doesn’t support compatibility with any third party component. 
  4. In terms of appearance, Material is a lot more dynamic and appealing when compared to Bootstrap’s standard design. However, users can take their pick from the many themes Bootstrap has. 
  5. Material Design uses eye catching animation, sliders, pop ups, etc in its UI whereas Bootstrap doesn’t stress on these elements in its design. Instead, it uses minimalism in design and boldness in information organisation to provide easy information to users. 
  6. The base font of Material is Roboto whereas for Bootstrap, it is Helvetica Neue.

How do dependencies affect the performance of Material and Bootstrap? 

Since Bootstrap is an extensive framework and has a ton of features, it depends heavily on the Javascript framework (especially jQuery plugins) and other CSS classes. This results in a large app size, performance getting hampered, battery draining, and pages loading slowly. Developers can make their apps lightweight by getting rid of extra weight in the form of unnecessary components. 

As we have already mentioned before, Material UI is not dependent on any JavaScript frameworks for its libraries and plugins. Since it runs a set of React-based components and is entirely CSS, each component functions independently of another. Everything you need to use in your design is present in the framework.

How is browser compatibility in Bootstrap and Material UI?

Both Material and Bootstrap support seamless browser compatibility with Chrome, Internet Explorer 10+, Firefox, Opera and Safari Mobile. In addition to this, Bootstrap is also compatible with IE 8. 

React Bootstrap and Angular UI Bootstrap are the frameworks supported by Bootstrap whereas in the case of Material Design, it is Angular Material and React Material UI. While both frameworks use the SASS preprocessor, only Bootstrap supports LESS languages. 

How does Bootstrap Documentation compare with Material UI Documentation?  

Since Bootstrap is open-sourced, there is ample help in regard with code documentation. Thus, it is obvious that Bootstrap’s documentation and support is top-notch. 

Components in Material Design are straightforward and easy to use since Material is based on the BEM (Block, Element, Modifier) methodology. However, Material UI’s support suffers because it is limited. This is also partly because Material UI is relatively new. 

Is development faster on Bootstrap or Material UI?

Since Bootstrap is loaded with features and UI components, developers have access to plenty of design elements like buttons, tabs, tables, navigation, etc. This doesn’t take much effort on a developer’s part who can cater to an app’s design and functionality efficiently. There is also access to design templates and themes online. Thus, development on Bootstrap doesn’t take a lot of time. 

Material UI is already packed with UI components which gives developers all they need to develop an amazing application in a small period of time. However, Bootstrap’s accessibility makes development significantly faster as compared to Material. 

Customization in Material UI and Bootstrap

Bootstrap applications are markers of consistency when it comes to customisation. Bootstrap’s initiative to launch it as an open-source framework was for this very reason – to maintain consistency across its applications. Therefore, even though Bootstrap’s apps are vastly different, the user experience remains the same on all of them. 

The case with Material UI is that, even though app building follows the principles of Material Design, they are implemented in a unique manner by all web app developers. Thus, Material-based applications are uniquely customised and have a distinctly modern interface, but the consistency in user experience is lacking.

Material Design Bootstrap (mdbootstrap)

You may be interested to know that it is possible for users to get the best of both Material Design and Bootstrap. The combo is known as Material Design bootstrap or mdbootstrap. This will allow you to bring together responsiveness, high-speed development and app adaptability to different resolutions.  

mdbootstrap is based on bootstrap, Vue, Angular, React while adhering to the principles of Material design. There isn’t a learning curve as such and there are several other features of Bootstrap and Material that mdbootstrap inherits for a consistent user experience. So, yeah, it’s not a bad deal at all! 

Also Read: MEAN Stack Project Ideas for Beginners

Bootstrap vs Material UI: Which is the right development framework for you?

When it comes to app designing, it’s usually the stunning visuals and practicality in usage that make app development successful.

Having looked at the various parameters of Bootstrap and Material  UI, we can conclude that Bootstrap is highly responsive, offers better support and makes app development faster. 

Material Design, on the other hand, is aesthetically brilliant with its animations and design styles. Both are likely to find uses in different or the same domains. After all, in the end, it’s all about your requirement. However, if you still can’t decide, there is one another option for you – mdbootstrap.

If you’re interested to learn more about full-stack software development, check out upGrad & IIIT-B’s PG Diploma in Full-stack Software Development which is designed for working professionals and offers 500+ hours of rigorous training, 9+ projects and assignments, IIIT-B Alumni status, practical hands-on capstone projects & job assistance with top firms.

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