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Bootstrap vs Material UI: An In-depth Comparison [2024]

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20th Sep, 2022
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Bootstrap vs Material UI: An In-depth Comparison [2024]

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.

Material UI vs Bootstrap is a popular debate that has been going on for a long while to understand the key differences between the two. 

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

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

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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How do dependencies affect the performance of Material and Bootstrap? 

Let’s understand the difference between Material UI vs 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. 

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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! 

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What is the Right Time to Use Bootstrap?

Bootstrap vs Material UI is a popular debate. Among the most popular UI frameworks for developers right now, one of the top frameworks is Bootstrap. It provides an excellent selection of themes and is equipped with everything needed to take on new web design projects in a reasonable amount of time.

The Bootstrap framework is made for experienced developers and novice programmers lacking extensive design or coding abilities. Even inexperienced developers may use Bootstrap to get up to speed quickly and create attractively designed websites. It calls for the bare minimum in terms of design expertise, vision, and innovation.

Anyone with rudimentary design abilities may create a responsive website thanks to the abundance of features without the need to write every line of code manually. Simply choose your preferred theme, pay, download it, and begin customising it as you choose.

Although Bootstrap appears to be the ideal tool for creating websites and online applications, it does have a few shortcomings, like – 

  • The framework is heavy compared to others – Bootstrap uses HTML and CSS, which generally makes the website heavier than usual. However, there is a solution to this problem. When you create a lightweight website with Bootstrap, you must let go of all the useless components, this is a process that is time-consuming but effective. 
  • It is very consistent – Bootstrap was created to make the work of web developers easier; however, the problem with it is that it makes every bootstrap website look similar. Bootstrap does not have much space for customization. 

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What is the right time to use Material UI?

Bootstrap vs Material UI is a question that still bothers developers. While Material UI is dedicated to allowing developers to create the finest UI/UX they can think of, Bootstrap’s main goal is to assist developers in quickly creating responsive websites.

Material UI is incredibly responsive and mobile-friendly. However, it strives to achieve significant interactions among design components, transitions, and animations that flow together naturally to create an exact duplicate of what is possible in reality.

It is based on creating responsive user-surface interactions that feel more natural than ever before and offers a design platform with a set of principles for any kind of complicated design.

By following the set rules, developers may more quickly access the system and blend subtle movements with striking colours to create aesthetically appealing content. Even though Material UI is one of the better Bootstrap replacements, it still has certain shortcomings.

  • It is more comprehensive – Material UI has certain guidelines and rules that are perfect for dealing with all problems related to design. The comprehensive nature of Material UI may contain some complex specifications, difficult to understand for beginners; however, they have some of the best design solutions. 
  • Material UI may not be intuitive – Intuitive designing is very important for developers. The web design must be easy to understand, and users must be able to navigate through it easily. Every intuitive design must serve a purpose, including all the buttons and icons. While Material UI has been proven to be very useful, it still cannot help with intuitive designs, which can be a huge setback for developers. 

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.

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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 Executive PG Program 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.


Rohan Vats

Blog Author
Software Engineering Manager @ upGrad. Passionate about building large scale web apps with delightful experiences. In pursuit of transforming engineers into leaders.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1What are the merits of the Bootstrap framework in Front-end development?

Bootstrap is a versatile open-source toolkit for developing web pages for an application. It was developed by Twitter and hosted on GitHub, and its goal is to create interfaces and uniformly maintain them. It saves a lot of developers’ time by providing ready-made components. It requires a basic understanding of HTML and CSS, making it simple to use. It has features that make the application easily adaptable to smaller screens using responsive components. Bootstrap follows a mobile-first approach and is compatible with most web browsers like Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Edge, etc. It employs reusable components to provide a consistent design and supports Jquery plugins.

2How is Bootstrap 4 different from Bootstrap 5?

Bootstrap has a large community of GitHub contributors, which provides a fast development process to the toolkit. Bootstrap 4 had a four-tier grid system, whereas Bootstrap provides a five-tier grid system. Bootstrap 4 used to have limited colors, whereas Bootstrap 5 has added extra colors with the components’ styles. Bootstrap 4 had jQuery support with all its plugins, whereas Bootstrap 5 removed jQuery and shifted to Vanilla JavaScript with some working plugins. Bootstrap 4 didn’t allow the developers to modify the utilities, whereas, in Bootstrap 5, developers can both create and modify the utilities. Bootstrap 4 didn’t have its SVGs, whereas Bootstrap 5 provided its SVGs. Bootstrap 4 used to have jumbotron, but it was discontinued from Bootstrap 5.

3What are the merits of Material designs in Front-end development?

Material designs are a system of design patterns developed by Google in 2014. It provides various design implementations, grid guidelines, color, space, typography, scale, and more. Material Design offers pre-defined solutions for different design situations and problems. It provides extensive and detailed documentation and a set of guidelines that makes Material Designs a favorite for UI developers. It provides flexibility as designers have the freedom to choose from different design elements and decide how to implement them. Its design layouts are considered more intuitive than the flat design systems that Apple previously provided. Material designs are the most compatible design solutions for mobile applications and are gaining popularity.