Ditching Twitter Bootstrap

Until recently, my blog was using a fairly vanilla version of the CSS framework put together by the developers at Twitter, Bootstrap. It's a really full-featured framework that gives grids, headings, links, buttons, and all manner of form elements a clean and consistent design. You can see another example at the Alchemy Websockets site. I used it- as I think many people do- as a way to get a decent site deisgn up in a matter of minutes; one can download or clone the repository, and use as-is or tweak a few LESS variables and compile a new version complete with new colors and gradients.

I put a bit more work into the Alchemy site than I did on my blog; I originally was more concerned about setting up jekyll correctly and getting everything online than learning another layer of abstraction between me and my code. In fact, that's probably Bootstrap's greatest contribution to me - I learned more about LESS while tweaking link colors and gradient styles for Alchemy. I'm still not sold on the concept of CSS preprocessors on a wide-scale team use, but I'm experimenting with it on the new Neflaria site and hope to have a much more substantial recommendation once that project is complete (fingers crossed, June.)

As all bootstrapping frameworks must (or, should), the monotony eventually got to me. I only used about 10% of the features, and the design just didn't feel right if it wasn't either heavily customized or built from the ground-up. It is my blog, after all - and even if it'll take a little work to bring it back up to speed, to homogenize the components and get all the elements lined up correctly, it feels a little more like home now.

Related: subtlepatterns.com is amazing. Also, I'm a happy user of the 1140 grid which provides a fluid-ish responsive grid system.

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