I love Foundation. I love making my own as I have done mostly for email builds in this “current era” (they are so 1998 as hell). However, prior to the web-standards and then the responsive revolutions of recent past, things were hand built. But the need to systemization simply mandated that things being re-invented, not be reinvented. And Bootstrap is fine too. And so is Skeleton, however let’s step back a bit. Let’s think about what “framework” means.
- an essential supporting structure of a building, vehicle, or object.“a conservatory in a delicate framework of iron”
So let’s set some limits based on that google definition. We’re working in the land of abstract objects; text, images, DOM’s, and so on. So, when a framework is thought about, what can it be? The fervor for frameworks in web development centralizes on layout and positioning. No problem. But, there’s a tone more applicable here. I believe it’s probably human nature to not be too repetitive in the realm of work. So in web dev, reinventing every page, template or email isn’t any more sensible than reinventing the wheel. Extrapolating then, anything that is used to reduce effort and/or sequenced steps is a framework. For me, then, WordPress or (ugh,) Drupal? Those are frameworks. So is a nice cloning plugin for wordpress widgets. So is _underscores. Essentially, the potential for something to be a framework never ends. It just depends on what repetitive tasks you’re dealing with. Oh, and so SASS and LESS stuff is a framework to. Heck, might as well say that php is too since that’s a preprocessor too.
Yet visual degredations are the most visible issue to mandate a framework. how many developers need to hassle about a 32px or a 553 px gutter? None. Make that sh*t a standard for the project, and move on with the other more important issues.
Cavet Emptor (yes!) – In very real terms, Frameworks are bloat. If you’re that one-handed do it all freelancer, you don’t need a commercial open-source framework. Build your own lean machine. However, as we come together to revision our repositories in teams and across oceans, do use that Bootstrap. Do use that Foundation. But know that the compromise is bloat, yet the bloat is worth it. The bloat is requisite. The bloat also replaces personal responsibility which is a good thing given the firehose of professional web development. Most dev’s aren’t going to come into a project carte blanche. A framework will be there (or if there is no framework, that there is a job walked into that is not fun). It’s Akin to a batch process or Action in Photoshop. It’s akin to a repository on Github for that matter. Why deal with the tedium. Why build the wheel again and again. We can talk about task runners here too, because those are frameworks in a sense as well.
Ultimately, many of us created our own frameworks many times over, and of those, looks like Bootstrap became emperor, Foundation, and even Skeleton. Also consider Jekyll as a frame work. But wait, there’s more! Consider WordPress a framework. Why not? It does so much in advance of you, the developer. No need to recall a float or a margin. Just go “col-sm-3 col-md-3 space-bot-md” and that’s the end of recall. And that’s totally fine.