When it comes to software development, we often hear the word ‘framework.’ Generally, there are two different categories of frameworks in computer programming – backend and frontend. But what exactly is a framework?
Through this article, we will introduce you briefly to a framework in web development and the various types of frameworks. Later, we shall see some key factors that you need to consider while choosing the best framework for developing interactive websites. Finally, we will introduce you to the top 10 extensively used HTML frameworks.
So, without further ado, let’s get started!
What is a Framework?
A framework, in general, is a foundation or basic structure for developing something on top of it, making the basic structure more useful. In computer programming, a framework is a foundational structure for building various software applications. Alternatively, we can define a framework as a template consisting of various tools and modules that ease the software development process.
While surfing the web, we often come across various websites that have a homogenous structure but are not exactly the same. A framework offers a common structure, helping web developers to create responsive websites without the need to create everything from scratch.
Therefore, a framework helps developers save a lot of their time and effort by making the fundamental structure for websites readily available. Alternatively, you can refer to the framework as a pre-prepared standard kit to start developing websites or web applications.
Frontend frameworks manage the look and feel of web applications or websites to offer a great user experience to visitors. On the contrary, backend frameworks control a website’s application logic, database, payment methods, and server and security configurations.
How to Choose the Right Framework?
With a myriad of frameworks available, it becomes pretty challenging to choose the one that best fits your project requirements. Below are some common factors to take into account while choosing a framework:
- Installation Speed: There are many frameworks that require a lot of time to configure. Make sure the framework you pick is easy to install and set up.
- Options: Select a framework that provides a variety of interface options, widgets, and configuration options. Using such a framework helps in developing a more responsive website.
- Support: Opting for a framework that offers support is always beneficial. Before selecting a framework, make sure that it has active community support to help you during the project development.
In addition, you must think of the following questions before choosing any framework for your projects:
- Is the framework open-source?
- Is good documentation available?
- Does it offer security and protection features?
- Are there any options for default unit testing systems?
- Is it user-friendly and ideal for beginners?
If you consider all these questions, you will be able to select a framework that best suits your requirements.
10 Best Responsive HTML Frameworks
Here is a curated list of top HTML frameworks that can help you in building responsive web applications and websites:
Bootstrap contains JavScript-based and CSS-based design templates for forms, buttons, typography, and many other interface components. It supports all modern and significant browsers, such as Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Opera, Safari, etc.
Foundation for Sites is packed with exceptional features and functionalities to help web developers build content-based websites quickly and efficiently.
On the other hand, Foundation for Emails enables users to produce responsive HTML emails. These emails can be read from anywhere and from any device. Moreover, it assists users to assess how clients are using HTML and offer various tested patterns compatible with Outlook.
As Foundation is a customizable framework, it enables developers to add or delete various elements, define columns’ sizes, colors, font sizes, etc. Moreover, Advanced Foundation allows developers to learn XY grid skills and automate tasks using ZURB’s build system.
Skeleton is also an open-source and lightweight HTML framework developed by Dave Gamache. This framework is ideal for those working on small projects that do not need extensive functionalities. Skeleton does not come with a wide variety of components as Bootstrap or Foundation. Instead, it only provides basic CSS rules, helping beginners to kick-start their projects.
This framework supports all major browsers, including Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, and Opera. Furthermore, Dave Gamache developed Skeleton using Sublime Text and designed using Sketch. Skeleton 2.0 supports two extensions, Skeleton on LESS and Skeleton on SaaS.
One of the best characteristics of Skeleton is its grid system. It consists of the mobile-first 12-column grid system consisting of rows and columns. Furthermore, utilities in Skeleton are packed with predefined patterns and styles. Therefore, this framework assists developers to produce responsive web pages effortlessly.
This robust framework incorporates various components, such as Google Analytics snippets, a mobile-friendly HTML template, and a touch-device icon. In addition, developers can benefit from Normalize.css, a cutting-edge alternative to CSS resets that fixes the most common bugs in projects.
This framework is free to download and is open-source. It supports different browsers, like the Internet Explorer 10+ and 9, Firefox 30+, Chrome 35.0+, and Safari 8+. Finally, it provides robust UI components, like navigation bars, buttons, responsive grid layout, scalable icons, and slideshow components.
Montage HTML5 Framework is an open-source HTML5 framework. This framework facilitates the development of single-page applications. Also, its principal objective is to simplify the development and maintainability of HTML5 applications.
Additionally, this framework enables users to combine different components and controllers’ properties, offer a great user experience by synchronizing DOM updates, and develop reusable UI components and modules. Moreover, users can access standard DOM interface components and opinionated UI components to create rich graphical user interfaces.
Montage HTML5 framework offers a variety of functions, such as serialization, string and value manipulation, etc. It also provides various tools, like Minit and initializer that offer developer-optimized experience. Additionally, it comes with a command-line tool that converts developer-optimized experience into Montage Optimizer, a user-optimized experience.
SproutCore is another blazing fast and open-source HTML framework that helps web developers build websites that offer innovative user experiences. Also, it allows the creation of web applications with advanced functionalities.
Some other features of SproutCore are auto spriting, build tools, MVC components, state charts, localization strategy, collection views, etc. SproutCore has built-in tools that make it easy for developers to build appealing websites.
Zebra is an open-source UI framework ideal that utilizes HTML5 canvas for rendering. It follows object-oriented programming principles. This framework utilizes HTML5 Canvas for rendering and offers a broad spectrum of UI components that work on various devices.
The User Interface (UI) of Zebra is quite different from other frameworks. It is not developed using CSS, DOM, or HTML. Instead, all UI components of Zebra are rendered from scratch. Users can develop responsive and interactive websites using Zebra, and also render any UI design. Also, it enables developers to create responsive and fully customized HTML templates.
This framework supports all major and latest browsers, such as Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Cordova, and Opera. Furthermore, it can seamlessly integrate with other applications, such as Adobe Animate and Zoe.
10. Onsen UI
Onsen UI is an open-source HTML5 mobile development framework that has helped thousands of PhoneGap and Cordova developers. It is one of the most useful and efficient frameworks enabling users to develop HTML5 hybrid and mobile web applications.
This framework incorporates an array of rich UI elements, such as side menu, tabs, stack navigation, etc., allowing web developers to use them for mobile web applications. In addition, beginners to Onsen UI can quickly learn using it as it provides numerous learning resources, like documentation, a community forum, and interactive tutorials.
HTML frameworks play a vital role in developing responsive websites in lesser time. Using these frameworks significantly reduces the repetitive programming tasks of web developers, which helps them save time and effort.
We have listed some popularly used HTML frameworks and discussed their key features. Also, all HTML frameworks are open-source and free to use. We hope we have covered some of the top HTML frameworks and recommend you to choose according to your project requirements.
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