For quite a while, Bootstrap has been a favorite for many WordPress developers. Bootstrap WordPress themes have become a common commodity in most marketplaces, and even the official repository.
In fact, “Bootstrap WordPress themes” has become almost a marketing buzzword. That said, is Bootstrap really the silver bullet when it comes to WP themes?
Discussing Bootstrap WordPress Themes
Question is, when should, and when should you not, use Bootstrap in your WordPress projects? This article will shed some light on the strong and weak aspects of Bootstrap WordPress themes to help you make a judicious choice.
Bootstrap WordPress Themes: Pros
Quite easily, the biggest advantage of using Bootstrap is that it can save a good deal of your time. You can rely on its predefined classes and templates, and put together a decent design even if you have only a basic understanding of HTML and CSS. Plus, you can also customize it to suit your needs, and tweak your designs accordingly.
Furthermore, Bootstrap is as consistent as it can be. Your work will look great across all devices and web browsers. Bootstrap is cross-browser compatible and rarely faces performance issues on this front.
However, the biggest and most obvious advantage that Bootstrap has to offer is its grid system. Its mobile-friendly grid system lets you work with different screen resolutions and sizes. In essence, the fluid grid ensures that anything you create is responsive right from its inception.
It is obvious that Bootstrap WordPress themes can leverage the fluid grid system to their advantage. Responsiveness? Check. Cross-browser compatibility? Check. Saving development time? Check.
Bootstrap WordPress Themes: Cons
On the downside — and there is no easy way to put it — Bootstrap WordPress themes tend to be pretty bloated in their own right. This has more to do with the very nature of Bootstrap: the easy availability of native classes means the code in itself becomes bulky.
Similarly, on account of the native classes and styles, Bootstrap’s output might not always be eye-candy. You will get HTML output that is fully functional and does the job well, but it may or may not be perfectly semantic.
Using Bootstrap for WordPress themes makes sense if you are short of time or resources, or both. If you are looking to quickly put together a WP theme and do not really care about the semantics, Bootstrap is the solution you need!
This has led to the rise in number of Bootstrap WordPress themes. Many developers/designers tend to rely on Bootstrap to quickly churn out one WP theme after another. With its responsive grid system and good documentation, Bootstrap is fairly easy to master.
However, Bootstrap is not the ideal pick for building a WordPress theme. While we do see a surge in the number of Bootstrap WordPress themes, it is not the best possible use of this otherwise awesome framework. When you build a WordPress theme with the help of Bootstrap, you are basically relying on the framework’s ability to easily put together a decent design for you.
This approach is functional but not sensible. WordPress has its own methodology for handling templates and CSS elements. When you rely on Bootstrap, you are basically overriding that methodology and insisting that your code should be structured in a manner that may not always blend with the standardized practices of WordPress.
To put it in easier words, when you build WP themes with Bootstrap, you do not really merely develop themes. Instead, you spend your time trying to inadvertently ensure that everything works well with Bootstrap’s predefined sets of grids and classes.
Thus, it can be concluded that Bootstrap is what you should use to put together a quick design. But that does not imply you should use it regularly for creating WordPress themes. It is a wiser idea to use a starter theme or a WP theme framework that is meant for the job.