CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) is one of the most important tools in any website designers toolkit. In fact, without CSS, website design simply can’t function. Website designing has gone through massive changes over time, and HTML and CSS have come a long way. With the introduction of HTML 5 and CSS 3, website design has moved to another level. Today the expectation is that designs meet the demands of many different platforms and screen sizes. These programs have stepped up to the challenge. For example, CSS 3 introduced the concept of media queries to create responsive websites, simplifying the lives of web developers everywhere. Still, there are many challenges when it comes to website design, including speed, performance, modularity and responsiveness. Luckily, CSS Frameworks are here to address all these challenges!
CSS frameworks are becoming extremely popular for website designing. But what are they? CSS frameworks are sets of default CSS and HTML files that provide a great platform for create website design. Commonly included features in CSS frameworks are CSS resets, buttons, themes, plugins, and common layouts. They provide code so that you don’t need to write from scratch every time; give relief from cross browsers concern; help in creating responsive design, and offer great documentation to speed up development. Here is list of 12 active and maintained CSS frameworks for your next project. Enjoy!!!
Pure is a responsive, minimal and tiny CSS framework for all your needs. The entire set of modules clocks in at 3.8KB* minified and gzipped. This is an incredibly small size for a CSS framework. Pure builds on Normalize.css and provides layout and styling for native HTML elements, plus the most common UI components. It is crafted with mobile devices in mind, with every line of CSS being carefully considered. If you choose to only use a subset of these modules, you’ll save even more bandwidth. Pure has minimal styles and encourages you to write your application styles on top of it. It’s designed in such a way that it would make it easier to override styles. By adding a few lines of CSS, you can customize Pure’s appearance to work with your web project.
Materialize is a modern, responsive front-end framework based on Google’s Material Design. Material Design is a Design Language that strives to create a visual language for users that synthesizes the classic principles of good design with the innovation and possibility of technology and science. This framework goes the extra mile, enhancing animation for a smoother experience. It is a single underlying responsive system across all platforms that allows for a more unified user experience. Materialize has nearly 27000 stars on GitHub, making it the hottest CSS based material framework on the web.
Layers CSS is a lightweight, unobtrusive and style-agnostic CSS framework aimed for practical use cases. It comes with a small footprint and zero fluff. The estimated size is 7.6kb minified and gzipped. It also provides customized downloads which allow you to customize the font sizes for CSS style before you download it. It features:
- Normalizations & sensible defaults
- Fluid grid + progressively enhanced columns
- Preserves native form styles by default
- No px definitions
- No colors, no borders, no rounded corners
- No dependencies
Mobi.css is a lightweight, scalable, mobile-first CSS framework. The size of this framework is a mere 3kb after gzipped. The standard version provides the basic styles for building elegant web pages. Mobi.css is scalable because it supprts plug ins that allow you to enhance the Mobi.css. The beauty of these plugins is that they can also stand alone and be used without Mobi.css. Mobi is designed for mobile, but also works well on desktop devices.
Mini.css is a minimal, responsive and style-agnostic CSS framework. Mini.css is designed with both desktops and mobile devices in mind. All of its components are well-tested on different devices and will respond to any changes in the viewport, allowing for an experience tailored to each user’s device. Mini.css uses modules as its base building blocks. Each module contains components that affect parts of the user experience.
Mini.css is written using Sass, a very popular CSS pre-processor. This makes code modular, reusable and optimized. It is designed in such a way that customization is really simple. Mini.css also comes with a customizable flavour system, allowing you to create your own custom design and personalize your websites any way you want.
Bulma is a modern, responsive and modular CSS framework based on Flexbox. Flexbox is a layout technique for aligning and distributing space for items in a container where the size of items is unknown or dynamic. The primary feature of flex container is the ability to change the width/height of items to accommodate them in the best possible given the space available. It is modular as it provides options to import what you need. It consists of 29 SASS files that you can import individually. Bulma works well with the all modern browsers except IE. In fact, IE 10+ is only partially supported by this Framework.
Concise is a lightweight, design oriented and easy to use CSS framework that provides a number of great features without the bloat. Concise CSS provides a solid foundation for stylizing your website. It offers an alternative to frameworks like Bootstrap and Foundation, but it only includes the minimum number of styles required. The core of the framework only includes styles for native HTML elements. Components and utilities are provided as optional add-ons, Concise UI and Concise Utils, respectively.
Concise CSS is written using a custom CSS pre-processor, built on top of Sass and some PostCSS plugins. This means that you can still write Sass code as usual, but you can also enjoy other custom features.
Spectre.css is a lightweight, flexbox based, responsive and modern CSS framework for faster and extensible development. Spectre provides basic styles for typography and elements, a flexbox based responsive layout system, CSS components and utilities with best practice coding and consistent design language. It can also be modified for your project with LESS compiler. Spectre only includes modern base styles.
Blaze CSS is an open source, responsive, modular and lightweight CSS framework for providing great structure for speeding up website development. Blaze is different from other frameworks as it fills the gap between the monolithic frameworks (Bootstrap) and micro frameworks.
Milligram provides a minimal style setup for a fast and clean starting point. Just 2kb gzipped! Specially designed for better performance and higher productivity with fewer properties to reset, resulting in cleaner code. Milligram is meant for modern applications. The grid system is based on FlexBox, sizes and lengths use the rem unit. Milligram officially supports the newest versions of Chrome, Firefox, IE, Safari, and Opera.
Vital CSS is a minimally invasive CSS framework for modern web applications. It is a reverse approach to the “everything and the kitchen sink” mindset. Here are some of the main features:
- Flexible – It is built with Sass, the preferred CSS pre-processor of today. This makes it flexible to customize.
- Readable – No unnecessary amount of classes or nesting. No excessively buried code.
- Scalable – Written almost entirely in em values, allowing for easy and consistent scaling.
- Lightweight – Only 6KB after gzipped.
- Less is more – Vital is built on the principal that less is more. It doesn’t include an unnecessary amount of bloat. It also helps in maintaining the code for the future because there is less to learn and maintain.
Base is a lightweight, minimal, rock solid and responsive HTML/CSS Framework. It is crafted for mobile-first to ensure it works with all devices big, small and in-between. Base includes a precompiled stylesheet which covers all the core ingredients such as typography, headings, lists, forms and more to get you started on your next web project. It features:
- Solid Foundation – Built on top of Normalize 4 to ensure all basic styles are set and consistent
- Cross Browser -Perfected to work with older browsers such as IE8+ and modern browsers
- Modular Code -Built with independent modules so you can include what you want and make it yours.
- Automation Sensation -Includes a GulpJS config to automate your workflow from build to go-live.
To conclude, this post gives you an insight of some awesome CSS framework that you can start using right away. These frameworks are modern, lightweight, modular, responsive and cross browser compatible. CSS Frameworks are great tools to help overcome the challenges of website design. They help you to create great design with a consistent theme across the website and save development time while you’re at it. With the number of CSS frameworks available, choosing a right one is a bit tricky. Each framework has its advantages, and it’s up to you to figure out which will best suit your needs considering parameters like speed, performance, cross browser compatibility, simplicity and, of course, whether it is actively maintained or not.