We are a startup building an ERP platform. It has lots of screens (10-15) and will be a browser first application. We are a team of 3 and our skillset is mostly javascript specifically Angular. We outsourced the UI/UX design and the person we hired did a fabulous job. The next step is coding (writing HTML/CSS) that design. One of the prospective hires is saying that he wants to use Bootstrap grid layout and he will use a plugin for calendar and accordian and the rest of the styling will be all his. I am trying to decide if that is the correct approach.

When I research on google, there are lots of articles suggesting that one should write their own CSS from scratch. That way you know everything and control everything. I have also read that bigger development shops have their own grid layout coded that they use as a base. I see no harm in him using Bootstrap just for the grid layout (since the rest of the styling is ours) but not having the technical background in HTML/CSS i feel unsure If i have considered all the points or not.

Thank you so much in advance.

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    Who cares? Use whatever you want, just make sure the experience holds up. – plainclothes Mar 30 '16 at 1:48
  • While the question is about implementantion, the UX angle is very obvious, I don't think anyone can really consider a framework vs custom coding (and all its implicancies for usability) a "non UX question" in real life, come on, it's like the definition of UX problem!!! – Devin Mar 30 '16 at 15:23

While the answer is not the same for all cases, in your specific case I'd recommend to go with a framework. It seems you're hiring people external to your team, so there are several compelling reasons to go this path, including:

  • Speed: Same as you won't write your own programming language every time you need to code something, frameworks give you a base to start from and speed things up.
  • Reliability: Common frameworks are already tested by millions of users. They have gone through the full testing and debugging process, so you know its elements are proven and you can use them "out of the box" in most cases.
  • Scalability: Since frameworks are constantly updated in order to adapt to new developments, you can be reasonably sure that any further development in your language of choice (e.g. AngularJS) will probably be covered in a framework update.
  • Security: You won't need to worry about faulty scripting, injections or holes in your coding.
  • Sustainability: If you stopped working with your coder, another coder would be able to take from where the original coder left off.
  • Adaptability: While frameworks have the advantage of having many elements pre-defined, it's also true you can choose to use a given set of those elements and/or modify these elements at will.

Please note that this doesn't mean that in all cases a framework will be better than custom coding. But it just seems to make sense in your specific case.

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Do you have enough time and resources to create all the various elements like "Accordions" etc from scratch? That too for Angular?

If yes, Go for custom code (you can use Node JS tools like griderator or Autogrid)

If no, go ahead with bootstrap, just make sure you use some wonderful build tools like Gulp JS to concatenate, minify, auto-prefix etc your framework code. In this way, you can speed up while maintaining the sanity of code

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Assumptions: Since you are a startup that means you need things in fast pace and with quality.

Advantage :

-- Fast development with responsive layout

-- Reliable/secure and tested framework with great community support

-- Very less learning curve, you can learn it while doing


-- Poor planning may create css bloating

-- Non semantics naming convention(Don't know if it matters to you but you will get used to of it once you start working in bootstrap)

-- Unnecessary files and plugins comes by defaults (but you can customise)

Here is my take:

-- Use it for creating grids only and create your own theme

-- Customise as per your need, there is a link on their website for it

-- You can also override default framework files(but i won't recommend)

-- Even if you write your own css(theme) use Less or Saas

Estimate efforts for handmade code vs framework. I personally feel if it is 10-15 page website(desktop only) with few plugins(calendar/accordion, you may go with hand made code.

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