Bootstrap is a popular and powerful front-end framework for responsive and mobile first projects. To help front-end developers learn how to use it, Aquent Gymansium recently released a free, online course on Bootstrap, Grid Layout in Bootstrap 3.0, as part of its Gym Shorts series.
For the benefit of the curious, we asked Jeremy Osborn, the course instructor a few questions about the course.
Who is the ideal student for this course?
The primary audience consists of people who want to prototype responsive websites quickly and easily. It's more for designers than developers, though developers new to Bootstrap will definitely learn something.
What does the course aim to teach people?
Bootstrap is essentially a system that allows you to mock up websites. While its good at both production and prototyping, this course is focused on prototyping. Specifically, I wanted to teach people how to use Bootstrap to create and prototype grid layouts for responsive sites.
Why did you choose to focus on Bootstrap 3.0?
Bootstrap 3.0 is great because it is extremely popular. That means the code for it is well maintained and constantly updated. Furthermore, the current version builds responsive websites for mobile and tablet by default, which fits perfectly with the "mobile first" direction of web design and development today.
How is Bootstrap 3.0 different from early versions?
The efficiency of the code is getting better all the time. For example, with responsive websites, you have to be very careful about page size otherwise people with slower connections, such as those using smart phones, will have a hard time downloading it. Bootstrap's efficient code keeps page size under control. Beyond that, Bootstrap is really fast and fun to use it. You can test ideas quickly, experiment, and just play around with it. As odd as that might sound, it's really a very playful system!
What are 3 important lessons you want students to take away from the course?
- Bootstrap 3.0 is just a starting point. You can do an awful lot with the built in components, but to really take advantage of the system, you still need to know some HTML and CSS.
- The framework for Bootstrap 3.0 is mobile first. It really encourages you to design for mobile. A lot of designers are used to designing for the desktop. They will start with the desktop version of a site and then modify that for mobile. But Bootstrap 3.0 goes from mobile to desktop and thus really encourages mobile first design, which is critical in a world where phones and tablets are increasingly the "first screen."
- Really take the time to experiment with Bootstrap, to play around with it and create different layouts. It’s very easy to get painted into a corner and decide, “This is the design we’re going with” without considering your options. The truth is you have options and in three hours with Bootstrap you can churn out a dozen different layouts. And you don’t have to be afraid of the code, because Bootstrap 3.0 does a lot of it for you.