What is Bootstrap? – The History and the Hype: Part 1 of 2

What is Bootstrap? If you own a website, you’ve probably seen the word “Bootstrap” while skimming through articles about web-design and development. You may have also overheard the word “Bootstrap” being tossed around by web-designers at coffee shops and bars around the world. These people know what Bootstrap is and the enormous benefits that it brings web-development world. But do you know why insisting on using the Bootstrap framework for your website is a smart choice?

In this 2 Part Series, I’ll go over the history of Bootstrap, what is Bootstrap exactly, along with several reasons why incorporating Bootstrap in your next website project is a great move.

History of Bootstrap

In 2011, Bootstrap was created as an internal solution to solve developing inconsistencies within Twitter’s engineering team. Basically, there was no set code-structure in the way that engineers at Twitter chose to develop the platform.

Web-developing and web-engineering is a craft, many would say it’s an art, and each engineer has their own way of doing things. That works in some cases, but when there are multiple engineers working on the same project with slightly different coding approaches, inconsistencies are inevitable. Inconsistencies in web-engineering can simmer and evolve into deep rooted coding issues that create uncertainty and increase maintenance time. Bootstrap was a tool originally developed by (now former) Twitter engineers Mark Otto and Jacob Thorton as an attempt to encourage Twitter’s engineering team to use the same framework to minimize those inconsistencies. Needless to say, the Bootstrap initiative succeeded at Twitter as the entire team worked faster, more efficiently and with fewer inconsistencies.

Although it started as an internal solution at Twitter, Mark and Jacob quickly realized that they were on to something much greater. In August of 2011, the Bootstrap framework was released as an open-source project on Github. Within the next few months thousands of developers around the world contributed to the code and Bootstrap became the most active open-source development project in the world. Since then, Bootstrap has only gained in notoriety and has become “the most popular front-end framework for developing responsive, mobile first projects on the web”

So…What the heck is Bootstrap?

Put simply, Bootstrap is a collection of various, customizable web-design elements and functions all pre-packaged together in one tool. When designing a website with Bootstrap, developers can pick and choose which elements to use. More importantly, they can feel confident knowing that the elements they chose will not conflict with each other. It’s like having a puzzle, except that each puzzle-piece fits perfectly with the next, no matter what you choose.

These customizable elements contained within Bootstrap are a combination of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Thanks to the beauty of open-source, Bootstrap is constantly being improved. It has added a variety of awesome functions such as 100% total mobile responsiveness and feature-rich jQuery plugin selections.

In August of 2013, two years after the original release, Bootstrap 3 shipped out. This latest version has a new design, better error handling, enhanced customization options and many more goodies that make developers jump for joy.

It’s true that PrestaShop loves the Bootstrap framework. Our newest version, PrestaShop 1.6, is developed completely with Bootstrap 3. A few months ago, Mark Otto shared his insights about PrestaShop, Bootstrap and the Ecommerce industry in this video.

All of this translates to good news for developers and website owners alike. Stay tuned for Part 2 as I’ll answer the big question, why should you insist on a Bootstrap framework for your website? Thanks for reading and be sure to share your thoughts about PrestaShop and Bootstrap in the comments below.


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