To hell with what critics have to say about CSS frameworks

written by aext on March 9, 2012 in Web Development with 2 comments

Pardon me for my words but I am very much fed of what all I have been reading about CSS frameworks. Some call CSS frameworks as piece of art that helps web designers, while others call CSS frameworks as reason behind the stalled growth of a web designer. I noticed that each such “expert” critic was missing the basic fact. They did not consider the mind-set of a web designer and why a CSS framework might just be a boon for his business.

What is CSS Framework?

For those (especially web designers) living under a rock, a CSS framework is a set of HTML and CSS files that can be used as the base for any new website design. As a web designer, you will clearly understand that at some point of time you will have to use IDs and classes to add flare to your web designs. Once a web designer is loaded with work then he understands the pain behind re-doing the basic work over and over again. Would you want to re-write the basic structure of any website before you actually start coding down your real idea? Of course no! This is when a CSS framework (pre-built basic structure that you require) comes as a saviour.

Stop calling CSS Frameworks a crutch!

Isn’t “crutch” the word that has been used multiple times by most of the writers when they talk about CSS frameworks? Well, to an extent CSS frameworks end up making life easy for a web designer, but you cannot compare CSS frameworks with a support system that oldies use. I mean, man, c’mon! A crutch is a support system used by a lame person in order to support his/her body.

A CSS framework is the pre-written piece of code that can be used by an expert web designer to save time and a not-so-expert web designer to create a website in order to earn some quick bucks. What is so wrong in both the situations? People are using CSS frameworks for their benefits and everyone is happy. Can’t the critics look for another topic? Please?

CSS Frameworks aren’t overly bloated!

I have heard critics call (and rightly so in few cases) CSS frameworks as bloated with lot of unused code. Well, they might be true to some extent. Third party CSS frameworks are loaded with huge amount of code that can be used as and when necessary. An average web designer ends up using only a quarter of the CSS framework’s code while the rest sticks with the overall website for no use.

One might argue that such code ends up slowing down the website but I really don’t think so. Are we still stuck in the age of dial ups? Almost everyone out there is using an Internet connection which is faster than 22 Kbps and I guess few KBs of your extra CSS code won’t kill the experience. Lastly, if it is really doing so then you have two options.

  • Compress (or minify as they call it) the CSS code.
  • Use an online tool to optimize your CSS. One such tool that is already installed in your laptop is the Chrome browser. What? You haven’t started to use Chrome yet? Are you nuts? Go, get it! Once you have Google’s Chrome web browser installed then follow the instructions given below.

How to use Google’s Chrome to compress CSS?

Follow the below steps to understand the usage of CSS in your website using Google’s Chrome:

  • Right click on your website once it is loaded completely and then from the menu chose for “Inspect Elements.”
  • From the horizontal menu in the footer that opens below click on Audit.

  • Now, click on Run button and see the results. You should be greeted with all the data that you have been looking for.

Wrapping it up..

Well, at the end of the day it’s you who makes the decision. You can be the die-hard web designer who would want to chisel his way through by cutting a rock or you could be the short-cut lover who would want to use a broken home to furnish it back. It solely depends on the purpose and the end results. Weigh the requirements before you make your move.