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Bootstrap vs Vue - Comparing a CSS and JavaScript Framework

Tim Davidson
10 min read

Choosing the right tech stack is an important part of the web development process and the longevity of any website or application. There are countless frameworks and libraries available to choose from, and some are better suited to particular tasks than others. In this article, we will compare Bootstrap and Vue.js, two popular options for building and interface components.

A quick summary of differences between Bootstrap and Vue: Vue is a JavaScript framework that allows us to build interactive websites and application frontends, while Bootstrap simply provides predefined CSS classes for interface design and development.

Comparing Vue.js and Bootstrap is like apples and oranges. Vue is a JavaScript framework for building applications and the Bootstrap is a CSS framework for styling interfaces. Vue can use Bootstrap as its CSS framework, but it doesn't have to. Besides styling interfaces, Bootstrap can't do anything Vue can.

Another way of saying this is that Vue is concerned with the entire process - setting up the project, installing plugins, creating HTML elements, JavaScript logic, and also design. Bootstrap is concerned with just the design of user interfaces.

If you're unclear on Bootstrap, Vue, React, or what technology you should use for your project, then reach out to our team for an obligation-free chat. The worst that can happen is you get expert-backed advice.

What is Bootstrap?

Bootstrap is a large style sheet with predefined classes that govern website design: element positioning, size and appearance, responsiveness, and so on.

Bootstrap

Instead of spending hours making a website responsive, you can simply borrow predefined classes from Bootstrap.

Beginners and even some experienced front-end developers struggle with writing CSS code. Making changes to one element’s style can mess up the layout of the entire page, forcing you to go back and fix five other classes.

via GIPHY

Bootstrap is a CSS framework of classes (styles) that work well together.

Advantages of Bootstrap

Easy to implement

Bootstrap is easy to learn and simple to use - one person with strong Bootstrap skills can style an entire web application.

The same cannot be said for CSS. It’s easy to learn its basics but hard to master it completely. Styling a complex web application using CSS is not a one-person job, even if you’re very good. Small development teams are better off using a CSS framework like Bootstrap.

Good starting point

Bootstrap is great for quickly putting together a simple, functional design. This way, developers can focus on developing functionality of the app.

Responsive

Majority of people use smartphones to browse the internet. Implementing a responsive mobile first design is much easier with Bootstrap than CSS.

Thanks to the grid system, creating a responsive layout is as simple as applying a few predefined classes.

Consistent UI

Bootstrap makes it easy to design a consistent layout. It’s easy to predict how Bootstrap-styled components will look and display together.

Working within one framework makes it easy for multiple developers to collaborate and design the app without inconsistencies in the UI.

Potential for customization

Bootstrap allows developers to overwrite standard classes to give the website a unique look.

For instance, change the colour palette of UI components to match colours of your brand. Another option is to use one of the many Bootstrap templates and plugins.

Well documented

Bootstrap has a mild learning curve, partly because it is well documented. Specific and comprehensive documentation makes it easy to learn a library and fix possible errors in the code. Bootstrap also has a large community of developers who can answer your questions.

Disadvantages of Bootstrap

Uniform appearance

Millions of sites that use Bootstrap look almost the same. Customising the appearance of Bootstrap classes requires a fairly advanced knowledge of CSS, which a lot of developers don’t have.

Ready solution

Developers learn and reinforce their CSS skills by working with it. Bootstrap provides predefined CSS classes, which can promote laziness.

When should Bootstrap be used?

The biggest draw of Bootstrap is that it allows you to design a website with minimal effort. It can be useful for building a prototype or initial version of a site. Or when you want to focus a team's attention on functionality and features, rather than customising the appearance.

Bootstrap customization

The difference between using Bootstrap and writing CSS styles is similar to the difference between hand-sewn and manufactured clothes. It is a fact that hand-crafted, tailored products look better, have a unique feel, and are overall a perfect fit. However, it requires years of experience and mass-manufactured clothes often work just as well, while costing only a fraction of the price.

Examples of Bootstrap projects

Most of the time, it is the small-to-medium sized businesses that use Bootstrap. Large scale projects can afford to hire artists and developers to create and maintain a custom design.

Montere

Montere is an Italian business that sells organic fruit products. Its website looks original, but looking at the source code of interface components shows that they are designed with Bootstrap and CSS.

Website looks unique because of custom CSS rules, but still uses Bootstrap’s grid system for responsiveness and beautiful layout.

Fox News

Fox News is one example of an extremely popular site that still uses Bootstrap. They also use custom CSS, but heavily rely on Bootstrap to adapt UI components and long texts on small screen sizes.

Pear Analytics

Last, we have a digital marketing agency website styled with Bootstrap. It has a minimal, yet efficient design that displays well on smartphones. Responsive mobile first design is also beneficial for SEO.

What is Vue.js?

Web apps today are much faster, more user friendly and dynamic than they were 10 or even 5 years ago. This is only possible thanks to JavaScript frameworks, which lay the groundwork for a lot of advanced features.

Vue is one of the three most popular JavaScript frameworks, the other two being React and Angular. Vue, like all other front end frameworks, follows a component model. Each component is a reusable piece of code that defines the appearance and functionality of part of a site. You can think of them as small building blocks that make up web applications.

JavaScript frameworks like Vue provide a collection of advanced JavaScript tools and features (like Virtual DOM) necessary to build modern web applications.

Vue Javascript

Advantages of Vue.js

Simplicity

Vue has a very simple syntax. Writing a simple web application takes just a few lines of code. Simplicity does not come at the cost of functionality though.

To perform complex tasks like receiving data from the API, storing user input, changing element visibility, Vue developers only have to set one attribute, or write a few lines of code.

Reactivity

In Vue, every component has its own state. It is easy to set up and useful for reacting to changes. For example, Grammarly looks for mistakes as soon as you’re finished writing the word.

With Vue, there is no need to reload the page to see the feedback. It notices when the user enters a new word (a change has occurred), and reacts to changes.

Reusability

Web apps built with Vue are essentially component trees. A blog application might have the following UI components: homepage, sidebar, header, post, comment, page. It will most likely have many blog posts with different categories, different content and different authors. It would be foolish to create a new post component every time we need a new post.

Component tree

Vue allows you to customise the content and other characteristics of a component, while keeping its overall structure. This way, you can reuse components to display different instances of the same type of content.

Speed

Fastest web applications are built with JavaScript frameworks similar to Vue. The package itself is very lightweight at just 20kb. Once the app is loaded, Virtual DOM ensures that pages are updated without any delay.

Large community

For JavaScript framework, large community means availability of experts to ask for advice. In the process of building complex applications, you will inevitably run into trouble. A large community of developers and Vue documentation will be there to guide you.

Disadvantages of Vue.js

Difficulty with SEO

Applications built exclusively with Vue are called SPAs (Single Page Applications). Instead of receiving a content-filled HTML page from the server, these apps generate the content within the browser. This makes it difficult for Google and other search engines to index them.

Language barrier within community

Vue is the most popular of all front end frameworks in China. Giant Chinese companies like Alibaba use it, so a large portion of the Vue community is Chinese.

Shortage of senior developers

Vue is a young framework with a steep learning curve, so there is a shortage of senior developers with 5+yrs of experience.

When should Vue.js be used?

Vue shines brightest when a web application needs to be fast, smart, and interactive. In other words, one that requires JavaScript functions to implement business logic, reactive visual components, and process data.

Size of the application doesn’t matter. Vue can be used for making simple prototypes, as well as some of the largest websites in the world like AliExpress (the biggest online retailer in China).

If you want features like conditional styling, immediate feedback, smart search bar, instant form validation, and many other user-friendly features that require JavaScript logic, Vue is the best choice.

Vue conditional styling

Examples of projects built with Vue.js

Here is a quick list of large scale projects that use Vue to build their websites:

Grammarly

This application uses state maintenance, virtual DOM and other Vue features to find and fix errors in text as soon as you’re finished typing. Note that you don’t have to click any button, or refresh the page to see the feedback.

It also displays different tooltips to explain different types of errors and show how they can be improved. This type of logic is only possible with JavaScript, not with CSS or its libraries like Bootstrap.

Grammarly also dynamically calculates your text score, and provides the statistics to back it up. Every time you type a new sentence, Grammarly automatically updates the score.

User-friendliness of this app is a testament to Vue and JavaScript’s ability to dynamically process user input to improve user experience.

Behance

Frequent users know that browsing creative projects on Behance is a pleasure. It has features like predictive search and smart filtering to help you find what you’re looking for.

When browsing digital art, hovering over an artist's name displays a quick preview of their profile and allows users to follow them. This increases engagement and keeps users coming back to see more of certain artists.

This is just a short list of features that would be impossible without Vue and its underlying JavaScript foundation.

Chess.com

The biggest chess website in the world uses Vue to create interface components. For example, hovering over the ‘Watch’ menu item instantly displays the list of most popular game streams. If one of the games stops streaming, Vue will update the list, even if the user doesn’t refresh the page.

The website also has a predictive search, which shows search results as you’re typing in the query.

Comparing Bootstrap and Vue.js

The biggest difference between Bootstrap and Vue is scope of use. Bootstrap provides predefined CSS classes to style HTML elements and make websites responsive.  

On the other hand, Vue is a JavaScript framework, an all-in-one solution for building dynamic web apps. Designing user interfaces is just one step of that process. Developers can choose to style UI components using Bootstrap, handwritten CSS classes, or another popular UI framework like Material UI.

Vue can be used to create HTML elements, customise their appearance and use JavaScript for business logic, loading external data, maintaining state, and so on. Vue combines HTML elements, CSS classes (‘borrowed’ or unique), and JavaScript to create reactive UI components.

Is Vue.js better than Bootstrap?

Comparing Vue and Bootstrap is like comparing apples with oranges.

Bootstrap is a CSS library, great for quick website design and making your website responsive. Its dynamic features are very limited.

Vue is a JavaScript framework for building web applications. That includes creating HTML elements, writing CSS to customise their appearance, and using JavaScript to implement business logic. It comes with built-in solutions for common JavaScript web development tasks, so developers don’t have to create them from scratch.

Conclusion

In this article, we compared Vue.js and Bootstrap and their role in building modern web applications.

If some of your questions are still unanswered, please comment below and our members will answer them within a few days.

Tim Davidson
Tim Davidson
Tim is the face of the company. When you want to kick off a new project, or an update on your existing project, Tim is your man. With a background in project management, Tim specialises in managing the chaos around the company.

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