Bootstrap vs Chakra UI

When it comes to building modern, responsive web applications, developers have a plethora of CSS frameworks at their disposal. Among these, Bootstrap and Chakra UI have emerged as popular choices, each with its unique strengths and community support. In this article, we will delve deep into the comparison between Bootstrap and Chakra UI, covering various aspects such as their design philosophies, ease of use, customization capabilities, and more.

Introduction to Bootstrap

Bootstrap is one of the most widely used open-source CSS frameworks. It was developed by Twitter to facilitate the development of responsive and mobile-first web pages. Bootstrap provides a comprehensive set of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript components that are pre-designed and ready to use.

Key Features of Bootstrap

  • Responsive Grid System: Bootstrap’s grid system uses a series of containers, rows, and columns to layout and align content.
  • Pre-styled Components: It comes with a variety of pre-styled components such as buttons, forms, modals, and more.
  • JavaScript Plugins: Bootstrap includes several jQuery-based JavaScript plugins that add dynamic functionality to components.
  • Customizable: Bootstrap can be customized via Sass variables and mixins.

Bootstrap Documentation and Installation

To get started with Bootstrap, you can visit the official documentation which provides in-depth guidance on installation and usage. For installation, you can either use a CDN, download the source files, or install it via npm:

npm install bootstrap

Popular Third-Party Addons for Bootstrap

  • BootstrapVue: For integrating Bootstrap with Vue.js applications.
  • React-Bootstrap: The most popular React framework for building responsive web apps with Bootstrap.

Introduction to Chakra UI

Chakra UI is a relatively newer but rapidly growing React-based design system. It offers a set of accessible, reusable, and composable React components that make it easy to create websites and applications.

Key Features of Chakra UI

  • Component-Based: Chakra UI is built with React components, making it a good fit for React applications.
  • Accessibility: Chakra UI components follow the WAI-ARIA guidelines which ensure accessibility standards.
  • Themeable: It has a theme-centric design with a default theme that can be easily customized.
  • Dark Mode: Chakra UI supports color mode functionality, enabling dark mode in your applications with little effort.

Chakra UI Documentation and Installation

The official documentation of Chakra UI is the best place to learn about its components and usage. To install Chakra UI in your React project, you can run:

npm install @chakra-ui/react @emotion/react @emotion/styled framer-motion

Popular Third-Party Addons for Chakra UI

  • Chakra UI Pro: A set of premium, professionally designed components and templates.
  • Chakra Templates: A collection of free templates and layouts built with Chakra UI.

Design Philosophy and Aesthetic Differences

Bootstrap and Chakra UI are built with different design philosophies in mind. Bootstrap aims for a one-size-fits-all solution with a classic design aesthetic, which might require more customization to stand out. On the other hand, Chakra UI focuses on modularity and ease of customization, offering a more modern and minimalistic design out of the box.

Comparing Grid Systems and Responsiveness

Bootstrap Grid System

Bootstrap’s grid system is based on a 12-column layout, which is highly flexible and customizable. It uses a series of containers, rows, and columns to structure and align content responsively. Here’s a basic example of Bootstrap’s grid:

<div class="container">
  <div class="row">
    <div class="col-md-6">Column 1</div>
    <div class="col-md-6">Column 2</div>

Chakra UI Grid System

Chakra UI uses a similar but more React-centric approach for its grid system. It provides a Grid component that can be used to create flexible and responsive layouts. Here’s how you can use Chakra UI’s Grid:

import { Grid, GridItem } from "@chakra-ui/react";

<Grid templateColumns="repeat(2, 1fr)" gap={6}>
  <GridItem w="100%">Column 1</GridItem>
  <GridItem w="100%">Column 2</GridItem>

Component Comparison

Both Bootstrap and Chakra UI offer a wide range of components, but they differ in terms of integration and customization. Bootstrap’s components are more class-based, whereas Chakra UI’s components are more prop-based, which aligns well with React’s component philosophy.

Bootstrap Button Example

<button type="button" class="btn btn-primary">Primary Button</button>

Chakra UI Button Example

import { Button } from "@chakra-ui/react";

<Button colorScheme="blue">Primary Button</Button>

Customization and Theming

Customization is a crucial aspect when choosing a CSS framework, as it determines how easily you can align the framework with your design requirements.

Customizing Bootstrap

Bootstrap can be customized using Sass variables, mixins, or overriding default CSS. You can also use its theming capabilities to create a consistent look and feel across your application.

Customizing Chakra UI

Chakra UI is designed with customization in mind. It uses a default theme that can be easily extended or overridden using the extendTheme function. You can customize colors, fonts, and component styles to match your brand.

import { extendTheme } from "@chakra-ui/react";
import { theme as baseTheme } from "@chakra-ui/theme";

const customTheme = extendTheme({
  colors: {
    brand: {
      900: "#1a365d",
      800: "#153e75",
      700: "#2a69ac",
}, baseTheme);

export default customTheme;

In the next half of the article, we will continue to explore the differences between Bootstrap and Chakra UI, including performance considerations, community support, learning curve, and more. We will also provide additional code samples and delve into advanced usage scenarios for both frameworks. Stay tuned for a thorough understanding of which framework might be the best fit for your next project.

Performance Considerations

When choosing between Bootstrap and Chakra UI, it’s essential to consider the impact on performance. A CSS framework’s size and complexity can affect your application’s load time and responsiveness.

Bootstrap Performance

Bootstrap is a relatively large framework, especially if you include all of its JavaScript plugins. However, it allows for selective inclusion of components and scripts, which can help reduce the overall footprint. By using only the necessary components and optimizing your assets, you can mitigate potential performance issues.

Chakra UI Performance

Chakra UI is more modular, allowing developers to import only the components they need, which can lead to a smaller bundle size. Since it’s built with React in mind, it fits seamlessly into a React project’s component-based architecture, potentially resulting in better performance for React applications.

Community Support and Ecosystem

The strength and activity of a framework’s community can be a significant factor, as it often translates to the availability of resources, tutorials, and third-party extensions.

Bootstrap Community

Bootstrap has been around for much longer than Chakra UI and has a vast and active community. There are countless tutorials, themes, and resources available. The community’s size also means that issues are often quickly identified and resolved.

Chakra UI Community

Although newer, Chakra UI has a growing community that is enthusiastic and supportive. The number of resources and tutorials is increasing, and the community is active in developing additional tools and extensions for the framework.

Learning Curve

For developers, the ease of learning and using a CSS framework is a critical consideration. Both Bootstrap and Chakra UI have their learning curves, which can vary based on your familiarity with CSS and front-end development concepts.

Learning Bootstrap

Bootstrap’s class-based approach is straightforward and can be easier to pick up for those with basic knowledge of HTML and CSS. The extensive documentation and large community can also help new users overcome any learning hurdles.

Learning Chakra UI

Chakra UI may require a steeper learning curve, especially for developers who are not as familiar with React and its component-based architecture. However, its documentation is comprehensive, and the principles it uses are consistent with modern React development practices.

Advanced Usage Scenarios

Both Bootstrap and Chakra UI can handle advanced web development scenarios, but their approaches and capabilities differ.

Bootstrap Advanced Usage

Bootstrap’s extensive list of components and utilities allows for the creation of complex layouts and advanced interactive elements. It’s also possible to integrate Bootstrap with various JavaScript frameworks, although this may require additional effort to ensure seamless integration.

Chakra UI Advanced Usage

Chakra UI’s focus on composability and theming makes it well-suited for building custom, complex components that are consistent with the design system. Its integration with React’s ecosystem means that you can leverage the full power of React, including state management and hooks, to create sophisticated user interfaces.

Code Samples for Advanced Components

Let’s look at how each framework can be used to create a modal component, which is a common advanced component in web applications.

Bootstrap Modal Example

<!-- Button trigger modal -->
<button type="button" class="btn btn-primary" data-bs-toggle="modal" data-bs-target="#exampleModal">
  Launch demo modal

<!-- Modal -->
<div class="modal fade" id="exampleModal" tabindex="-1" aria-labelledby="exampleModalLabel" aria-hidden="true">
  <div class="modal-dialog">
    <div class="modal-content">
      <div class="modal-header">
        <h5 class="modal-title" id="exampleModalLabel">Modal title</h5>
        <button type="button" class="btn-close" data-bs-dismiss="modal" aria-label="Close"></button>
      <div class="modal-body">
      <div class="modal-footer">
        <button type="button" class="btn btn-secondary" data-bs-dismiss="modal">Close</button>
        <button type="button" class="btn btn-primary">Save changes</button>

Chakra UI Modal Example

import { Button, Modal, ModalOverlay, ModalContent, ModalHeader, ModalFooter, ModalBody, ModalCloseButton, useDisclosure } from "@chakra-ui/react";

function BasicModal() {
  const { isOpen, onOpen, onClose } = useDisclosure();

  return (
      <Button onClick={onOpen}>Launch demo modal</Button>

      <Modal isOpen={isOpen} onClose={onClose}>
        <ModalOverlay />
          <ModalHeader>Modal title</ModalHeader>
          <ModalCloseButton />

            <Button colorScheme="blue" mr={3} onClick={onClose}>
            <Button variant="ghost">Save changes</Button>


In conclusion, both Bootstrap and Chakra UI offer powerful tools for building responsive, modern web applications. Bootstrap may be more suitable for developers looking for a wide range of pre-styled components and extensive community support. Chakra UI, on the other hand, is an excellent choice for those who prefer a component-based framework with a strong emphasis on theming and customization, especially within the React ecosystem.

The decision between Bootstrap and Chakra UI ultimately depends on your project requirements, your team’s familiarity with React, and your specific design needs. By considering the factors discussed in this article, you can make an informed choice that best suits your web development goals.

For further exploration, you can visit the official homepages and documentation for each framework:

Whichever framework you choose, remember that both are valuable tools in a web developer’s arsenal, and mastering either will greatly enhance your front-end development capabilities.

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