Bootstrap vs Pure.css

When it comes to developing responsive and visually appealing websites, choosing the right CSS framework can make all the difference. Among the plethora of options available to web developers, Bootstrap and Pure.css stand out for their unique features and use cases. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the specifics of both frameworks, comparing their functionalities, ease of use, and how they can best serve your web development needs.

What is Bootstrap?

Bootstrap is one of the most popular open-source CSS frameworks. It was created by Twitter developers Mark Otto and Jacob Thornton to encourage consistency across internal tools. Today, Bootstrap has evolved into a powerful and feature-rich framework that aids in building responsive and mobile-first websites.

Bootstrap provides a wide range of pre-styled components, JavaScript plugins, and a grid system that makes laying out web pages a breeze. Its extensive documentation and large community support make it a go-to choice for many developers.

Popular Third-Party Addons or Libraries for Bootstrap

  • BootstrapVue: Integrates Bootstrap with Vue.js.
  • React-Bootstrap: Rebuilds Bootstrap components as React components.
  • Bootswatch: Offers free themes for Bootstrap.

What is Pure.css?

Pure.css, often referred to as Pure, is a small, responsive CSS module library developed by Yahoo. Pure is designed to be minimalistic and lightweight, providing a set of CSS modules that can be easily integrated into any web project without the overhead of larger frameworks.

Pure focuses on being modular and concise. It allows developers to include only the styles they need, ensuring that the overall file size is kept to a minimum, which is a significant advantage for performance-focused web development.

Popular Third-Party Addons or Libraries for Pure.css

While Pure.css is designed to be used as-is, there are few popular addons or libraries specifically for Pure, given its minimalistic approach. However, it can be easily integrated with other tools and pre-processors like:

  • Sass or LESS: For extending and customizing Pure.css modules.
  • Normalize.css: To ensure that browsers render all elements more consistently.

Comparing Bootstrap and Pure.css

Grid System

Both Bootstrap and Pure.css offer grid systems, but they differ significantly in complexity and flexibility.

Bootstrap Grid System

Bootstrap’s grid system is based on a 12-column layout, which is responsive and uses flexbox for alignment and spacing. It allows developers to create complex layouts with relative ease.

<div class="container">
  <div class="row">
    <div class="col-md-4">Column 1</div>
    <div class="col-md-4">Column 2</div>
    <div class="col-md-4">Column 3</div>

Pure.css Grid System

Pure’s grid is much simpler and more straightforward. It is also based on a 12-column system but lacks some of the advanced features found in Bootstrap.

<div class="pure-g">
  <div class="pure-u-1-3">Column 1</div>
  <div class="pure-u-1-3">Column 2</div>
  <div class="pure-u-1-3">Column 3</div>


Bootstrap Components

Bootstrap comes with a wide range of pre-designed components such as navbars, dropdowns, alerts, and modals, which can be easily customized and incorporated into your projects.

<div class="alert alert-warning" role="alert">
  This is a warning alert—check it out!

Pure.css Components

Pure provides basic styling for common UI elements like buttons, tables, and forms but does not include the more complex components found in Bootstrap.

<button class="pure-button pure-button-primary">A Pure Button</button>


Bootstrap Customization

Bootstrap allows for extensive customization through its SASS variables, mixins, and functions. You can tailor the framework to fit your design requirements.

Pure.css Customization

Pure is meant to be customized by adding your own styles on top of it. It’s a bare-bones starting point for style customization.

JavaScript Dependency

Bootstrap relies heavily on jQuery for its JavaScript components, although the latest version (Bootstrap 5) has started to move away from jQuery. Pure, on the other hand, does not come with any JavaScript at all, meaning it’s purely a CSS framework.

File Size

When it comes to file size, Pure.css is significantly smaller than Bootstrap. Pure’s minimalistic approach ensures that the styles you get are only what you need, making it ideal for performance-critical applications.

Browser Support

Both frameworks offer support for all modern browsers, but Bootstrap has slightly better support for older versions of certain browsers due to its larger user base and community support.

Performance and Loading Times

Performance is a critical aspect of web development, and the choice of a CSS framework can impact your site’s loading times. Pure.css is known for its minimalistic approach, which translates to faster page load times due to the smaller footprint of its CSS files. Bootstrap, with its larger set of features and styles, typically results in a bigger file size, which can lead to slower loading times, especially if you use the entire library.

Developers concerned with performance may prefer Pure.css for its lightweight nature. However, Bootstrap can be customized to exclude unused components, which can help mitigate performance issues.

Community and Support

The community and support surrounding a framework are vital for troubleshooting, learning, and staying up-to-date with best practices.

Bootstrap Community and Support

Bootstrap has a vast and active community. It’s been around since 2011, which means there are plenty of resources, tutorials, themes, and plugins available. The community support for Bootstrap is one of its strongest selling points.

Pure.css Community and Support

Pure.css, while having a smaller community, still offers a good amount of resources and support for developers. However, it doesn’t match the extensive network that Bootstrap boasts.

Learning Curve

The learning curve for each framework can affect the speed at which you can develop projects.

Bootstrap Learning Curve

Bootstrap has a steeper learning curve due to its comprehensive feature set. However, its well-documented components and extensive community resources make it easier for developers to learn and master the framework.

Pure.css Learning Curve

Pure.css is simpler and more straightforward, making it easier to learn, especially for those new to web development or those who prefer to write more of their own CSS.

Use Cases

When to use Bootstrap or Pure.css depends on the specific needs of your project.

When to Use Bootstrap

  • When building complex web applications with a need for a wide range of UI components.
  • When you have the need for a robust grid system and responsive design out-of-the-box.
  • When you’re looking for extensive documentation and community support.
  • When you’re working in a team that’s already familiar with Bootstrap.

When to Use Pure.css

  • When you’re developing a site where performance and page load times are critical.
  • When you need a lightweight framework as a starting point for your custom styles.
  • When you’re working on a smaller project that doesn’t require all the bells and whistles of Bootstrap.
  • When you want to avoid the overhead of JavaScript components that come with Bootstrap.


Both Bootstrap and Pure.css have their strengths and ideal use cases. Bootstrap’s extensive list of features and strong community make it suitable for developers looking for a comprehensive solution that’s ready out of the box. On the other hand, Pure.css is perfect for those who need a lightweight, modular approach to CSS styling, allowing for faster performance and a simpler starting point for customization.

Ultimately, the choice between Bootstrap and Pure.css will depend on the specific needs of your project, your performance requirements, and your personal or team’s familiarity with the framework.

Before making your decision, consider the size and scope of your project, the importance of load times, and the need for custom styles. Both frameworks offer a solid foundation for building responsive web designs, and understanding the pros and cons of each will help you make an informed choice for your next web development endeavor.

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