Bulma vs Semantic UI

In the realm of web development, CSS frameworks are indispensable tools for front-end developers. They provide pre-written CSS classes that help in creating responsive, consistent, and visually appealing user interfaces with minimal effort. Among the plethora of available options, Bulma and Semantic UI have surfaced as popular choices for developers. This article provides an exhaustive comparison between these two CSS frameworks, covering various aspects from their core philosophies to their practical implementation.

Introduction to Bulma

Bulma is a modern CSS framework based on Flexbox, which is known for its simplicity and ease of use. It is a free, open-source framework that provides a set of CSS classes to help developers build responsive and mobile-first websites.

Bulma is modular, meaning you can import only the components you need, which helps in keeping the CSS file size to a minimum. It does not include any JavaScript by itself, which allows developers the freedom to choose their JS framework or library.

Popular Third-Party Add-ons for Bulma

  • Bulma Extensions: A collection of extensions that add additional functionality to Bulma.
  • Bulma Extensions
  • Buefy: Lightweight UI components for Vue.js based on Bulma.
  • Buefy

Bulma Code Sample

Here’s a simple example of how to create a responsive navbar with Bulma:

<nav class="navbar is-primary" role="navigation" aria-label="main navigation">
  <div class="navbar-brand">
    <a class="navbar-item" href="https://bulma.io">
      <img src="bulma-logo.png" width="112" height="28">

  <div id="navbarBasicExample" class="navbar-menu">
    <div class="navbar-start">
      <a class="navbar-item">
      <a class="navbar-item">

Introduction to Semantic UI

Semantic UI is another popular CSS and JavaScript framework that emphasizes human-friendly HTML. It provides a comprehensive and intricately designed set of components that create a rich user interface.

Semantic UI uses human-friendly HTML and provides a declarative syntax that makes it intuitive to work with. It is heavily themable, allowing developers to customize the look and feel of their website easily. Unlike Bulma, Semantic UI comes with jQuery-based JavaScript components out of the box.

Popular Third-Party Add-ons for Semantic UI

  • Semantic UI React: The official React integration for Semantic UI.
  • Semantic UI React
  • Semantic UI Fomantic-UI: A community fork of Semantic UI with ongoing development.
  • Fomantic-UI

Semantic UI Code Sample

Below is an example of a simple Semantic UI card component:

<div class="ui card">
  <div class="image">
    <img src="/images/avatar2/large/kristy.png">
  <div class="content">
    <a class="header">Kristy</a>
    <div class="meta">
      <span class="date">Joined in 2013</span>
    <div class="description">
      Kristy is an art director living in New York.
  <div class="extra content">
      <i class="user icon"></i>
      22 Friends

In the next section, we will delve into the core differences between Bulma and Semantic UI, their community and support, performance considerations, and practical examples of usage in real-world scenarios.

Core Differences between Bulma and Semantic UI

Understanding the core differences between Bulma and Semantic UI is crucial for developers to choose the right framework for their project. Here, we will explore the distinctions based on various factors:

Design Philosophy

Bulma is built with a focus on simplicity and ease of use. It follows a mobile-first approach and leverages modern CSS features like Flexbox for layout design. Bulma’s classes are named in a way that they are self-explanatory, which makes the framework quite readable and easy to grasp.

Semantic UI, on the other hand, is designed with the goal of creating thematically rich interfaces. It uses human-friendly HTML to make the class names semantically meaningful. The framework provides a broad range of UI components that can be easily themed and customized.

JavaScript Dependency

Bulma is purely a CSS framework and does not come with any JavaScript, which means you can use it with any JavaScript library or framework of your choice without worrying about conflicts.

Semantic UI includes a set of jQuery-based JavaScript components. For projects that are already using jQuery or for developers who prefer a more integrated UI framework, Semantic UI could be more suitable.

Community and Support

Both frameworks have active communities and are well-documented, which makes it easier for new developers to start using them.

Bulma has a smaller community when compared to Semantic UI but is known for its friendly and supportive environment. The documentation is comprehensive and includes examples and templates to help developers get started.

Semantic UI boasts a larger community and has more third-party resources available. This can be advantageous when looking for solutions to specific problems or when seeking community support.

Performance Considerations

When it comes to performance, the size of the CSS file can play a significant role, especially for mobile users or in areas with slow internet connections.

Bulma being a CSS-only framework, tends to be lighter than Semantic UI, which could lead to faster load times. Since Bulma allows for importing only the components you need, it can be very efficient if used correctly.

Semantic UI, with its jQuery dependencies and comprehensive component set, can be heavier and might require more optimization to achieve similar performance results.

Real-World Usage

Bulma is often praised for its simplicity and is a great choice for smaller projects or for developers who prefer to write their JavaScript. It’s also well-suited for rapid prototyping due to its straightforward syntax.

Semantic UI, with its extensive component library, is ideal for developers who want to create rich interfaces with minimal effort. It’s a good fit for larger projects where a wide variety of UI components is needed.

Practical Examples of Usage

To further illustrate the practical use of Bulma and Semantic UI, let’s look at some code samples that demonstrate common UI elements.

Bulma Example: Buttons Group

<div class="field is-grouped">
  <p class="control">
    <button class="button is-primary">Save changes</button>
  <p class="control">
    <button class="button is-light">Cancel</button>

Semantic UI Example: Buttons Group

<div class="ui buttons">
  <button class="ui button">Cancel</button>
  <div class="or"></div>
  <button class="ui positive button">Save</button>


Choosing between Bulma and Semantic UI ultimately depends on your project’s requirements and your personal or team preferences. Bulma offers a clean, modern approach with its CSS-only, Flexbox-based system, which is excellent for fast, responsive designs. Semantic UI provides a more comprehensive set of UI components along with built-in JavaScript functionality, which can be particularly beneficial for developers looking to create feature-rich interfaces with less effort.

Whichever framework you choose, both Bulma and Semantic UI have the capabilities to help you build beautiful, functional web applications. Consider the factors discussed in this article, such as design philosophy, JavaScript dependency, community support, performance, and real-world usage, to make an informed decision that aligns with your development goals.


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