Bulma vs UIKit

When it comes to designing and developing web interfaces, CSS frameworks are indispensable tools for front-end developers. They provide pre-designed components and layout patterns that help in building responsive and aesthetically pleasing websites quickly. Among the plethora of options available, Bulma and UIKit stand out as popular choices for developers. In this article, we will delve into an in-depth comparison of these two frameworks, exploring their features, ease of use, community support, and more.

Introduction to Bulma

Bulma is an open-source CSS framework based on Flexbox. It is known for its simple and modern design elements that can be easily customized. Bulma comes with a rich set of components and is purely CSS, meaning it doesn’t include any JavaScript by default, which allows developers to use the JavaScript library or framework of their choice.

Key Features of Bulma

  • Flexbox-based grid system: Bulma’s grid is fully built with Flexbox, providing a flexible and efficient way to layout, align, and distribute space among items in a container.
  • Responsive design: The framework includes responsive modifiers to make a website look good on any device.
  • Modular: Import only the components you need, helping to keep the CSS file size down.
  • Modern: With a focus on modern design, Bulma provides clean and aesthetic components.
  • No JavaScript included: This allows developers to use any JavaScript framework or library without conflicts.

Bulma Documentation and Installation

You can find the documentation for Bulma here. To get started with Bulma, you can either use a CDN or install it via NPM:

<!-- Using Bulma from CDN -->
<link rel="stylesheet" href="https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/bulma/0.9.3/css/bulma.min.css">

Or by using NPM:

npm install bulma

Popular Third-Party Addons or Libraries for Bulma

  • Buefy: A library of lightweight UI components for Vue.js based on Bulma.
  • Bulmaswatch: Free themes for Bulma.
  • Bulma-extensions: A collection of extensions and extras for Bulma.

Introduction to UIKit

UIKit is another lightweight and modular front-end framework for developing fast and powerful web interfaces. It is written in LESS and provides a comprehensive collection of HTML, CSS, and JS components that are simple to use, easy to customize, and extendable.

Key Features of UIKit

  • LESS-based: UIKit is built with LESS, a pre-processor that allows for customizable and manageable style sheets.
  • Component-rich: Offers a wide range of components including navigation, buttons, modals, and more.
  • Customizable: Theming with UIKit is straightforward with the use of variables and mixins.
  • Responsive: It has a mobile-first approach and provides a responsive grid system.
  • JavaScript interaction: UIKit comes with a small set of JavaScript utilities that enhance the components with additional functionality.

UIKit Documentation and Installation

The documentation for UIKit is available here. To use UIKit, you can include it in your project via CDN or install it using NPM or Yarn:

<!-- Include UIKit CSS from CDN -->
<link rel="stylesheet" href="https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/uikit/3.6.22/css/uikit.min.css" />

<!-- Include UIKit JS from CDN -->
<script src="https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/uikit/3.6.22/js/uikit.min.js"></script>

Or install it using NPM:

npm install uikit

Popular Third-Party Addons or Libraries for UIKit

  • UIkit Icons: An extension that provides a comprehensive set of SVG icons.
  • Customizer: A tool to create your own theme with ease.
  • UIkit React: A set of React components based on UIKit.

Code Samples

Let’s take a look at how both frameworks handle a simple navigation bar.

Bulma Navigation Bar

<nav class="navbar" 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">Home</a>
      <a class="navbar-item">Documentation</a>

UIKit Navigation Bar

<nav class="uk-navbar-container" uk-navbar>
    <div class="uk-navbar-left">
        <a class="uk-navbar-item uk-logo" href="#">Logo</a>
        <ul class="uk-navbar-nav">
            <li class="uk-active"><a href="#">Home</a></li>
            <li><a href="#">Documentation</a></li>

In the above examples, both frameworks offer a clean and simple way to create a navigation bar, demonstrating their focus on ease of use and modern design principles.

Comparison of Bulma and UIKit

When choosing between Bulma and UIKit, several factors come into play. Let’s compare these frameworks based on various aspects to help you decide which one might be the best fit for your project.

Grid System and Responsiveness

Bulma’s grid system is based on Flexbox, which makes it incredibly powerful and flexible. It allows for equal-height columns and vertical alignment, something that can be tricky with traditional CSS. Bulma’s responsive modifiers enable the grid to adjust to different screen sizes seamlessly.

UIKit also offers a responsive grid system, but it takes a slightly different approach. It uses a mobile-first strategy, which means that you design for smaller screens first and then scale up. This can be beneficial for projects where mobile usage is expected to be high.

Components and Customization

Both frameworks come with a rich set of pre-designed components. Bulma provides a wide range of elements like buttons, forms, cards, and more, all of which adhere to a consistent design language. Since it’s purely CSS, customization can be done by overriding the default styles.

UIKit, on the other hand, not only provides CSS components but also comes with a set of JavaScript components for added interactivity. Customization in UIKit can be done through LESS variables and mixins, which can be a more structured approach for developers familiar with CSS preprocessors.

Theming and Aesthetics

Theming is an area where both frameworks shine. Bulma’s modern and minimalist aesthetic is easily adaptable to different design requirements. With the help of utilities like Bulmaswatch, you can apply new themes without much hassle.

UIKit is also highly themeable, and its Customizer tool allows developers to create a unique look and feel by adjusting variables in a user-friendly interface. This can be a time-saver for those who want to quickly iterate on design variations.

Community and Documentation

The community around a framework can be a crucial factor in its adoption. Bulma has a strong community with plenty of third-party extensions and themes. Its documentation is comprehensive, well-organized, and includes examples for each component.

UIKit also boasts a robust community, and its documentation is equally detailed with interactive examples. Having a community means access to a wealth of resources, tutorials, and third-party add-ons, which can be incredibly valuable when working on a project.

Code Sample: Modal Component

Let’s compare how each framework handles a modal component.

Bulma Modal

<div class="modal">
  <div class="modal-background"></div>
  <div class="modal-card">
    <header class="modal-card-head">
      <p class="modal-card-title">Modal title</p>
      <button class="delete" aria-label="close"></button>
    <section class="modal-card-body">
      <!-- Content ... -->
    <footer class="modal-card-foot">
      <button class="button is-success">Save changes</button>
      <button class="button">Cancel</button>

UIKit Modal

<div id="modal-example" uk-modal>
    <div class="uk-modal-dialog uk-modal-body">
        <h2 class="uk-modal-title">Modal Title</h2>
        <p><!-- Content ... --></p>
        <p class="uk-text-right">
            <button class="uk-button uk-button-default uk-modal-close" type="button">Cancel</button>
            <button class="uk-button uk-button-primary" type="button">Save changes</button>

In the above modal examples, both frameworks offer a simple way to implement a modal dialog. Bulma’s modal is purely CSS and requires additional JavaScript to handle the show/hide functionality. UIKit’s modal, however, includes built-in JavaScript to manage its display state, which can be triggered with the uk-modal attribute.


Both Bulma and UIKit are powerful and feature-rich CSS frameworks that can help speed up the development process. Bulma is an excellent choice if you are looking for a purely CSS-based framework with a Flexbox grid system, while UIKit provides a more comprehensive solution with both CSS and JavaScript components.

The decision between Bulma and UIKit will largely depend on your project’s requirements, your familiarity with CSS preprocessors, and whether you need a framework that includes JavaScript out of the box. Regardless of your choice, both frameworks are well-documented, supported by vibrant communities, and capable of producing beautiful, responsive web designs.

For further information and to get started with each framework, visit the following resources:

By evaluating the features and benefits of each framework, you can make an informed decision and select the one that aligns best with your project goals. Whether you choose Bulma for its Flexbox-based design and CSS purity or UIKit for its comprehensive component library and JavaScript interactivity, both will serve as a solid foundation for your web development projects.

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