Materialize vs Milligram

CSS frameworks are essential tools for web developers, providing pre-written CSS code that helps streamline the design process and ensure consistency across different web browsers and devices. Among the plethora of options available today, Materialize and Milligram stand out as two popular choices for those seeking lightweight, responsive frameworks to build their projects. In this article, we’ll conduct an in-depth comparison of Materialize and Milligram, examining their features, ease of use, and how they can best be utilized in web development.

Materialize: A Modern Responsive Front-end Framework Based on Material Design

Materialize is a responsive front-end framework based on Google’s Material Design principles. It provides a rich set of components and styles that adhere to the latest design trends and user interface guidelines.

Key Features of Materialize

  • Material Design: Materialize is heavily inspired by Google’s Material Design, which means it offers a design language that combines classic principles of good design with innovation and technology.
  • Responsive Grid: It includes a 12-column fluid grid system that easily adapts to screens of all sizes.
  • Components: Materialize comes packed with numerous components such as buttons, cards, navbars, and modals, all styled in accordance with Material Design.
  • JavaScript Plugins: The framework offers various JavaScript plugins for enhanced interactivity, such as parallax, tooltips, and waves.
  • Sass Support: Materialize is built with Sass, allowing developers to customize the framework with variables and mixins.

Installation and Documentation

To get started with Materialize, you can visit the following links:

Popular Third-Party Addons or Libraries

Materialize is complemented by a variety of third-party addons and libraries that can extend its functionality:

  • Materialize-stepper: A plugin for creating step-by-step wizards or forms.
  • Materialize-tags: A jQuery plugin to create tag input fields.
  • Materialize-datatables: Integrates the DataTables jQuery plugin with Materialize styling.

Code Samples

Here’s a basic example of a responsive navbar using Materialize:

<!-- Compiled and minified CSS -->
<link rel="stylesheet" href="">

  <div class="nav-wrapper">
    <a href="#" class="brand-logo">Logo</a>
    <ul id="nav-mobile" class="right hide-on-med-and-down">
      <li><a href="sass.html">Sass</a></li>
      <li><a href="badges.html">Components</a></li>
      <li><a href="collapsible.html">JavaScript</a></li>

<!-- Compiled and minified JavaScript -->
<script src=""></script>

Milligram: A Minimalist CSS Framework

Milligram is a minimalist CSS framework designed for simplicity and speed. It provides a bare-minimum setup of styles for a fast and clean starting point.

Key Features of Milligram

  • Minimalist: Milligram is minimal and lightweight, with a gzipped size of only ~2KB.
  • Flexbox Grid System: It utilizes a flexbox grid system for a flexible, efficient layout.
  • Typography: Focuses on typography to ensure that text is readable and looks good on any device.
  • Performance: Being minimal, it is performance-oriented and doesn’t overload your styles with excessive design.
  • No JavaScript: Milligram does not include JavaScript components, which can be a plus for those looking to write their own scripts or use vanilla JavaScript.

Installation and Documentation

To incorporate Milligram into your project, check out these resources:

Popular Third-Party Addons or Libraries

While Milligram is designed to be minimal, there are still some third-party tools and resources that can be used alongside it:

  • Milligram-scss: An SCSS version of Milligram for those who prefer using Sass.
  • Milligram-extension-buttons: An extension that adds various button styles to the Milligram framework.

Code Samples

Below is an example of a simple card layout using Milligram:

<!-- Link to Milligram's CSS -->
<link rel="stylesheet" href="">

<div class="container">
  <div class="row">
    <div class="column">
      <p>Description goes here...</p>
      <a class="button" href="#">Read More</a>

Comparing Materialize and Milligram

When choosing between Materialize and Milligram, developers must consider the scope of their project and the level of customization they require. Materialize offers a comprehensive suite of styled components and interactive JavaScript plugins, making it ideal for developers who want a full-fledged framework with a modern look and feel. On the other hand, Milligram is perfect for those who prefer a minimalist approach and are looking to avoid the overhead of a larger framework.

Both frameworks have their strengths and cater to different needs. Materialize, with its Material Design foundation, provides a more opinionated set of components that ensure a consistent user experience across applications. Milligram’s minimalist nature allows for greater flexibility and faster load times, which can be crucial for performance-critical applications.

In the next section, we will dive deeper into the customization options, community support, and real-world applications of Materialize and Milligram. We will also provide further code samples and explore advanced topics such as theming and extending these frameworks to fit the unique needs of your projects. Stay tuned for the second half of this comprehensive guide.

Customization Options

Both Materialize and Milligram offer customization options, but their approaches differ significantly due to their design philosophies.

Materialize Customization

Materialize is built with Sass, which means you can easily change the theme colors, border-radius, default padding, and much more by tweaking the Sass variables. You can also include only the components you need, which helps in keeping the CSS file size to a minimum.

For example, to change the primary color in Materialize, you can set the $primary-color variable:

// Custom.scss
@import "materialize/components/color";
$primary-color: color("blue", "lighten-2");
@import 'materialize';

Then, compile your custom Sass to CSS to see the changes take effect.

Milligram Customization

Milligram’s minimalistic approach means there are fewer built-in customization options, but you can still override the default styles by writing your own CSS or modifying the source files. Since Milligram is also available in SCSS, you can customize it using Sass as well.

Here’s an example of changing the base font size and color in Milligram via SCSS:

// Custom.scss
@import "milligram/src/Variables";
$base-font-size: 18px;
$brand-color: #9b4dca;
@import "milligram";

Compile this SCSS to apply your custom styles.

Community Support and Resources

Materialize Community

Materialize has a strong community with numerous contributors on GitHub. You can find a wealth of resources, including third-party plugins, UI kits, and pre-built themes. There’s also an active community on platforms like Stack Overflow for support.

Milligram Community

Milligram’s community is smaller compared to Materialize’s, but it’s still active. You can find discussions and support on coding forums and GitHub. Due to its simplicity, many developers contribute by creating extensions or custom builds.

Real-World Applications

When to Use Materialize

Materialize is suitable for projects where design consistency and a rich set of features are important. It’s ideal for:

  • Web applications that require a modern, interactive UI.
  • Prototyping projects where speed is crucial.
  • Websites that need to be responsive across all devices.

When to Use Milligram

Milligram is best for:

  • Websites where performance is a priority, and minimalism is part of the design ethos.
  • Projects that require a lightweight starting point without the need for extensive built-in components.
  • Developers who prefer to write more of their own CSS and JavaScript.

Advanced Theming and Extending the Frameworks

Theming with Materialize

Materialize allows for advanced theming through its Sass files. You can create custom themes by adjusting the color palettes, typography, and component styles. This can be done by setting the appropriate Sass variables before importing the Materialize Sass files.

Extending Milligram

While Milligram doesn’t offer a built-in theming system, you can extend it by writing additional CSS or SCSS. You can create your own themes by building on top of Milligram’s base styles.

Code Samples for Advanced Usage

Materialize Tabs with Custom Colors

// Custom.scss
@import "materialize/components/color";
$primary-color: color("blue", "lighten-2");
@import 'materialize';

// Custom styles for tabs
.tabs .tab a {
  color: $primary-color;
.tabs .tab {
  border-bottom-color: $primary-color;

Milligram Button Group

// Custom.scss
@import "milligram/src/Variables";
$brand-color: #9b4dca;
@import "milligram";

// Custom styles for button group
.button-group {
  display: flex;
  .button {
    flex: 1;
    margin-right: 0.5rem;
    &:last-child {
      margin-right: 0;


Choosing between Materialize and Milligram depends on your project’s needs. Materialize offers a complete solution with a modern design out of the box, ideal for those who want to leverage Material Design in their projects. Milligram is for those who seek a no-frills, performance-oriented approach, providing just enough to get started with a clean slate.

Both frameworks have their merits, and the choice ultimately comes down to personal preference and project requirements. Whether you prioritize a full suite of pre-designed components or a lightweight starting point, both Materialize and Milligram offer a solid foundation for building responsive, modern websites.

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