Pure.css vs Milligram

When it comes to web design, the right CSS framework can make all the difference in crafting a responsive, attractive site with minimal effort. Two popular choices for developers who prioritize simplicity and speed are Pure.css and Milligram. Both frameworks are known for their lightweight, minimalistic approach, but they cater to slightly different needs and preferences. In this article, we’ll dive deep into the features, strengths, and weaknesses of both Pure.css and Milligram, to help you decide which one best suits your project.

Pure.css: The Lightweight Champion

Pure.css, developed by Yahoo, is a small set of CSS modules that you can use as the foundation of any web project. Its modular approach allows you to include only the styles you need, keeping your CSS lean and fast. Pure is responsive out of the box, with a mobile-first approach that ensures your website will look great on all devices.

Features of Pure.css

  • Modularity: Pure is broken down into small, responsive modules. This means you can include only the components you need, such as grids, forms, buttons, tables, and more.
  • Mobile-First Design: Built to work on mobile devices from the start, Pure’s styles adapt to larger screens as necessary.
  • Minimalist: With a size of only 3.8KB minified and gzipped, Pure is exceptionally lightweight.
  • Customizable: Pure is designed to be easily customizable. You can overwrite the default styles to match your design requirements.

Documentation and Installation

You can find the documentation for Pure.css on its official website. To get started with Pure.css, you can either download the framework directly or link to it via a CDN. The installation guide provides clear instructions on how to integrate Pure into your project.

Popular Add-ons for Pure.css

While Pure.css is minimalistic by nature, there are a number of third-party add-ons and libraries that can extend its functionality:

  • Pure CSS Layouts: Predefined layouts that can be used as starting points for your designs.
  • Pure CSS Combinator: A tool that helps you combine and minify Pure CSS modules.

Code Samples for Pure.css

Here’s a simple example of a responsive grid layout using Pure.css:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
    <meta charset="UTF-8">
    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
    <title>Pure.css Example</title>
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="https://unpkg.com/[email protected]/build/pure-min.css" integrity="sha384-" crossorigin="anonymous">
    <div class="pure-g">
        <div class="pure-u-1 pure-u-md-1-3">
            <p>This is a third on desktop and full-width on mobile.</p>
        <div class="pure-u-1 pure-u-md-1-3">
            <p>This is another third on desktop and full-width on mobile.</p>
        <div class="pure-u-1 pure-u-md-1-3">
            <p>This is the last third on desktop and full-width on mobile.</p>

Milligram: A Minimalist’s Dream

Milligram, on the other hand, is a minimalist CSS framework designed for better performance and higher productivity with fewer properties to reset resulting in cleaner code. It offers a balance of flexibility and opinionated design, providing a base to build upon without being too prescriptive.

Features of Milligram

  • Simplicity: Milligram is characterized by its simplicity and provides only the essentials for a fast-starting project.
  • Flexbox Grid System: It uses a flexbox grid system for layout which is both powerful and easy to use.
  • Size: At only 2KB gzipped, Milligram is even more lightweight than Pure.css.
  • Typography: Milligram has a strong focus on typography, ensuring that the text is readable and looks good out of the box.

Documentation and Installation

Milligram’s official documentation is comprehensive and easy to follow. To install Milligram, you can download the CSS, use a package manager like npm, or include it through a CDN. Detailed instructions for each method are provided in the documentation.

Popular Add-ons for Milligram

While Milligram is designed to be as minimal as possible, there are a few resources that complement it well:

  • Milligram-themes: A collection of themes for Milligram for different aesthetics.
  • Normalize.css: Often used alongside Milligram to ensure that browsers render all elements more consistently.

Code Samples for Milligram

Here’s an example of a simple layout using Milligram’s grid system:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
    <meta charset="UTF-8">
    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
    <title>Milligram Example</title>
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="//fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Roboto:300,300italic,700,700italic">
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="//cdn.rawgit.com/necolas/normalize.css/master/normalize.css">
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="//cdn.rawgit.com/milligram/milligram/master/dist/milligram.min.css">
    <div class="container">
        <div class="row">
            <div class="column column-33">
                <p>This is a third of the width.</p>
            <div class="column column-33">
                <p>This is another third of the width.</p>
            <div class="column column-33">
                <p>This is the final third of the width.</p>

Now that we have introduced both Pure.css and Milligram, let’s delve into a comparative analysis of their features, use cases, and community support in the next section.

When choosing between Pure.css and Milligram, it’s essential to consider your specific needs and preferences. Both frameworks are excellent choices for projects where simplicity and speed are priorities, but they have distinct characteristics that may sway your decision.

Design Philosophy and Approach

Pure.css is modular, which means you can pick and choose the components you need, potentially reducing the amount of unused CSS on your project. This modularity also allows for easier customization, as you can replace or enhance specific parts of the framework without affecting the rest.

Milligram, while also minimal, takes a slightly different approach. It’s more about providing a solid foundation with a strong emphasis on typography and a clean, modern look. It’s less about modularity and more about starting with a beautiful base that’s already well-designed.

Community and Ecosystem


Pure.css benefits from being built by Yahoo and has a relatively large community for a lightweight framework. It’s widely used and has been around since 2014, which means it has had time to mature and gather a following. This community contributes to a more extensive ecosystem of themes, extensions, and third-party tools.


Milligram is newer and has a smaller community compared to Pure.css. However, it has been growing in popularity due to its extreme minimalism and focus on performance. While the ecosystem around Milligram may not be as vast, it’s sufficient for developers looking for a no-frills, fast-starting point for their projects.

Learning Curve and Ease of Use

Both Pure.css and Milligram are straightforward to learn, especially for those who already have a basic understanding of CSS. The documentation for both frameworks is clear and well-organized, making it easy for new users to get started.

Since Pure.css is modular, there might be a slightly steeper learning curve as developers need to understand which modules to use and how to combine them effectively. However, this modularity also means that developers have more control over the final product.

Milligram’s simplicity means there’s less to learn upfront, and developers can quickly create layouts without needing to write much custom CSS. This can be particularly appealing for beginners or those looking to prototype rapidly.


In terms of performance, both frameworks are lightweight and fast, with Milligram being slightly smaller in file size. However, the difference is marginal and unlikely to have a significant impact on performance for most projects.

Code Samples for Advanced Usage

Pure.css – Custom Button Styles

<button class="pure-button custom-button">Custom Button</button>
.custom-button {
    background-color: #1f8dd6;
    color: white;
    border-radius: 4px;
    padding: 10px 20px;
    font-size: 16px;
    font-weight: bold;
    border: none;
    cursor: pointer;

.custom-button:hover {
    background-color: #166ca5;

Milligram – Typography Scale

<h1>Heading 1</h1>
<h2>Heading 2</h2>
<h3>Heading 3</h3>
<p>This is a paragraph with <strong>bold</strong> text and <em>italic</em> text.</p>
/* Milligram provides a perfect typographic base and you don't need to write custom CSS for text */


Both Pure.css and Milligram offer unique benefits for web developers looking for lightweight, responsive CSS frameworks. Pure.css stands out for its modularity and customization options, while Milligram is ideal for those who value simplicity and a strong typographic foundation.

Ultimately, the choice between Pure.css and Milligram will depend on your project’s specific requirements and your personal preference as a developer. If you need a highly customizable, modular framework, Pure.css may be the way to go. If you prefer a minimalist framework that allows you to get started quickly with a focus on typography, Milligram is an excellent choice.

Regardless of which framework you choose, both Pure.css and Milligram are capable of powering beautiful, modern, and responsive designs that will make your website stand out with minimal effort.

Remember to visit the official websites for Pure.css and Milligram to explore their documentation, installation guides, and community resources. Whether you’re a seasoned developer or just starting out, these frameworks can help streamline your workflow and ensure that your web projects are built on a solid, performant foundation.

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