UIKit vs Pure.css

When it comes to front-end development, CSS frameworks are integral in creating responsive and visually appealing websites. Among the plethora of options available, UIKit and Pure.css stand out for their unique features and ease of use. This article delves into an exhaustive comparison of both frameworks, covering every aspect you need to know to make an informed decision for your next project.

Introduction to UIKit

UIKit is a comprehensive and modular front-end framework designed for developing fast and powerful web interfaces. It provides a wide range of CSS, HTML, and JavaScript components that are ready-to-use and can be easily customized. The framework is built with LESS and provides a well-structured codebase with a focus on both simplicity and extensibility.

Key Features of UIKit

  • Modularity: Components can be included individually, allowing developers to pick and choose the parts they need.
  • Customization: Offers LESS variables and mixins for easy theming and modification.
  • Responsive Design: Comes with a responsive grid system and components that adapt to different screen sizes.
  • Animation: Provides a collection of animations that can be applied to UI elements.
  • Extensibility: Can be extended with themes and add-ons to fit the specific needs of a project.

Documentation and Installation

The documentation for UIKit is comprehensive and well-organized, making it easy for developers to find the information they need. You can access the documentation here.

To install UIKit, you can either download it from the UIKit homepage or use a package manager like npm:

npm install uikit

Popular Third-Party Addons or Libraries

  • UIkit Icons: Adds additional vector icons.
  • UIkit Themes: Various themes to change the look of your UIkit application.

Introduction to Pure.css

Pure.css, often referred to as Pure, is a minimalistic CSS framework developed by Yahoo. Its core philosophy is to provide the bare essentials needed to start laying out a web page without the additional bloat that can come with more extensive frameworks.

Key Features of Pure.css

  • Minimalist: Pure is designed to be small and fast, with a minimal footprint.
  • Mobile-Friendly: It’s responsive out of the box, with a mobile-first approach.
  • CSS Base: Pure provides styles for native HTML elements, making it easy to integrate with other frameworks or custom styles.
  • Modular: The framework is divided into modules, so you can include only what you need.

Documentation and Installation

Pure.css offers straightforward documentation that can be found on its official website. The installation process is simple and can be done via multiple methods, including direct download or using a CDN.

To install Pure.css using npm, you can run the following command:

npm install purecss

Popular Third-Party Addons or Libraries

Since Pure.css is minimal by design, it does not have a wide range of third-party add-ons or libraries. However, it’s easy to integrate with other tools and libraries due to its simplicity.

UIKit vs Pure.css: Comparing Code Samples

Responsive Grid

Both frameworks offer responsive grid systems. Here’s how you can create a simple responsive layout with each.

UIKit Grid Example

<div class="uk-grid-match uk-child-width-1-3@m" uk-grid>
        <div class="uk-card uk-card-default uk-card-body">Item 1</div>
        <div class="uk-card uk-card-default uk-card-body">Item 2</div>
        <div class="uk-card uk-card-default uk-card-body">Item 3</div>

Pure.css Grid Example

<div class="pure-g">
    <div class="pure-u-1 pure-u-md-1-3">
        <div class="l-box">Item 1</div>
    <div class="pure-u-1 pure-u-md-1-3">
        <div class="l-box">Item 2</div>
    <div class="pure-u-1 pure-u-md-1-3">
        <div class="l-box">Item 3</div>


Creating buttons in both frameworks is straightforward, with classes provided for styling.

UIKit Button Example

<button class="uk-button uk-button-default">Default</button>
<button class="uk-button uk-button-primary">Primary</button>

Pure.css Button Example

<button class="pure-button">Default</button>
<button class="pure-button pure-button-primary">Primary</button>

In this first half of the article, we have introduced both UIKit and Pure.css, highlighting their key features, documentation, installation methods, and provided code samples for common components like grids and buttons. In the following sections, we will continue to explore more components, customization options, performance considerations, community support, and real-world applications of each framework. Stay tuned for an in-depth analysis that will further assist you in choosing the right CSS framework for your project.

Customization and Theming

Both UIKit and Pure.css allow for customization, but they approach it differently due to their distinct philosophies.

UIKit Customization

UIKit is built with LESS, which makes theming straightforward if you’re familiar with the preprocessor. You can override the default variables and utilize mixins to style components to fit your brand or design requirements.

Here’s an example of customizing a button in UIKit using LESS:

@primary-color: #4c9f70;

.uk-button-primary {
    background-color: @primary-color;
    &:hover {
        background-color: darken(@primary-color, 10%);

Pure.css Customization

Pure.css does not come with a preprocessor-based theming system. Instead, you override styles by writing your own CSS. This means you have full control over the styles but might have to write more code compared to using LESS variables and mixins.

Here’s an example of customizing a button in Pure.css using CSS:

.pure-button-primary {
    background-color: #1a8cff;
    border-radius: 4px;
    color: #fff;
    &:hover {
        background-color: darken(#1a8cff, 10%);

Performance Considerations

When choosing a CSS framework, it’s important to consider the impact on performance, especially regarding file size and load times.

UIKit Performance

UIKit is larger in size compared to Pure.css due to its extensive set of components and features. This can potentially lead to longer load times, especially if you include the entire framework. However, UIKit’s modularity allows you to include only the components you need, which can mitigate performance issues.

Pure.css Performance

Pure.css is known for its minimalistic approach, resulting in a smaller footprint. This can lead to faster load times and better performance, particularly for simple websites that don’t require complex UI components.

Community Support and Resources

A strong community can provide additional resources, support, and plugins that can enhance a framework’s capabilities.

UIKit Community

UIKit has a fairly active community with a number of resources available:

  • GitHub Repository: Developers can contribute to the framework or report issues.
  • Gitter Chat: A place for the community to discuss and help each other with UIKit-related topics.
  • Custom Themes and Extensions: There are various themes and extensions created by the community that you can leverage for your projects.

Pure.css Community

Pure.css, being a project initiated by Yahoo, has a strong foundation but a smaller community compared to more extensive frameworks like UIKit:

  • GitHub Repository: Similar to UIKit, you can contribute or report issues on Pure.css’s GitHub repository.
  • Discussion Forums: There are fewer dedicated forums for Pure.css, but web development communities like Stack Overflow have discussions related to it.

Real-World Applications

When choosing between UIKit and Pure.css, it’s helpful to consider what types of projects each framework is best suited for.

When to Use UIKit

UIKit is well-suited for complex projects that require a wide range of UI components and extensive customization options. It’s ideal for developers who prefer a more guided approach with ready-made components that can be customized with preprocessor languages like LESS.

When to Use Pure.css

Pure.css is perfect for projects that require a lightweight, fast-loading framework. It’s a great choice for creating simple, responsive layouts without the need for extensive UI components. Developers who prefer to write more of their own CSS or those working on smaller projects may find Pure.css to be the better option.


Both UIKit and Pure.css offer unique advantages for web development. UIKit provides a comprehensive set of components and customization options, making it suitable for more complex projects. On the other hand, Pure.css offers a minimalist and performance-focused approach, ideal for simpler web pages and applications.

Ultimately, the choice between UIKit and Pure.css will depend on the specific needs of your project, your familiarity with CSS preprocessors, and the level of customization you require. By considering the features, customization options, performance, community support, and real-world applications outlined in this article, you can make an informed decision that best aligns with your web development goals.

For additional information and to get started with either framework, visit the official UIKit homepage and Pure.css homepage. Whether you choose UIKit or Pure.css, both frameworks can help streamline your front-end development process and enhance the user experience of your web applications.

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