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Bootstrap vs Reactjs For Front End Development: A Definitive Comparison

 

While web applications are common on large-scale enterprises like social media platforms, they are gaining more popularity than ever among contemporary IT-based companies too. Most web applications do not require a troublesome installation process and they are easy to access. A web application should be comprehensive, easy to browse through and initiate sales conversions if required. This calls for the need for a powerful and interactive user interface in which users can not only enjoy solid functionality, but also a soothing user experience that prompts its reuse. Such a UI involves visual features and components such as captivating designs, catchy fonts, reactive elements, and so on.

 

A good front-end development framework helps you achieve these objectives, but the question is, which one is the best for you? With almost a dozen popular frameworks on the market, most of them even being open-source, how do you decide which one is the best to build your web application? Let’s take two of the most popular frameworks, Bootstrap and Reactjs, and compare them in various aspects of the development process.

 

The Basics

 Reactjs, launched in 2013, is an open-source Javascript library primarily maintained by Facebook and a massive community of developers. Strictly speaking, it’s not a front-end development platform in the technical sense but most developers rely on it for front-end development. Reactjs is based on pure vanilla Javascript and consists of independent and reusable entities known as components. A developer can build and use components as they fit to form a tree-based web structure and thereby develop complex UI designs.

 

Developed at Twitter and launched in 2011, Bootstrap is also open-source but unlike Reactjs, it contains HTML and CSS-based design templates. These templates enable a developer to try out different variations of typography, navigation, and forms. The basic entity in this framework is called a container, which consists of HTML codes and CSS declarations and these containers are combined into a row and column-based format, or commonly called a grid layout, to develop UIs. Bootstrap also has javascript components in the form of jQuery plugins.

 

Bootstrap vs React.js: Which is Better?

 Both frameworks have their pros and cons, and it is ultimately the judgment of the developer to decide which one to use for the development of the website. While Bootstrap completely wins over Reactjs in some aspects, there are situations in which the use of the latter is inevitable.

 

Popularity

While Bootstrap is popular for its usage in responsive websites across different platforms, Reactjs is primarily used for single-page web applications with complex UX/UI designs. Bootstrap is known for its responsiveness and consistency whereas React.js excels at performance and reusability. In other words, React.js makes users marvel at your web application’s interface while Bootstrap considerably improves the responsiveness of the same.

 

Requirements 

You can choose which framework to use based on your website requirements. Bootstrap enables you to develop a good UI for a multi-page website application in a very short time. So if you’re working on a tight schedule with less emphasis on the design and look, Bootstrap works perfectly for you by giving you a functional UI and saving you a lot of time.

On the other hand, the presence of reusable components and an immense library of Javascript files enables a developer to make stunning UIs with Reactjs, specifically for dynamic single-page applications (SPAs).

 

Responsiveness

Users access a web application not just from a desktop anymore. Bootstrap is built to be compatible with any size of the screen on which your web application is viewed. This makes Bootstrap is a hot choice for applications that needs to be highly responsive across various platforms. Bootstrap is said to be more compatible with all the leading browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. Additional efforts are to be taken for the UI to be responsive if you’re using React.js. So if you want your web application to be mobile-first, Bootstrap would be a better option.

 

Integration 

Bootstrap can be integrated with other platforms like Ant Design and Ember.js, allowing the developer to use Bootstrap plugins and components that are friendly with other platforms as well. This allows the developer to make use of the functionalities of different platforms and frameworks at the same time. Meanwhile, React.js can be integrated only with React Native.

React.js has an in-build module of Bootstrap within itself called react-bootstrap, which replaces Bootstrap JavaScript and enabling the developer not to be dependant on plugins like jQuery. The developer can also access the Bootstrap plugins with react-bootstrap.

 

Server-Side and Client-Side UIs

Bootstrap is commonly used to develop client-side user interfaces that allow fast loading. The browser saves the information as the user scrolls through the web application. Bootstrap UI works best for sites that are repeatedly accessed by the user.

React.js uses server-side rendering. Even though the initial loading time is comparatively higher, the browser does not have to send continuous requests to the server, which makes the application faster during dynamic use.

 

Performance

React uses an API called Document Object Model (DOM) that allows programmatic access to the necessary HTML and XML documents. This facilitates loading speed and further application maintenance. Bootstrap primarily focuses on improving the visual style as well as the responsiveness of the application.

 

SEO Friendliness

Google crawlers are generally slow to download and render JavaScript files, which makes it tough for web applications built on React.js to be indexed. But with additional techniques like pre-rendering and server-side rending, a developer can overcome these limitations. On the other hand, Bootstrap is predominantly HTML and CSS which makes with comparatively easier to be indexed by the search engine crawlers.

 

Final Thoughts

Bootstrap lets you work fast with tons of features and codes to improve your web application visually and you end up with a multi-page, SEO friendly web application that is highly responsive across all platforms and browsers. Meanwhile, React.js enables you to develop a fast, dynamic, and powerful single-page web application with an impressive UI. Choosing a front-end development framework is purely subjective and is completely based on the requirements of the web application you need to build.

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