Updated on January 4, 2022
Every type of application needs a logical layout, impressive and eye-catching design, and an intuitive, user-friendly experience. Without them, visitors won't meaningfully engage with the end product. While making a site like that sounds complicated, the truth is that you can build a project that meets all this criteria with React-Bootstrap. Learn how this component library simplifies the front-end web development process while designing your next great website.
A Closer Look at Bootstrap vs. React
Before diving into how they operate with their powers combined, let’s go over the basic features and benefits of Bootstrap and React as separate libraries.
What is Bootstrap?
Developers like Bootstrap because it’s easy to use, incredibly flexible, easily accessible, and it comes with a lot of themes, so they don’t have to worry so much about getting the design right. At the same time, designers like working with Bootstrap because the custom themes provide a good foundation to build on, or they can use whichever components make sense for their specific design needs.
Bootstrap is also compatible with a wide variety of browsers. This means developers can trust that websites and applications will show up as intended, regardless of a person’s preferred browser. Ideal for creating mobile-first projects, Bootstrap’s framework scales to any device type of various shapes and sizes. Combined with its grid system, developers can see exactly how the site or page components will align.
Another reason people like Bootstrap is that it's FREE. This vast library of components is hosted and maintained on GitHub and is available to everyone, making it easy for developers to find and use the components they need and quickly move onto projects without having to write tons of new code.
What is React?
The faster and more streamlined process makes React an efficient and hassle-free way to design and implement changes to UI. Developers can change data and React will update specific components accordingly. And as House noted in his webinar, React was designed to “learn it once and write it everywhere,” which is used in web pages, desktop applications, mobile apps, blogs, etc.
What Is React-Bootstrap?
The React-Bootstrap framework retains the Bootstrap stylesheet at its core. Because of this, React-Bootstrap is compatible with many existing Bootstrap themes. This isn’t just a nice-to-have feature; considering the huge number of websites built using Bootstrap, this compatibility is imperative to maintaining a consistent appearance across your site or app.
Because this is one of React’s most well-established libraries, the React and Bootstrap technologies have evolved together to create a reliable and solid starting point for UI development and design. The combination of the two entities allows developers to efficiently create responsive, mobile-first websites that meet user expectations in terms of functionality, reactiveness, and usability.
When should use React-Bootstrap vs Bootstrap alone?
Common React-Bootstrap terminology
There are a few words you’ll see over and over again in React-Bootstrap discussions. And because there’s always a lot to learn, it never hurts to get a quick refresher on tech terminology so you can keep up in conversation.
A cloud-based collection of components that can be accessed and reused by web developers. Components are the elements used to build a website’s front-end, or the page we see when we’re online.
CDN (Content Delivery Network)
DOM (Document Object Model)
This is a “programming interface for web documents,” as explained by Mozilla. Essentially, this is where programs can make alterations to a page’s data, such as the structure or style.
npm (Node Package Manager)
How do I install React-Bootstrap?
The React-Bootstrap site recommends installing React-Bootstrap by way of npm package. From there, you can import individual components as needed instead of importing the entire library. This cuts down on the amount of code you or anyone else working on the project will have to deal with.
When should I use React-Bootstrap?
The variety and depth of available components is one of the biggest advantages of React-Bootstrap. These components are what take a web page or app from simply being informational to being an interactive experience. Check out the following React-Bootstrap components and see if they could work on your next project.
Accordion lets you put a lot of information on your page without overwhelming the reader with huge blocks of text. Each “accordion fold” reveals information when selected and can be selected again to close it up.
Nobody likes getting lost. Not in real life, and especially not when doing something as simple as navigating a website. Breadcrumbs offer a simple and clear way of showing the user exactly where they are on your site, as well as the path that took them there.
Behold the navbar, perhaps the most important aspect of any good web page. The navbar isn’t just functional; it can be used as a branding tool as well. With so many different options for positioning, composition, colorways, and menu selections, the navbar can set the tone for the page.
While you shouldn’t use every possible component option, your project might require more than you realize. Take time to experiment with different layouts and make note of what creates a pleasantly memorable user interface — and which layouts should never happen again.
Learn more about React-bootstrap
If you’re going to create on the web, you should know how to build with one of the most-used frameworks on the internet. Learn more about the fundamentals of the latest version of Bootstrap or check out other web development courses. Pluralsight’s vast library offers articles, classes, webinars, and podcasts to learn more about these website building blocks and a ton more.
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