I have finished scaffolding the site (Release 1) and now have moved on to the UX and final development phase. After some consideration I decided to use the Twitter Bootstrap framework rather than designing from scratch.
Here is an outline of the analysis which went into my decision…
Bootstrap – Pro’s
- Save ~40 hours of css pain
- Output is better than I could produce (being honest with myself)
- Quicker wins (Can start crossing off pages as being complete and I will feel better about the positive momentum)
- Scaffolding was built using the blueprint framework (based on my experience completing the Rails Tutorial book examples) and a lot of my divs use the “span-x” classes to specify widths so moving to Bootstrap is pretty easy
- Cross-browser compatible out of the box
Bootstrap – Con’s
- Looks like every other site released in the last year
- Spending time customizing which probably could be used writing CSS from scratch
- To do properly requires me to enable the Rails asset pipleine which requires me to read/understand the Rails asset pipeline
In the end the fact that I could save a weeks worth of work and have a better product won out and going with Bootstrap was clearly the best choice for my particular project.
Adding Bootstrap to my Rails app was pretty straight forward. I followed the Twitter Bootstrap Basics Railscast and choose to use the ‘twitter-bootstrap-rails’ gem. If it is good enough for Ryan Bates then it is probably good enough for me. The only issue I had following the directions was that Ryan’s instructions have ‘twitter-bootstrap-rails’ in the assets section of the Gemfile as follows:
group :assets do
Which was giving me errors because Rails wasn’t able to find the Twitter code. Instead of having the ‘twitter-bootstrap-rails’ gem in the assets group I moved it into the main section of the Gemfile and my problems went away.
Next post will have my first screenshot of the site.