Finished Scaffolding, Going with Twitter Bootstrap

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:

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.