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Book Review: Extending Bootstrap

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the read-all-about-it dept.

Books 27

First time accepted submitter ericnishio (3641743) writes "Extending Bootstrap is a concise, step by step manual that introduces some of the best practices on how to customize Twitter Bootstrap for your projects. As the title suggests, you will be learning how to extract the good parts of Bootstrap to create a fully customized package. But be advised: the book is not for beginners." Read below for ericnishio's review.As a frontend developer who has been working closely with Bootstrap for nearly three years, I would like to point out that the book is certainly not an entry-level guide for novice frontend developers. The preface clearly states this fact by mentioning that the book is intended for intermediate and advanced developers. You are expected to be acquainted with Bootstrap and its applications before delving further into the customization work. To fully appreciate the book, you should already have a solid grasp of CSS, LESS, JavaScript, jQuery, and HTML.

Extending Bootstrap is a fresh addition to the Bootstrap library. Rather than reiterating what other guides and books have said about Bootstrap, Extending Bootstrap distinctly offers an alternative perspective from a contributor's point of view. That is, you will not be told extensively what Bootstrap can be used for, or what kinds of element styles, components and jQuery plugins are available to you. Instead, you will learn how to take those parts, develop your own custom variations of them, and build a fully branded package for your frontend application, ultimately in the form of a unique Bootswatch theme.

Some of the things you will be walked through deal with how to use Bootstrap themes, handpick suitable Bootstrap components, resize the grid, alter Bootstrap variables with LESS, automatically compile LESS files into CSS with Node.js and Grunt, extend Bootstrap's jQuery plugins, and create your own Bootswatch theme. Each section is explored individually and you are also provided with alternative techniques along the way.

All of the techniques are covered one step at a time, but some parts may cause confusion if you have no previous experience with the tools. If you are unfamiliar with Grunt configurations (and although the tutorial does supply an example configuration that works out of the box) the section that deals with automated LESS compilation can be puzzling at first glance. But in case you are interested to know the nuts and bolts of a Gruntfile inside out, you will have to do some independent research on the side.

Overall, Extending Bootstrap adopts a very conversational and informal tone, which is positively welcome. You do not feel as if you were analyzing an academic treatise. The author speaks and delivers assistance directly to you. Christoffer Niska is a seasoned developer whom I have had the privilege of learning from and collaborating with, whose meticulous attention to precision and simplicity can be clearly observed in this manual as well. The book remains faithful to this minimalist methodology and does not try to cover anything that would not be relevant or useful in the context.

Despite its brevity, the book provides many practical code examples throughout the tutorials, supported by screenshots for visual representations of what is produced by the code. Although the examples are helpful for understanding the concepts, the lengthier blocks of code can become cumbersome to follow due to lack of highlighting on the important parts. The quality of the printed grayscale screenshots could also use some refinement.

If you choose to follow the book interactively—that is, reading while doing the exercises—you will need to have a Mac, Windows or Linux development environment in your employ. No other software licenses are required since you will be strictly utilizing open source tools, such as Node.js, Grunt, and Bootstrap itself.

To support and augment the concepts established in the book, Niska also provides a number of links to technical articles for further perusal. I encourage you to check the annotations and study the supporting material that is available for free.

What I would have wanted to read more about is the advised usages of Bootstrap variables and mixins in your LESS files, as opposed to explicitly using Bootstrap's stock classes in HTML. Following this method makes your stylesheets more semantic as well as portable since you are decoupling Bootstrap's CSS classes from your HTML and building your custom classes with the mixins provided by Bootstrap. You might argue that this is beyond the scope of the book, but I regard it as an important detail when bearing extensibility in mind.

To get a thorough picture of the contents of the book, I suggest you head over to the publisher's website for a complete table of contents as well as information on availability and purchasing. Extending Bootstrap is currently available as a printed book as well as an electronic download.

Eric Nishio is a frontend developer who also likes to blog about self-education on his blog Self-Learner.

You can purchase Extending Bootstrap from amazon.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews (sci-fi included) -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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I'm gonna be that guy (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46921353)

There is no definition of "Bootstrap" in TFS. Fire the "editors"!

Re:I'm gonna be that guy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46921393)

But this is a tech site. You are supposed to know about everything, or we'll replace you with some BRICs.

Re:I'm gonna be that guy (-1, Flamebait)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 7 months ago | (#46921399)

Bootstrap means exactly what it means. What's so hard to understand about that [templatemonster.com] ?

Re:I'm gonna be that guy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46923307)

Flamebait, really? Some moderators are fucking idiots.

Re:I'm gonna be that guy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46921657)

How can the first post be modded Redundant?

Re:I'm gonna be that guy (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 7 months ago | (#46925843)

It's useless, just like every other FP.

Re:I'm gonna be that guy (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46923455)

When I read the headline, I assumed software bootstrapping.

Wiki: As a computing term, bootstrap has been used since at least 1953 (Buchholz, Werner (1953). "The System Design of the IBM Type 701 Computer". Proceedings of the I.R.E. 41 (10): 1273.)

Re:I'm gonna be that guy (4, Informative)

clifyt (11768) | about 7 months ago | (#46923657)

Since everyone else is being an asshole about this:

http://getbootstrap.com/ [getbootstrap.com]

It is Twitter's CSS framework. I use it for a lot of quick projects because I just need things to work and want to focus on the software, not making things look pretty (i.e., internal projects!)

Hope that helps.

All I read from the summary is (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46921387)

Bloat, bloat, bloat, bloated library, more bloat.

I find it sad that projects requires two megabytes of code before you even get started, and require bleeding-edge processors for things to run smoothly.

Re:All I read from the summary is (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46921403)

Hear hear. If I can't load in on a PDP-8 from a punch card, what use is it?

Re:All I read from the summary is (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46921817)

My point is, there's still people out there using Pentium 4-era Celeron PCs, iPhone 3GS, first-generation Android tablets with single-core CPUs, etc.

And downloading all that shit via dial-up for PCs and Edge for smartphones, too.

Re:All I read from the summary is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46923041)

You do not write a modern web application for users of dial up.

Re:All I read from the summary is (0)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 7 months ago | (#46923323)

You do not get to decide who views your content on which device.

Re:All I read from the summary is (1)

xevioso (598654) | about 7 months ago | (#46923827)

Actually, I do; it's quite easy to target any browser on any platform. A nifty

body {
  display:none !important;
}

will allow me to make you unable to view my site if I don't like your device.

Re:All I read from the summary is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46926803)

body {
  display:none !important;
}

Yeah man, I have been using that to hide my victims ever since CSS1 came out.

Re:All I read from the summary is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46924301)

Ain't my job to upgrade your shit for you. If it don't work on your ancient bullshit...deal with it unless you're offering a pile of cash to offset the cost of supporting said ancient bullshit.

Re:All I read from the summary is (2)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 7 months ago | (#46921823)

Punchcard - bah... Real men do it with a row of toggle switches.

Re:All I read from the summary is (1)

Nethead (1563) | about 7 months ago | (#46924573)

Hah! Fancy toggle switches. We had momentary contact switches for both the data bus and the address bus. Took three hearty men and a coxswain to load the code for the paper-tape reader. One man on the data bus, two on the address bus (though the man on the most significant byte had it pretty easy) and the coxswain would call out the bits and hit the load button. One year our team loaded a 3548 byte moon lander program in just under three minutes and twelve seconds. Made state finals that year only to be bested by a nine man team that touched pull-down resistors directly to the CPU pins. Boy those guys had dainty but quick fingers.

Obama lied, patients died (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46921443)

Obamacare - lies on top of lies. You cannot keep your plan, you cannot keep your doctor, you will pay more, not vase $2500... and on and on it goes.

Democrats just can't stop lying and stealing... thanks so much for voting for this shit.

http://www.reviewjournal.com/politics/own-small-business-brace-obamacare-pain

"The changes put as many as 90,000 policies across Nevada at risk of cancellation or nonrenewal this fall, said Las Vegas insurance broker William Wright, president of Chamber Insurance and Benefits. That’s more than three times the 25,000 enrollees affected in October, when Obamacare-compliant plans first hit the market.

Some workers are at higher risk than others of losing company-sponsored coverage. Professional, white-collar companies such as law or engineering firms will bite the bullet and renew at higher prices because they need to compete for scarce skilled labor, Nolimal said.

But moderately skilled or low-skilled people making $8 to $14 an hour working for landscaping businesses, fire-prevention firms or fencing companies could lose work-based coverage because the plans cost so much relative to salaries."

Re:Obama lied, patients died (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46921509)

moderately skilled or low-skilled people making $8 to $14 an hour working for landscaping businesses, fire-prevention firms or fencing companies could lose work-based coverage

These are exactly the Obamites that voted for this. Maybe next time you'll know better than to vote for Santa Claus government.

Packt Book Link (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46923539)

Publisher's website link for more information: http://www.packtpub.com/extend... [packtpub.com]

Re:Packt Book Link (1)

Kawahee (901497) | about 7 months ago | (#46924135)

To get a thorough picture of the contents of the book, I suggest you head over to the LOOK HERE HERE HERE publisher's website HERE HERE HERE LOOK for a complete table of contents as well as information on availability and purchasing. Extending Bootstrap is currently available as a printed book as well as an electronic download.

WTF is Bootstrap? (3, Informative)

Nethead (1563) | about 7 months ago | (#46924699)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B... [wikipedia.org]

Bootstrap is a free collection of tools for creating websites and web applications. It contains HTML and CSS-based design templates for typography, forms, buttons, navigation and other interface components, as well as optional JavaScript extensions. It is the No.1 project on GitHub with 65,000+ stars and 23,800 forks (as of March 2014) and has been used by NASA and MSNBC, among many others

So it's not how to get your 8080 [wikipedia.org] to see the 8250 UART [wikipedia.org] so you can load a Microsoft BASIC [computerhistory.org] from paper tape from your Model 33 ASR. [wikipedia.org]

Nice slashvertising. No, just kidding. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46926969)

It was pretty bad actually, didn't even get beyond the second line of TFS.

LESS? that's a new one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46927227)

I assume they're not talking about the GNU Linux pager that replaced more. I've been doing web development since 1994 and have never heard of LESS.

Re:LESS? that's a new one (2)

Molt (116343) | about 7 months ago | (#46927483)

LESS is a CSS pre-processor, adding useful things such as variables and extensions to the syntax without breaking things as it compiles down to vanilla CSS at the end. http://lesscss.org/ [lesscss.org]

Extending? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46930729)

You should make bootstrap faster, not extend it!

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