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Top 10 Responsive Web Design Frameworks

Ben Obear
July 11, 2017

These days, developers should feel challenged to create only apps and websites that will work on all browsers and to use the right framework to allow them to do so. While frameworks are both a personal and practical choice, we've narrowed the wide range of open source responsive frameworks to the 10 that we like best. Have a look and give one of them a try for your next project.

10. Montage

Montage is a responsive web development framework for building scalable web applications that don't skimp on speed. Architect your web applications using modules that deliver an elegant end user experience.

Notable features:

  • Endless libraries and plugins at the Montage Studio
  • Exceptionally easy to learn

9. CreateJS

For what it's worth, CreateJS is an Adobe, Microsoft, and AOL sponsor this project. The aim was to create a framework of open source JavaScript libraries and tools where developers could build interactive HTML5 dream projects.

Notable features:

  • 5 modular JavaScript libraries
  • Tons of great animation effects
  • Supports HTML5 audio

8. Base

Base is a rapid-development oriented HTML5 framework that is nimble and lightweight.

Notable features:

  • Responsive grid system for flowing grid layouts, minus the additional code
  • Native style modules help you focus on function before design
  • Base site is complete with skill-testing modules to help you learn

7. Framework7

Build your app in a manner that mimics the look and feel of Android and iOS with Framework7. Unfortunately, that means it isn't compatible with anything but Apple iOS and Google's Material. Framework7 champions autonomy over everything else.

Notable features:

  • Wireframing and prototyping functionality
  • Ability to build in HTML5 CSS3 and JavaScript

6. SproutCore

SproutCore is one of the oldest on the list, but it still manages to build HTML5 apps faster than most other frameworks here. The MVC architecture pattern helps create native web experiences, no matter where your programming skills are at right now.

Notable features:

  • Support for AppCache and Cordova
  • Ability to change code functions depending on project requirements

5. HTML Kickstart

No longer the new kid, HTML Kickstart covers HTML, CSS, and JavaScript in a way that saves developers of all skill levels a ton of time. It's favored for building native HTML5 wireframes for demo page layouts that take a fraction of the time to create.

Notable features:

  • More elements than most other top frameworks
  • Snappy buttons and navigation bar
  • Font Awesome scalable icons
  • Responsive grid layout
  • Touch slideshow component

4. Sencha Touch

Sencha Touch is one of the most outstanding and noticeably proprietary cross-platform framework packages on the market right now.

Notable features:

  • Over fifty inbuilt User Interface components and templates for all platforms.
  • Ignite apps with content or features using the source of a back-end data root.
  • The default templates make the web or hybrid web/mobile apps seem native to each platform.
  • Built-in visual data tools.

3. Skeleton

As far as CSS boilerplates for HTML5 go, Skeleton lives up to its name with one of the most bare bones experience on the market. For those who want just the tools they need and nothing more, this is a great choice, even for the amateur programmer.

Notable features:

  • Responsive layout grid
  • Responsive image elements that scale with the layout grid
  • A PSD template for the design stage
  • HTML5 shiv for outdated web browsers

2. Foundation

Foundation is a popular responsive framework because it lets you build responsive websites from mobile-to-desktop or vice versa. The team behind Foundation has invested in making this modern responsive design framework reliable and robust for the purposes of rapid prototyping. Custom responsive web applications built with Foundation perform well across high and low-powered mobile devices, so you can be sure your app works as expected for users on any device.

Notable features:

  • Rapid prototyping
  • Responsive grid system
  • Email templates
  • The newly released V6 demonstrates some features that are truly unique to this HTML5 framework.

1. Bootstrap

Bootstrap was popular from day one, but now it's practically a household name among web developers. Twitter developed this modern framework to be like a front-end Swiss Army knife: packed with everything you'll need for developing responsive sites and apps. With its triple threat of usability, flexibility and user-friendliness, it's no wonder so many developers and designers call Bootstrap as their default HTML5 framework.

Notable features:

  • 20%+ of the 100,000 websites on the Internet was founded on Bootstrap.
  • Bootstrap gives us the modern tools we need to build feature-rich web pages without having to do all the upfront heavy lifting yourself.

Bootstrap V4 is on the market now, delivering fourth generation web development and the most modern optimization.

Extra Resources

Because a new batch of frameworks flies onto the market each year it's essential to stay up to date with them and one of our most successful ways of doing so is to engage in communities that are centered around the development community or the products we love. Here are a few of our suggestions for communities that have gotten us all through our toughest builds.

  • StackOverflow — All business and no BS, StackOverflow users will get you reliable answers to your questions, but most important are the discussions about HTML5 news and tech updates and upgrades. When you need the ear-to-the-ground info on new products, this is the spot.
  • Reddit — Reddit's HTML5 board is always buzzing with new tutorials, the latest new articles, and the most controversial opinions. Get your questions answered here, usually with helpful information, but don't expect the entire community to have the no-nonsense attitude that StackOverflow has.
  • HTML5 Bookmarks — HTML5 Bookmarks is a newsflow of everything HTML5. We find the archives infinitely helpful and fairly easy to navigate when you need to find a specific piece of information.
  • HTML5 Weekly — A weekly newsletter that gets sent out to 100,000+ subscribers.
  • DesignInstruct has a table comparing the most popular responsive web design frameworks. However, they have not updated the list since 2013 so it does not reflect all of the names on our list.
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Ben Obear
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