If you are a web developer, you will know, how the user interface is important to a website. The Look and feel and the navigation in a website is very important for attracting the users and keep them returning to your website.
In the past you have to develop a user interface framework for your website. Nowadays there are several easy ways to develop a website. There are several Content Management Systems (CMS). Every CMS have a huge collection of themes to choose from. We can just install the CMS, apply a theme, if needed do some customization to the theme and get the website up and running in minutes.
But for some commercial websites, existing CMS and themes are not enough. So you may need to develop the website from scratch. Even in that case, there are several open source user interface frameworks available. Few of the popular once are Twitter Bootstrap, Zurb Foundation, JQuery.UI, etc..
You can choose one of these UI framework for your website development. These UI frameworks makes your life easy in designing the user interface of your website. As they are open source, you can customize them for your need.
Choosing the UI framework which fits your need is the most difficult part. There are many UI frameworks out on the web. You may need to spend some time to compare their features and find the one which will support your web development language, scripting language and other requirements like grids, etc..
Bootstrap is developed by some programmers at Twitter. It’s one among the popular open source UI Frameworks. Choosing this will be a good options if you are expecting a good community support. You can download bootstrap and find its documentation at Twitter Bootstrap. As I’m in .net programming, naturally I have the tendency to look for its support with .net framework. I found several asp.net mvc and asp.net packages at nuget.org. Among them Twitter.Bootstrap.MVC looks popular with most of the downloads. Read the article Twitter Bootstrap Packages for Visual Studio for some more information on the options of using bootstrap with Microsoft Visual Studio for .Net web Applications. Read my other articles Twitter Bootstrap with ASP.NET (List of Articles) and Twitter Bootstrap with ASP.NET MVC 4 for the details on creating ASP.NET Web Forms and MVC applications with Bootstrap.
Zurb Foundation is another popular UI framework. Both foundation and bootstrap has similar features. But bootstrap looks more popular as it is from Twitter. Zurb Foundation claims that it’s the first responsive UI framework. The options for downloading Zurb Foundation library is available here. There are good documentation on the website itself. There are several foundation packages available at nuget.org which is compatible with ASP.NET MVC. Foundation3_MVC4 is one among them. foundation packages for .net has less downloads compared to bootstrap at nuget.org. I wrote few basic instructional articles on using Zurb Foundation with Dot Net. It may help you as a first step to start using Foundation with .Net web applications (Read More…).
jQuery UI is another popular UI framework. It is very good for old browsers, where as the above tow frameworks are good in new browsers. So choosing this jQuery UI depends on the end user’s environment. You can download the latest version from JQuery.UI. jQuery UI packages are also available at nuget.org. The articles jQuery UI with ASP.NET – Step by Step Instruction and jQuery UI with ASP.NET – Sample Source Code will help you to create your first ASP.NET Web Forms application using JQuery.UI.
Knockout JS is another user interface framework based on Java Script. The advantage of using Knockout JS, is having a clean UI layout with MVVM model. Using Knockout JS is a good choice when your user interface changes often or dynamically. You can get more details about Knockout JS from knockoutjs.com.