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Twitter's Bootstrap toolkit hits 2.0

When Twitter unveiled Bootstrap in August, the industry responded positively to its ability to give you a head-start with any website's layout. A few months later, when we wrote about toolkits in issue 222 of .net magazine, developers were raving about Twitter's toolkit, using it for prototypes and in-development sites, since Bootstrap gives you good-looking designs from the off.

Today, Bootstrap takes a big step, with the launch of 2.0. We asked Twitter about the revamp, and were sent responses from Mark Otto and Jacob Thornton. According to the pair, the team "decided to treat Bootstrap 2 as a completely new framework, to overhaul our documentation, rewrite nearly every component, and add some new features based on community feedback".

With this in mind, a number of opportunities became clear as the team began development, including: breaking backwards compatibility (per its versioning guidelines) to move the framework forward; shedding legacy and rigid code while simplifying and adding new features; improving access to Bootstrap's toolset for developers of all skill levels; and enabling more and better customisation of Bootstrap.

Community focus

We're told the team "learned a lot about how the community has come to use Bootstrap since it was released six months ago," and it sees version 2.0 as "a natural progression that we hope addresses the community's needs". This focus on responding to the community in part drove new features. "We're super excited about everything in Bootstrap 2. It represents not only the last six months of knowledge we've gained from the work we do during our day jobs, but also the knowledge we've gained from all the awesome folks using and contributing to Bootstrap," said Otto. "Specifically, we're most stoked to see the new Customize page and responsive features go out. These help create a great user experience for developers and end users on both mobile devices and computers."

Other highlights, said the pair, include:

  • A new 12-column, responsive grid system.
  • New table styles with a common base class for improved compatibility with other tools like jQuery UI.
  • New form styles with smarter defaults that require less HTML.
  • Smarter navigation components.
  • New buttons, button groups, and button dropdowns.
  • Simpler alert messages.
  • New JavaScript plug-ins like carousel, collapse, and typeahead.

We're told that Bootstrap will continue to evolve: "Over the coming months, we'll continue to iterate and listen to community feedback, and we'll also work towards internationalising the docs."

Find out more about Bootstrap at its GitHub page, including how to upgrade; also check out Mark Otto's blog post.