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Bootstrap, the wildly popular front-end framework for web development, launched version 3 this week, promising to make it easier to develop responsive websites that look great whether viewed on a phone, tablet or desktop screen.

bootstrap_logoFor web developers familiar with Bootstrap, version 3 is a fairly major change. They’ve totally revamped the grid system and gone all-responsive. The fixed grid is gone, replaced with four new grids for phones, tablets, desktops and large desktop screens, enabling a seemingly endless variety of layout possibilities as your screen size scales up or down.

Bootstrap 3 has also jumped on the “flat design” bandwagon with a new look and feel for its buttons, navbars and other components. They’ve jettisoned support for the problematic IE7 and Firefox 3.6 as well.

Bootstrap has only been around for two years and originally started as an internal project at Twitter by Mark Otto (@mdo) and Jacob Thornton (@fat), who have since left the social media giant. It has rocketed in popularity to become the most watched/forked open source project on Github. If you’ve visited any “modern” looking responsive websites lately, chances are decent that you’ve been to a site built with Bootstrap. Meanpath actually measured that 1% of the 150 million websites they index use the framework.

Bootstrap has its detractors, many of which lament the “sameness” that it spreads across the web when folks don’t customize it. However, it is hard to deny its utility, and it’s not that hard to customize it to stand out from the crowd.

In a fit of frustration (and cheapness) in trying to find a new web developer, I adopted it for our real estate site and ended up being able to do a bunch of web design independently. The last thing I had time for was worrying about CSS for a responsive grid, media queries, breakpoints, menu bars, etc. Looking forward to trying out version 3 for some better layout options for small screens, but unfortunately, this launch has just burned a few of my weekends.

You can check out the latest version at

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