Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Stuck selecting a Front End, or, seriously, batman.js? Part 2

I need to pick a Front End for WhatNext, the nihilistic task manager. Specifically, I want to make the forms prettier, and to be able to drag and drop tasks in order to re-prioritize them. I have been building on a "stack" of pre-existing tools, from Linux and PostGreSQL at the back end to nginx and Django in the middle. These tools let me do things like define what data will be used in my program, how data will relate to other table, and define how users can enter data. And I reach sideways to other tools, mainly to Toggl, so that I can click a button in WhatNext and have a timer start in Toggl. But now I need a better front end. Roughly speaking, this is the technology that makes websites pretty and shiny.

Django's third-party modules include Bootstrap and Foundation integration, so I tried that, and neither of them worked that well. By which I mean, I followed the instructions to add each one, reloaded my web page that should now be nice and shiny, and got the second most common programming outcome: nothing happened. A bunch of debugging and trying to follow contradictory instructions led to partial results, but certainly neither of them were really "turnkey" or "out of the box". So, let's consider 10 Lightweight Alternatives To Bootstrap & Foundation, judging each one by its tagline or, in one special case, by its icon.

  1. [Skeleton is a] dead simple, responsive boilerplate.
  2. Cardinal is a modular, “mobile-first” CSS framework built with performance and scalability in mind.

    [Although I'll note that Cardinal can be rejected a priori:

    Nope. I'm not going to share a Responsive Front End Mobile-First Grid with this guy:
  3. A better front-end framework.
    Give up the bloat. Stop tripping over your classes. Be Concise.
  4. [PowerToCSS] A versatile CSS Framework. Simple, light and responsive!
  5. Furtive
    A forward-thinking, CSS micro-framework (3.92kB gzipped).
  6. Basscss
    Low-level CSS Toolkit
  7. MUELLER is a modular grid system for responsive/adaptive and non–responsive layouts, based on Compass. You have full control over column width, gutter width, baseline grid and media–queries.
  8. [Tuktuk] A new smart kid on the Responsive block...
    ... Not trying to compete with Bootstrap or Foundation because they play in another league.
  9. [Base] A super simple, responsive framework built for all devices big, small and in-between
  10. Toast
    Insane, no-nonsense CSS grid
Which of these should I pick? Do I want to be Furtive, Consise, or Toast? Do I want my system to be unbloated, insane, dead-simple, modular, or forward-thinking?   The best answer is probably to Choose Boring Technology. Next post, let's try that.

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