CSS front-end frameworks come in all shapes and sizes. The packages contain pre-written standardized code, saving time and headaches on web development projects. You can be assured that everything works the way it should because the code has been pre-tested. It’s also easier to meet project deadlines because you can begin working in the framework right away.

Even with all of the choices available, most web development needs can be met with just a few frameworks. Below, we share the most popular front-end frameworks and the benefits to know about.

Bootstrap: Endless resources, simplified web development.

Bootstrap is the most popular front-end framework. It continues to grow and offer new features that will take your web projects from good to incredible. There are many resources available to help build better websites, including tutorials, extensions, theme builders and plugins. Bootstrap is an excellent choice for beginner and seasoned web developers.

Foundation by ZURB: Responsive, flexible, customizable.

Foundation is at the top of the list because it, too, can be found everywhere. Facebook, Ebay and Yahoo all use Foundation. What makes this front-end framework a strong contender is its responsiveness. You can start with mobile and layer in more complexity as you wish. Foundation is also completely customizable.

Pure, by Yahoo!: Small footprint, fully customizable.

Pure is written in CSS and offers a basic style that is best suited for people who don’t need an entire framework. With Pure, you can add specific components to your work such as buttons, grids, tables, forms and menus. The benefit is that the modules are small and lightweight, so they won’t get in the way of your work.

Semantic UI: Readable code, highly semantic.

As its name implies, Semantic UI is focused on making websites more semantic. Unlike Bootstrap and Foundation, Semantic UI is highly innovative. At first, it can feel a bit more complicated because of the concise HTML that is used, taking things like word order and plurality into consideration. Fortunately, there are many resources to help you get started.

What the Best Frameworks Share

To ensure that your project moves along smoothly, it’s important to start with the best framework. There are similarities that the top front-end frameworks share with each other. Let’s recap.

  • Popularity. The more popular a framework is, the more resources it will have available. You can find tutorials, articles, examples and third-party extensions to help you along the way. Plus, a framework that is widely used is less likely to phase out, offering greater stability.

  • Regularly updated. The CSS frameworks listed above continue to be updated with the latest features and technologies. Expect them to offer the right balance of customization, responsiveness and semantics.

  • Real-world proof. It can be fun to play around with some frameworks, but to use them in professional projects is a different thing. The best frameworks are those that have been tested and used successfully in the real world.

  • Customization. Some frameworks are more specific than others, so be careful when choosing one for your project. It’s better to have a generic framework that can be customized to your needs than one that is too narrow.

If you still can’t find what you need, consider mixing and matching different frameworks to achieve the results you want.