Top 5 Lightweight Frontend Frameworks

Since the advent of WordPress, designing websites is not as complicated as it used to be. You don’t need to be a professional coder to be able to lay the structure for a website, since, the basic groundwork in HTML and CSS is readily available.

To make things even simpler, there are designers who offer free and premium themes, developed exclusively for WordPress. Hence, if you know how to buy a domain, setup a host server, install WordPress and load themes, you are well-equipped to create a website.

WordPress offers a default backend Editor that can be used to make all changes to the theme. However, if you are not too comfortable with the idea, you can always opt for a CSS frontend editor.

The CSS frontend development framework makes the entire process quick and hassle-free. The framework can include Java Script, HTML and CSS components depending on the problem that it is expected to solve.

There are numerous frontend frameworks that offer an array of features ranging from simple CSS3 classes for creating functional buttons to designing a complex network of responsive and functional website templates. I will discuss five such frameworks today that strive to solve most of the web design hurdles presented by the modern times.

  1. Foundation

Foundation is a professional Frontend Development Framework developed by Zurb, a web design corporation with over a decade and a half worth of expertise in the web development ecosystem. Zurb claims to have redesigned Foundation with their experiences and knowledge gathered from developing frontend frameworks, and the latest version of Foundation reflects this very experience.

Foundation is one of the most feature-rich frameworks available today, and is capable of designing responsive websites, irrespective of the size and volume, without compromising on speed. The frontend framework operates on a Sass CSS preprocessor and is mobile first.

Some of the features that give Foundation its added edge over the other frontend frameworks include:

  • GPU Acceleration – Foundation supports GPU acceleration, enabling smoother animations.
  • Off-Canvas Navigation – One of the most sought after navigation systems, which is now available out-of-the-box with Foundation.
  • Interchange – The most important feature of Foundation is the data-interchange functionality, using which you can load lightweight HTML sections for mobile viewing and heavyweight HTML sections for viewing on the laptop/desktop. Foundation allows you to choose which HTML code is loaded, depending on the size of the device. The process is similar to the working principle of media queries, which are used to load CSS elements depending on the screen size of the device.
  • js – Another important element adding speed for mobile browsing.


  1. Susy:

Susy is the master gridmaker for all your complex layout needs. If you are willing to devote some time understanding the basics of how grids are built, then Susy is the best framework for you. Even though Susy is not as huge as Foundation, and doesn’t solve all your web designing needs, it does what it’s meant to do, i.e. build grids.

Susy frontend framework does not include ready-to-use grids. Suzy provides mixins as per the needs of your website to help you build grids. You are not restricted to use a pre-decided set of grids, e.g. 12cols or 18cols, etc.

Even though using mixins can be a complicated task at first, you can create a flawless grid network once you get the hang of things. Susy does all the complicated math. All you need to do is utilize the elements the way you want to.


  1. Bootstrap

Bootstrap was developed and released as an open source framework by the developers of Twitter back in 2011. It is the most common frontend framework used today! It utilizes CSS, JS and HTML components to build responsive websites of varying sizes and complexity.

The Bootstrap framework receives regular updates and includes the latest technological advancements, solving the complex problems of modern-day web designing. The framework was recently updated to include the Sass CSS preprocessor, just like Frontend, and Google recently released material design guidelines based on Bootstrap.

Thanks to this initiative, we know have Bootstrap themes that are based on material design. Bootstrap is one of the first frameworks to adapt itself to new web design trends, and you can get started via any of the following links.


  1. Material UI

Material Design is one of the most popular design languages of the modern era and it is expected to remain popular for the next few years, thanks to Google’s constant support and backup. Google recently introduced Material Design guidelines for the web developers, which has also benefitted Bootstrap users, like I mentioned earlier.

The Material UI framework is the pioneer in using Google Material Design and is built on top of a LESS CSS preprocessor packed with React Components. Before starting off with Material UI, you should brush up your knowledge on React Components.

Even though Material UI is not your starting point for a project, it provides CSS and material design components that can be used in your web design project. Some of the useful features available with Material UI includes:

  • Typography – This includes headers, footers and paragraphs in a consistent rhythm.
  • Google Material Design Color Palette – This includes less variables for all the colors.
  • Material Design Elements – This includes Dialogue Box, Date Picker, Icon Buttons, Drop-Down Menu, Icon Left Navigation, Sliders, Paper, Snackbar, Switches, Textfields, Toolbars and Tabs.
  • Customizations – The various styles are segregated into multiple files, which can be called easily to override Less variables, without messing up the components of the framework.

For more details on Material UI, Click Here.


  1. Gumby

Even though it’s not as popular as the other bigshots in my list, I could not keep Gumby out of this list since it has garnered a lot of support in the short span that it has been around. Gumby caters to most of the needs of modern day web designing and the guys at Digital Surgeon have put in a lot of effort behind Gumby.

Gumby is also powered by the Sass CSS preprocessor, which makes it a strong contender to take on Bootstrap and Foundation. Some of the most interesting features of Gumby include:

  • A flexible and visually appealing UI kit with supported templates
  • An uber-responsive semantic grid system that supports nesting

Gumby offers a modern feel for the buttons, forms, navigation, indicators, tooltips, tables, tabs, icons and any design elements that you would need to work with, and everything is customizable. The framework also comes with responsive image and parallax, which creates effects like a breeze!

For more details, visit

Ending Note:

As you can see, there are numerous frontend frameworks that you can choose from, depending on your needs. Every framework offers a list of unique features highlighting its appeal while attempting to solve the numerous web design hurdles presented by the modern times.

Take a look at the Top 5 Lightweight Frontend Frameworks mentioned above and leave your feedback via the Comments Section below. Your suggestions are most welcome, since they will help me improve my next blog. I hope you enjoyed your read. Tada!


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