An example of an 8 module homepage.
An example of an 8 module homepage.
I started playing around with Bootstrap in 2015 when I didn’t understand what Bootstrap was or why a web designer would build websites using Bootstrap. Since then, I have built 6 Bootstrap sites and can now give five broad reasons to choose Bootstrap as a theme/framework for building a website.
Five Benefits of Bootstrap
The first benefit of Bootstrap is speed of web site development. As a web designer and/or programmer, you don’t code to reinvent the wheel. Hundreds of developers have already contributed to the Bootstrap code base and all these developers share their chunks of code or design components. A web designer initially configures the web features desired, and then, the configured Bootstrap files are downloaded for initial site testing. Each configured Bootstrap site can be a unique design and each could be considered a Bootstrap theme. With all the Bootstrap resources available, the developer can quickly start creating a site structure without having to code individual site components.
The second benefit of Bootstrap is site responsiveness. Bootstrap is a mobile-first theme meaning it is designed for small smartphone screens. Bootstrap has a grid layout which scales nicely for wider screens. Bootstrap sites display correctly for almost any internet device available. As a developer, you don’t need to do as much device testing as in the past and this saves the developer even more time.
The third benefit of Bootstrap is consistency. Your Bootstrap site could be handed over to another Bootstrap experienced developer, and the web interface would remain consistent. For example, the menubar would function the same no matter which Bootstrap developer had last updated it. This consistency also relates to the many different web browsers available. The Bootstrap site responds and displays consistently when tested with most modern browsers.
The fourth benefit of Bootstrap is that it is easy to customize. The Bootstrap developer can choose any website components (buttons, sliders, date picker, popups, etc) to create the web experience that the client desires. With lots of Bootstrap components to choose from, the developer can create a unique customized theme.
The fifth benefit of Bootstrap is support. Github has over 600 developers sharing code and ideas on Bootstrap. The framework is always evolving and improving. A standard WordPress theme might be built and tested by a single developer or small team, but the worldwide community of Bootstrap developers would result in a superior theme.
When you combine the tools of faster development, device responsiveness, browser consistency, easy customization, and a good network of online support, the Bootstrap framework offers many time-saving advantages for web developers.
Some Bootstrap sites:
**Bootstrap sites I have built
This spring I embarked on a new photo gallery. I wanted to streamline and consolidate getting my photos and videos online. I didn’t want to have to create posts or even photo galleries. I wanted to use WordPress’ Media Library Uploader, tag the photo, and be done. This post gives an overview of how I created my filtered photo gallery.
The default Media Library doesn’t provide for photo tagging but a little code added to the functions file will create a tag field for each photo. Photos with the same tag can be viewed or “filtered” as a group on my thumbnails template page creating a filtered gallery page.
I realized that it might be nice to control which tagged photos would be included on the thumbnails page, so I created a photos theme option panel to control which groups of tagged photos would be presented on my thumbnails page. Each photo tag on the option panel, displays the tag as a tag filter button. Clicking on these filter buttons displays only photos with the same tag. So viewers can easily filter through a large number of thumbnails which on my site I grouped/tagged by sports: skiing, climbing, kayaking, etc. If I want retire a group of images from my thumbnail page, I just remove the tag name from the Photos Option Panel. There is also a theme option to control the display of captions underneath each image.
If any thumbnail image is clicked from the thumbnails page, the viewer see an overlay hover description (image caption text) and view button. Clicking this button moves to an image slider page (my other template page). This page has the Bootstrap carousel which allows full-size viewing of the images with the same tag. Because the carousel is Bootstrapped, the images are always displayed responsively in all devices.
To consolidate all my media, I also added videos to my filtered gallery. I have a Vimeo Plus account, so my videos are streamed from Vimeo’s video servers. In order to include videos within my gallery, I needed to add a second input field to my image attachment settings where I store the Vimeo URL of each video. The uploading process is slightly different for videos: upload any pic for my video’s thumbnail image, use the tag “video”, and included the embed URL to the video (Vimeo or You Tube). Any video thumbnail tagged “video” will be routed to the video player instead of the photo carousel. This allows photos and videos to be organized together and I no longer need any video plugins installed into my WordPress site.
My current filtered gallery displays about 50 photos and 12 videos all together on one webpage. The page’s performance seems good for this much media (see Pingdom results). I wanted to have retina/4k quality photos, so I am using Jetpack’s Photon CDN (Content Delivery Network) to deliver correctly sized images per the requesting device, including devices with retina/4k screens.
I learned a lot from this project. Maybe the next step for me would be to package everything into a WordPress plugin. I am mostly happy to be able to upload my trip pics quickly, and know they will display responsively on all internet devices.
Your site’s homepage is the most important page of your site. It is where your visitors land and the homepage needs to be interesting to keep your visitors at your site. This is an introduction to creating a WordPress homepage with the Redux options framework installed within the WordPress theme. The framework allows non-technical content providers to create and modify the layout of the homepage without ever losing its professional design. The framework allows WordPress developers to create Dashboard theme options to further enhance the look and functionality of a great homepage.
The Redux framework can integrate with any part of a WordPress website but this post only covers using the theme options to configure the homepage. WordPress’ post editor is fine for creating a post or a simple webpage. But in many cases, content providers don’t have the time or knowledge to create a quality homepage. Not only does the homepage need to look good, but it needs to be a fully responsive page that displays properly with all internet devices. The Redux framework allows content providers to quickly refresh their home pages; resulting in a homepage that is never stale.
How does all this work? A nice homepage has blocks of content that make up the page’s design. The homepage highlights various content within the website. One block of homepage content might highlight a featured post known as a Jumbotron content block. Redux calls these blocks of content modules. Inside the theme’s options panel is the Homepage Layout Manager, where homepage modules are organized. Only enabled modules are displayed on the homepage. These draggable modules can also be reorder, which changes their positions on the homepage. The content provider never writes the homepage content, they configure the modules to create a homepage design.
My WordPress theme has ten homepage modules to choose from. If you enable all 15 of them your homepage would look like this test page. Below are some module descriptions and their settings.
Configuring the homepage is easy with the Layout Manager in the Theme Options. Just enable the modules you want, order the module layout, and set any module settings that may exist. Content providers can quickly create a perfect responsive homepage layout without any coding or even messing with the WordPress editor.