Web design & development can be difficult to learn but luckily learning Bootstrap can be made simpler by selecting the resources and approach.
Whether you are a developer looking to get into Bootstrap or a business owner looking to build your own website for the first time this guide to becoming a Bootstrap master is going to give you a kick start.
1. Learn what you need when you need it
You can apply this to most things in life but even more so with codes & concepts. We all want to know everything but don’t overload yourself learning things you simply don’t need, focus on the things you need here and now to keep things simple.
In the constantly evolving world of web design & development new techniques, softwares and approaches are constantly being released so it’s impossible to know it all and don’t even try to. Instead, save a Google doc online with short & long learning goals, try to keep the short term goals relevant to what you want to build here and now and make them very specific. Longer term goals can be more general & ambitious as you can break them down further as you progress through your short term goals.
Here’s some examples:
- Short term:
- Override Bootstrap button styles with my own
- Build a 2 column page layout
- Make my dropdown menus show on hover
- Add a sticky header to my page layout
- Add a carousel to my page footer with client logos
- Long term:
- Learn SASS or LESS
- Learn to convert Bootstrap themes to WordPress
2. Work on something real
This is one of the best tips we can offer when learning Bootstrap or any web project for that matter. Don’t just idle along creating bits of code here and there, build a real project instead! This can be a personal project like a hobby site or blog or approach a relative or friend to create a website for them.
Working on a real project with a real goal helps keep you motivated on days when you are not and also helps you stick to the “learn what you need when you need it” principle which stops you getting overloaded.
Working with relatives or friends is a great way to building up your client approach if you do decide to progress your Bootstrap skills into paid work.
3. Learn by example
Learning from more experienced developers work is a great way to find new tips and tricks and see how things are done in a professional context.
Here at BootBites.com we live by this hence why our freebies & tutorials are practical and full of example.
If you want to go further, we suggest considering buying a couple of the best selling premium Bootstrap themes on the web, why you ask? Because although there’s tonnes of good free Bootstrap themes out there quite often developers save their best work for their paid work so will leave their best code snippets & tricks out of their free themes. For Bootstrap theme developers offering a free Bootstrap theme can be a great way to promote their more advanced premium themes. Buying themes from multiple developers is also good practice too because you get exposure to different styles & techniques which will help you form your own.
Take a look at Unify Bootstrap theme and Canvas Bootstrap theme as they come to really good documentation explain how things work in the themes and they both contain 100+ template files showing tonnes of different styles, techniques and snippets making them excellent value for money.
4. Don’t go it alone
Bootstrap is Open Source and free which means anyone can download it and play with it, this makes is very accessible and has helped it become so popular. This has also means help is never too far away in the form of communities build around it. The Bootstrap GitHub project (which we’ve looked at before) is a great place to learn from others and find out about issues and potential fixes.
For more random & general questions Stackoverflow has questions and answers sections for all Bootstrap versions including the soon to be released Bootstrap 4 version.
Don’t be a lonely coder, ask for help!
5. Take a video course
Videos are a great and relaxed way to pick up something new, all you need to do is watch and learn and have someone else tell you how to do things, great huh!?
Just browsing YouTube you can find loads of free Bootstrap tutorials which generally cover basic topics, however they also tend to lack structure making it harder to progress.
For that reason, we recommend considering taking a premium video course with udemy.com. Udemy courses are practical, goal driven (most work towards building a project or multiple projects), well structured to make progression from video to video easy and often contain working code examples/snippets for you to download and work with. Courses are general around 5-10 hours long and are broken into smaller 4-5 minute videos so you can take small chunks at a time, try out the new techniques and then come back. Nearly all courses offer a free taster video so you can check out the tutors style and quality before buying access to the full course.