Book Review: Bootstrap By Example by Silvio Moreto

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bootstrap by example

After working through the lessons I can say that Bootstrap By Example does exactly as the name suggests. This is definitely a beginner’s book and it’s targeted towards developers who are willing to experiment with the Bootstrap library in real projects.

The writing style isn’t the clearest I’ve ever read. However the examples are pristine and you’ll learn how to combine Bootstrap v3 and v4 together to build webapps that’ll support the newest version of Bootstrap’s library.

If you already have experience with Bootstrap and feel comfortable working on your own then this book may be too simple for you. But a developer with some frontend experience who has never touched Bootstrap before will get a lot from this book.

Book Contents

In 324 pages you get a total of 11 chapters with a final index.

I didn’t get much use out of the index because it’s hard to reference and it doesn’t include everything I expected. But the lessons are great and the chapters are very well organized.

  1. Getting Started
  2. Creating a Solid Scaffolding
  3. Yes, You Should Go Mobile First
  4. Applying the Bootstrap Style
  5. Making It Fancy
  6. Can You Build a Web App?
  7. Of Course You Can Build A Web App!
  8. Working with JavaScript
  9. Entering in the Advanced Mode
  10. Bringing Components to Life
  11. Making It Your Taste

From the start you can tell this is a beginner’s book. The author eventually delves into more intermediate-level topics but anyone fairly adept with Bootstrap will not learn much from this book.

If you’re brand new and have no idea where to start then you’ll appreciate the first few chapters.

Silvio walks you through the basics of setting up a new Bootstrap website with grids and responsive features. These are the rough edges of any great website and with Bootstrap it’s super easy.

By the middle of the book you’ll have enough general knowledge of components and styles that you start to build your own webapps featuring newer components like alerts, cards, and progress bars.

bootstrap homepage

Every example forces you to look into the component and how it’s structured in HTML/CSS. Bootstrap provides you with a CSS library so you don’t need to write much of anything from scratch.

But learning all the different classes and values can take a long time.

Thankfully Silvio’s approach walks you through real-world examples building layouts that just make sense.

The one part that doesn’t always make sense is the writing style. It seems like Silvio has a tough time explaining detailed concepts in plain English, a skill that not every developer possesses(including myself).

Unfortunately complete beginners with a shaky foundation of HTML/CSS may struggle because of this writing style. It’s not super friendly to complete novices but the code samples are.

This means if you can at least follow along with the code then you’ll understand what Silvio is trying to teach you.

If you can already build a detailed Bootstrap application from scratch on your own then this book will be too basic for you. But if you struggle with the Bootstrap library this book can take you from an inexperienced developer to a confident one.

Pros & Cons

This is a pretty clear-cut book and my opinions are rigid since I’m already familiar with Bootstrap. Here’s a quick overview:

Pros:

  • Teaches real-world examples that you can actually use
  • Compares differences in Bootstrap v3 and v4
  • Delves into 3rd party libraries and plugins

Cons:

  • Somewhat fractured writing style that’s difficult to read
  • Not great as a reference guide

I mentioned before how the author’s writing style isn’t very clear. I’m not sure if the author doesn’t know English well or just doesn’t write clearly. It just seems in some parts that he doesn’t express ideas in the best way through words.

All of the code examples are fantastic and I did learn a lot by following the lessons in this book.

I’ve only used Bootstrap on a few projects so I never got super in depth with the library. But Silvio’s book really forces you to consider every aspect of Bootstrap from built-in components to external 3rd party plugins.

However this is not a great book to reference for your own personal projects. The Bootstrap documentation is much better for finding quick answers on how to implement certain features.

If you don’t know how to use Bootstrap’s grids, components, or other features then this book teaches you how to do so in a practical manner.

I’d suggest that you already have an understanding of JavaScript before picking up this book.

It’s definitely possible to make your way through the lessons without being a JS expert. But it helps if you understand the foundational knowledge that goes along with writing great frontend code.

If you want a place to start with JS I recommend JavaScript: Novice to Ninja because it’s comprehensive and super easy to read.

And while I could complain about the difficult readability of Bootstrap by Example, I still feel like the examples and demos overshadow this greatly. Maybe not the easiest read but definitely educational and even a bit fun.

Who Is This For?

I’d recommend this book to a few different kinds of people:

  • Novice developers who want Bootstrap to be their first framework
  • Frontend devs who know a little Bootstrap and want to take it further
  • Experienced frontend devs who want to master Bootstrap for SPAs

Each person will have their own reasons for grabbing this book.

But everyone getting this book should share the same ideals: looking to learn Bootstrap from a project-oriented perspective.

You’ll be crafting various webapps throughout the entire book introducing you to alerts, modals, sliders, and common responsive techniques. Even if you know how to build a responsive site from scratch you may not know how to do it in Bootstrap.

And the frequent comparisons between Bootstrap v3 and v4 make this book a little ahead of its time with BS4 still in alpha release.

If you can look past some choppy sentences and just appreciate the detail of learning Bootstrap from real examples then you’ll like this book.

Final Summary

Learning Bootstrap from scratch is not as hard as you’d think. But if you don’t know how to practice or what to build it can leave you with theoretical knowledge and nothing more.

Bootstrap By Example is the perfect combination of theory and practice to get you up-to-speed with real world Bootstrap development on the web.

My biggest complaint is the writing style that sometimes comes across clearly, but other times just seems hacked together. Yet all of the code makes sense and the practice projects are fantastic for newcomers.

If you need a way to learn Bootstrap 3 and delve into v4 while learning how to apply this to real-world projects then I’d recommend nabbing a copy of this book.

bootstrap by example book cover

Review Rating: 4/5
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