Talking about Bootstrap

@mdo April 27, 2012

There is a thread on the mailing list about how to describe Bootstrap and instead of isolating our response to just one email, I’ll just blog about it. As it stands, some folks are unsure how to describe Bootstrap to those unfamiliar with it. So here it is, straight from the official horse’s mouth.


Casually, it’s just Bootstrap. That’s noun and verb, for those wondering—Bootstrap the project and “to Bootstrap a project”, respectively. Formally, we call it Twitter Bootstrap, a change that came with v2.0.0. Previously we called it “Bootstrap, from Twitter” to emphasize the project over our employer, but it just became too verbose and awkward to say.

Related, the shorthand abbreviation we use is BS—not TB, TBS, or TwBs. I don’t know why, but this feels better than TB since that’s the name of an infectious disease and all that.


We worked at this for a good bit before setting on our current tagline, “Simple and flexible HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for popular user interface components and interactions.” Previously, it was much more descriptive to the framework’s contents, and thus quite long and wordy. We wanted to convey the technical details properly heading into 2.0.0 (when we changed the tagline), but without the bulk. Instead, we focus on the roles Bootstrap can assist folks with: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Any other description is fine, but I wanted to share some insight into the official tagline just for context.


Another focal point in the email thread was the question of referring to Bootstrap as a framework. That’s accurate enough for sure, but also somewhat limiting depending on how you want to use it. Holistically, Bootstrap certainly is a framework (or toolkit or whatever) for prototyping and building production ready stuff on the web. That said, on an individual component level, Bootstrap is a tool for performing common web development tasks faster and easier.

So there you have it, a quick low-down on how we’re thinking and talking about Bootstrap. When it comes right down to it, Bootstrap is whatever you want to make of it, so dive in and see where it can help you out the most.