Bootstrap is currently the number one front-end framework and easily the quickest way to build layouts. It has been around for years and third-party developers have even published their own resources online. These resources range from free themes to detailed plugins and frameworks.
Date pickers are also a huge pain to code yourself. Many forms just use dropdown menus for the day/month/year settings but you can also use this Bootstrap date picker plugin to save yourself the hassle.
It’s completely open-source and runs on the Bootstrap 3.x library. You will also notice it supports both the date and time by using another jQuery plugin, Moment.js.
Overall, this library is fantastic to get a working date picker active. It does have a lot of dependencies but, thankfully, you won’t need to write much code to get it working.
When the user hovers over these stars the display changes to whatever the rating is based on their cursor position. Then, with one click, the user casts their vote and sets a star rating, including half-star ratings.
This plugin is definitely complicated to set up because you can change a lot of the default settings for more advanced techniques. But, you can see a simple live demo to gauge if this star rating plugin fits with your site.
Bootflat hasn’t been overused very much, so you can add this framework on any landing page or homepage to create a unique look for your site.
It’s 100% free and even comes with a color picker, so you can find flat color schemes to match your layout.
Another popular design trend is Google’s material design. This is a design language originally made for Android app designers but has since spread onto the web and garnered lots of support from UI/UX designers.
Google did create the material design language but they also have their own styles for many of their tools and web apps.
You can even browse through a demo on the site to see the differences between Bootplus and the original Bootstrap UI. For a free resource, Bootplus is extensive and it’s perfect for anyone who likes Google’s design techniques.
Tools & resources
Lastly, I want to dive into the many free tools for customizing and building Bootstrap layouts.
These tools are all web apps and many of them are even open-sourced on GitHub. They’re made to save you time and help you design incredible Bootstrap layouts without much code.
This free Bootstrap form builder is a drag-and-drop browser tool that allows you to create Bootstrap forms from scratch.
Again, it requires zero coding knowledge and you have full access to all Bootstrap 3 elements. Just select the element you want and drag it right into the left-hand box. From here, you can change everything from the placeholder text to the CSS class.
By far the coolest form builder I’ve ever seen and it’s 100% free!
Another free tool I really like is BootSwatchr. It relies on the Bootstrap framework and it lets you update colors, theme styles, and the overall layout of the page.
What I like about this app is how it also comes with a free gallery of pre-designed styles.
So, you can download a design that someone else already made or you can use that as a starting point to customize your own theme.
Bootstrap is only growing in popularity, so now is the best time to dive into this framework. Thankfully, there are dozens of plugins, frameworks, and free tools you can use to expedite the dev process.
In this article, I just showed the tip of the iceberg, so if you don’t see anything here that’s useful get out to Google and see what else you can find.