Thanks in large part to the popularity of the open-source model, companies of all shapes and sizes have access to technologies that would have cost six and seven figures to develop in-house a half a decade ago.

From high-performance data stores to countless software libraries, there are plenty of open-source technologies that make building a sophisticated web-based service far less costly and time-consuming than it would have been.

But open source's popularity hasn't just been a boon for the back-end, it's also making big contributions on the front-end thanks to the increasing popularity of high-quality open source front-end frameworks.

Here are five worth kicking the tires on.


The product of two Twitter employees, Bootstrap has become one of the most popular, if not the most popular, front-end frameworks. It features a 12-column responsive grid, a rich set of JavaScript plugins, typography and form components.


This popular responsive front-end framework is arguably Bootstrap's biggest competitor. Created by product design shop ZURB and like Bootstrap, Foundation includes a 12-column flexible grid. It's mobile-friendly, comes packaged with dozens of pre-built styles and has a number of add-ons, including icon fonts, responsive tables and SVG-based social icons.


According to its creators, Gumby was "tirelessly engineered to be device agnostic, and resolution independent." It offers a 12-column grid, 16-column grid and hybrid grid. The mobile-friendly framework also comes with an array of extras, including forms, buttons and JavaScript elements such as toggles, tabs and drawers.

Responsive Grid System

A mobile-first front-end framework, the Responsive Grid System was built by a web designer who wanted "a simple fluid grid system without the bloat." There are separate 12, 16 and 24-column versions and unlike some of the other frameworks mentioned here, the Responsive Grid System comes with few extras, making it worth a look for those seek a lighter foundation on which to build.

Gravity Framework

This SASS-based HTML5 framework features a grid builder, CSS3 mixins and a number of built-in styles. Like the Responsive Grid System, Gravity is designed to be on the lighter end of the framework spectrum.

Patricio Robles

Published 8 January, 2013 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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