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Top 22 Best Free HTML5 Frameworks For Responsive Web Development 2017

Top 22 Best Free HTML5 Frameworks for Responsive Web Development 2017

HTML5 has had some real attention drawn to it over the last two years (since the release of the actual standard in October 2014), and even though it has been over a year since the release, majority of web browsers are still trying to catch up with even the basic new functionalities and features introduced; except for Google Chrome and Opera, both of which are intimately tied for offering the highest range of HTML5 features within their browser. And developers have to learn how to adapt to creating the kind of apps and platforms that will work on all browsers, than just those who have jumped ahead of the curve.

The year of 2015 was huge for HTML5 because we saw a massive increase in the number of sites that began using the HTML5 Video feature over Adobe Flash (which has already been declared as obsolete by the leading industry minds), two of the most popular were YouTube — switching to HTML5 Video as the default way of presenting video content, and Facebook — which made a switch to HTML5 to serve all videos across all platforms in HTML5 format rather than Adobe Flash; whilst maintaining their involvement with Flash for the sake of the Facebook Gaming platform, which is still heavily dependent on Flash to function. The whole front-end network saw massive changes the passing year, and Dan Rowinski published a brilliant write-up on what exactly has happened with the language since the inception of the new standard.

HTML5

Businesses who have resided in the online world are all also very well aware of the changes that HTML5 has brought for eCommerce and marketing fields; Google Chrome made a huge step towards achieving more transparency in the advertising world by declaring that it would discontinue the support of Flash-based advertisements in September 2015 and instead would focus on delivering more optimized and reliable HTML5 ads. Such changes have led to numerous updates for research material like books and guides on how to create ads for the web, and that isn’t the only reason why HTML5 can be ideal for your business operations.

For web developers, starting with HTML5 has never been easier; plenty of tutorials, plenty of source code to play with on GitHub, majority of new desktop and mobile apps are being built with HTML5, there are books and online courses everywhere, but most importantly we have a ton of amazing and remarkable HTML5 frameworks to play with, to create apps and platforms with. The following HTML5 frameworks you are going to learn more about have all been nominated to be amongst the most popular by the community of developers themselves, so rest assured that each and every one of these frameworks has at least a dozen big businesses behind it. Let us know about your favorites, perhaps you are building an HTML5 framework yourself, if so — this is a good place to get some exposure for it.

Foundation

Foundation The most advanced responsive front end framework in the world.

Foundation has quickly evolved from another contender for a slot in the most popular framework lists, to becoming one of the most modern and reliable web development frameworks out there. Foundation stands out with its ability to deliver high-quality performance for modern devices, and custom application requirements. Foundation’s core is built around a range of web development frameworks that can be used to create websites, email templates, as well as a separate framework for building complex, dynamic and responsive apps that will feel authentic thanks to integration with Angular’s base.

The framework recently upgraded to a V6 and tailored together some amazing functions that you won’t be finding on any other HTML5 framework anytime soon, OnePoint has covered the latest feature additions in the new release.

The real reason behind the success of Foundation is perhaps because an actual company manages it — ZURB; which has ensured continuous development and research in the field of responsive web design and how websites should be built to reflect design qualities and features better. Foundation’s core strategy is to let developers focus on building mobile-first sites that can then be customized and converted into apps that could be served on larger devices, such as desktop; and such process ensures that the design choices are always created with straightforward functionality in mind.

Sencha Touch

Cross platform Mobile Web App Development Framework for HTML5 and JS Sencha

Sencha Touch is one of the most prominent cross-platform front-end web development frameworks for helping developers create stunning mobile-first applications. The use of hardware acceleration techniques allows Sencha to provide some User Interface components that will deliver extended capabilities for on your smaller — mobile — devices.

To begin with, there are more than fifty in-built User Interface components and device-native templates for the majority of currently popular mobile platforms. Whether you’re building for Android, iOS, Windows or BlackBerry — Sencha Touch provides you with all the necessities to make state of the art apps without the extra work.

An in-built feature for data consumption allows developers to tap into the source of a back-end data root and use it to fuel your apps with content and other dynamic features. Forget about using external data visualization tools to bring visuals to your mobile apps, as Sencha Touch includes an in-built package for all your visual data needs. The default templates packages allows you to create instant and targeted web/hybrid apps that will look/feel native to the platform you are targeting.

Onsen UI

Onsen HTML5 Hybrid Mobile App Framework UI Components

Onsen UI has been a godsend for tens of thousands of Cordova and PhoneGap developers, as this open-source HTML5-based hybrid mobile app development framework (equipped with Material Design, and Flat UI components) brings about elements-based UI components to bring your mobile apps into aliveness natively. Because Onsen has been built with the help of Web Components, developers can easily adapt to their already existing knowledge of HTML syntax to begin developing apps on the fly.

Onsen developers understand the importance of agnostic development and how crucial it can be to the success of an application, and because of this you can easily integrate Onsen to work with any other front-end web development framework out there. Angular developers can tap into a specifically built library just for Angular to take advantage of the custom tags that Onsen framework provides.

Onsen has captured anyone who’s attention can also explore the new Onsen UI 2.0 BETA page that talks more about the new release of the framework and what to expect; happy to announce that they’re keeping with the agnostic development tradition, so things are looking up for those who want to continue using Onsen in their app projects.

Ionic

Ionic Advanced HTML5 Hybrid Mobile App Framework

The Ionic Framework (which has recently announced that V2 release is imminent, here is the documentation for V2) is one of the most successful HTML5-based mobile frameworks that’s being used to built cross-platform (native) apps and mobile websites with the help of HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript.

Anyone with the ability to build/design a website from scratch will be able to use Ionic to create stunning mobile apps from the day they start using the framework. The fact of the matter is that learning the ropes of this framework isn’t all-that-hard process, and guys at Thinkster have provided a very uncomplicated tutorial on how to get started with Ionic, and AirPair has also talked about building production-ready apps with Ionic.

In today’s reality, more than 2+ million websites and mobile apps (including a few desktop) have been built thanks to Ionic’s freely available codebase, community, and documentation that makes the development environment easy and accessible for both beginners and truly experienced developers.

Semantic UI

Semantic UI

Semantic is a simple HTML5 framework that utilizes a range of UI components to help you build fast and beautiful websites using the traditional code syntax you would use in non-framework environment. Semantic can be used for building both simple (and truly complex) layouts, but also for theming an existing layout to better reflect your design preferences and choices. Frameworks like Meteor embrace the beauty that Semantic offers to UI development.

Bootstrap

Bootstrap · The world s most popular mobile first and responsive front end framework.

Bootstrap is a household name for every single breathing front-end developer. Out of the top 100,000 websites on the planet, more than 20%+ rely on Bootstrap as their foundation. Such number speaks volumes of the usability, user-friendliness, and flexibility of the framework. Developed by Twitter, Bootstrap gives developers access to tools that let you build a modern and feature-rich web pages without having to build components and grid styles all by yourself, it all comes pre-packaged in the framework itself.

Recently the team over at Bootstrap announced the release of Bootstrap V4 which is further bringing forth web development modernization as well as optimization. To get started with Bootstrap was never difficult, which might also be one of the reasons why so many developers and designers have opted to use Bootstrap as their default HTML5 development framework. Free online courses offer anyone the opportunity to learn more about Bootstrap at their own pace.

SproutCore

SproutCore

SproutCore’s one of the oldest web frameworks on our list, and has managed to maintain its momentum even after such a long time. Even though the whole development process seems to have been slowed down in the last couple of years, the framework seems to be doing great despite the raise of other competitors. SproutCore’s aim is to provide developers with an easy to use framework where you are in charge of the way code functions across all of your project’s requirements, providing support for platforms like AppCache or Cordova.

HTML KickStart

HTML KickStart HTML Elements Documentation

KickStart has gained a lot of popularity amongst HTML5 developers thanks to its extended set of elements, layouts and other front-end files; for CSS3, HTML5 and jQuery. All of these components help developers (like you) to gain the upper hand in the next project that you’re building.

These components consist of items like slides, grids, menus, buttons, typography related stuff, icons, tabs and much more — everything you need to quickly and effectively build apps, without losing any time. Many have reported the usability of KickStart as a framework for building native HTML5 wireframes that can be used to demo page layouts; layouts which would otherwise take hours upon hours of dedicated work to produce.

Framework 7

Framework7 Full Featured Mobile HTML Framework For Building iOS Android Apps

There’s no question as to how important it is for developers to find the kind of framework that provides the right tools and list of features for building mobile and web apps on the go, and Framework 7 is one such framework that offers developers to build their apps with the feel and look of two popular mobile operating systems — Android and iOS. On top of being an app development framework, Framework 7 offers wireframing and prototyping functionality to help you create prototypes for your clients in just a few short blinks of an eye.

The most important feature of this framework is of course, the ability to build native Android and iOS apps using HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. Built with autonomy in mind, Framework 7 gives you the necessary freedom to build the kind of apps that you want to build, without any real-world limitations. Framework7 is not compatible with all platforms. It is focused only on iOS and Google Material design to bring the best experience and simplicity.

jQuery Mobile

jQuery Mobile

It’s very easy to misunderstand the usability and main area of function when thinking of jQuery Mobile. As we all know already, jQuery is the most popular JavaScript scripting library for the web — much of the interactive and dynamic features we see on our most favorite websites every day, have been built thanks to jQuery, and this is where it’s easy to confuse that jQuery Mobile might just be a mirror of such functionality for the mobile web.

jQuery Mobile is a web application development framework that focuses on helping developers create a single responsive web application that will work on mobile devices, tablets, and desktop computers without all the extra fuss. Amongst the most notable features you will find in the jQuery Mobile repertoire are touch-friendly form elements, sleek UI widgets for instant development progress, responsive design tools and techniques, in-built navigation system based on AJAX, as well as a plugin called ThemeRoller that will let you adjust as well as build your themes in the way that you want them to look and feel. Click here to learn more about the process of using ThemeRoller.

If you haven’t seen much of jQuery Mobile before, we recommend taking a closer look at this sample tutorial from Miamicoder, in which Jorge Ramon goes in-depth about a straightforward user-registration system using the jQuery Mobile framework. It’s a great starting point for understanding the syntax and its uses in the real-world, and perhaps after taking a closer look you will be hooked on the way the framework operates.

Monaca

Cloud Powered HTML5 Hybrid Mobile App Development Tools Monaca

PhoneGap and Cordova are well-known names in the hybrid mobile app developer community, and Monaca’s job is to help you bring both together in a simple cloud-based environment that gives you tools and features to optimize your overall development experience. Monaca is fully agnostic which, as we learned, means that you can easily integrate Monaca in your already existing development workflow and build on top of your existing Cordova environment.

The three main features of Monaca, as advertised by the developers themselves, are the ability to develop in the cloud, to be able to use all features (design, development for front-end and back-end, testing, debugging, building) either together as a full-fledged app development platform, or to use them separately whenever necessary, and the third is the ability, as mentioned, to combine Monaca with any of your favorite frameworks out there, giving you the power of the cloud over all of your development needs.

Documentation is built to support quick introduction guides, support questions, lots of examples, as well as detailed manuals and API tutorials to get the most out of Monaca on the day that you start using it.

Trigger

Trigger.io mobile platform for web developers

Trigger’s a cross-platform web development framework for building native mobile apps. The mobile app market has exploded in these recent couple of years, and we are seeing a huge influx of frameworks that want to help developers and designers to build native apps without having to spend too much time writing complex code.

Trigger uses JavaScript functionality to help you build native iOS and Android apps in just moments after starting to learn more about the framework’s functionality. Out of the box modules like UI’s, analytics platforms, registration/login modules help speed up the development process significantly. With an in-built cloud service, you can easily test/build your apps within the cloud, rather than using external development environments.

What’s more, with Trigger you can update your apps without having to resubmit them to either of the App Stores that you are using to promote your apps. Building your first app with Trigger is easy, and can be a lot of fun. And if you’re unsure of the kind of apps Trigger can help you build in long-term, take a look at their official examples page to learn more about projects and businesses using Trigger on daily basis.

Base

Base

Base is a lightweight, semantic and rapid-development oriented HTML5 framework for building responsive websites. In-built grid system lets you build flowing grid layouts without having to write any additional code, in-built style modules let you begin the focus of your app with development, rather than design. Visit the official website to dip your feet in the process of building with Base as the main page offers an interactive development console to test your skills with learning Base as you go.

Kendo UI

Kendo UI jQuery and HTML5 widgets (1)

Kendo UI as the name suggests has something to do with the User Interface. This freemium (although much of the source code has been published as an open-source repository) web development framwork for building mobile and desktop apps comes from Telerik — an industry leader in providing developers and designers with modern UI tools that come integrated within an cloud-based environment to push for faster and more convenient development phases.

Kendo UI gives developers access to more than 70+ UI widgets within a single framework. There’s native Angular integration, support for Bootstrap developers, mobile functionality, and the ability to work with data offline. Comes equipped with 11 pre-built templates to choose from, as well as offering a custom theme building platform to help you create your designs as you progress with your code.

Montage

MontageJS HTML5 Framework

Montage is a sophisticated full-stack HTML5 web development framework built for native web development in mind. Thousands of developers rely on Montage to build scalable and high performance single page apps, quickly and coherently. With the use of patterns and principles from the design and software industries, Montage lets you become the true architect of your applications by allowing a module-based approach that provides a seamless user experience for your application users. Because Montage uses the native web as its base for building apps, it’s easy to learn as much of the standard procedures of development and software interaction are already understood.

The Montage Studio organization has been the host of many great plugins and libraries over the years, and their GitHub public profile speaks for itself — check out their other interesting projects that you can combine together with the Montage framework for the ultimate app development experience.

Skeleton

Skeleton Responsive CSS Boilerplate

Skeleton has been built as a starting-framework rather than a framework that can be used to build a fully functional website that uses complex UI components. Skeleton’s boilerplate is the perfect starting place for anyone who is looking to build their first, or two thousand and first website and need a simple grid-based approach to building pages that look, feel and perform great. Get the library and you’re all set, no additional setup tasks required.

CreateJS

CreateJS A suite of JavaScript libraries and tools designed for working with HTML5

CreateJS is a suite of modular libraries and tools that enable rich interactive content on open web technologies via HTML5. These libraries are designed to work entirely independent, or mixed and matched to suit your needs.

The four libraries are:

  • EaselJS — A JavaScript library that makes working with the HTML5 Canvas element easy.
  • TweenJS — A JavaScript library for tweening and animating HTML5 and JavaScript properties.
  • SoundJS — A JavaScript library that lets you easily and efficiently work with HTML5 audio.
  • PreloadJS — A JavaScript library that enables you to manage and co-ordinate the loading of assets.

Each library can be used independently from another, but also you can combine either all or two/three different libraries together to create the kind of an effect that’s necessary for your current app development process. CreateJS is the culmination of all four frameworks together.

iio Engine

iio Engine · Home

HTML5 game development is growing each day, more and more people begin to use their computers and mobile devices to spend time indulging in interactive gaming content, and developers are busy crafting/learning/creating the kind of games that capture attention, rather than temporary satisfaction. iio Engine is for working with the HTML5 Canvas functionality, with this Engine your development process is going to increase in both speeds, and performance.

Those new to game development in HTML5 can check out this Mozilla Hacks article, or this one from Intel that talks more about the setting up process for building your first game, but those experienced with at leas the concepts — take a closer look at this article from HTML Goodies to learn more about advanced HTML5 game development capabilities and options.

FireShell

FireShell HTML5 Sass and JavaScript boilerplate for Grunt by toddmotto

Teams and individuals looking for a reliable boilerplate/workflow for their front-end development process can take advantage of FireShell’s in-built task runner and build processor that builds on top of a beautiful HTML5 framework. Easy to integrate features, jQuery content delivery integration, supports HTML5 Shiv and Modernizr for modern front-end app development, get your workflow going with Grunt, experience true real-time development with live-reloading, have your code optimized with automated tools for optimizing JS and CSS before you push for production, as well as dozens of other features that will make your front-end workflow a breeze once you start tapping into the infinite potential of FireShell’s features.

Jo

Jo HTML5 Mobile App Framework

Jo is a lightweight shell-framework for building HTML5 apps. Jo has been made to work with: PhoneGap, Chrome, Safari, Opera, FireFox, iOS, Android, BlackBerry 10, Tizen, & Windows Phone 8+. Flexible and easy to skin UI, event models and lightweight data layers are the main attractions for developers who use Jo in their daily workflow.

52 Framework

52framework The framework from the future HTML5 CSS3 and more

52 Framework hasn’t been treated with as much respect as it once used to be, but needless to say that this framework can still be found within a significant number of projects in the web-o-sphere, and there is so much to learn from the code base as well. 52 Framework gives developers access to exciting gradients, grids to work with, a mobile-ready template for your next mobile app, simple blog interaction to let you build dynamic content sites on the fly, as well as many other HTML5 oriented features that are necessary for building hardened websites and apps.

LimeJS

LimeJS HTML5 Game Framework

Coming back to the idea of game development with HTML5, here we have a straightforward and ready to use game development framework LimeJS — built specifically to help HTML5 developers get a good headstart on their game developing skills and learning curves. Although the project hasn’t been as active as it once used to be, some online communities are still actively discussing the possibilities of LimeJS, so we do recommend you look into if game development is something that calls out for your attention.

Community Resources for HTML5 Developers

We are only seeing the very surface of the capabilities of web platforms right now, so it’s essential to stay up to date with the latest developments and insights within the HTML5 (and the Web in general) sphere, and the best way to do this is through online communities, especially those frequently orbited by developers and software engineers themselves. Here are a few we highly recommend:

  • StackOverflow — StackOverflow is known for its professionalism and no-bullshit attitude. On StackOverflow, you can ask questions, as well as give answers, but most of all you can stay up to date with the latest happenings in HTML5 and see the process of natural unfolding.
  • Reddit — Reddit’s HTML5 board is all about sharing insightful tutorials and articles, sharing insights as well as demo applications that showcase latest feature usage. Great for asking questions too.
  • HTML5 Bookmarks — HTML5 Bookmarks is a daily link service that lets HTML5 developers explore the latest findings and happenings within HTML5 on the web, and you can also skip back through archives to try and find some interesting and relevant gems for your good.
  • HTML5 Weekly — HTML5 Weekly is a weekly newsletter for HTML5 developers that has been run for a couple of years already and has a strong base of more than 100,000+ subscribers that are all treated to only the highest quality HTML5 content each week.

What about yourself? What are the techniques and methods that you rely upon to stay up to date with the latest happening in HTML5? We would love to hear your input on this question and would be more than happy to expand this list of community resources to help better developers settle in the language.

Alex Ivanovs

Alex is a freelance writer with more than 10 years of experience in design, development, and small business. His work has been featured in publications like Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, TheNextWeb, and others.

This Post Has 3 Comments
  1. Thank you for your article!

    If you are looking alternatives to Sencha or Kendo you can use Webix UI library with more that 70 UI widgets and controls. They have 5 complex widgets that help to create great web and mobile apps: Pivot, Kanban, Scheduler, File Manager and SpreadSheet.

  2. Another alternative framework similar to jquery mobile is jccui. It is markup based and uses pure HTML which is then ‘bootstrapped’. I use it for my internal telemetry projects. Claimed to work on many platforms. Works fine on my desktop, andro and ios.

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