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Definition

Bootstrap

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn, Kevin D. Dearing

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Bootstrap is a free and open source front end development framework for the creation of websites and web apps. The Bootstrap framework is built on HTML, CSS, and JavaScript (JS) to facilitate the development of responsive, mobile-first sites and apps.

Responsive design makes it possible for a web page or app to detect the visitor’s screen size and orientation and automatically adapt the display accordingly; the mobile first approach assumes that smartphonestablets and task-specific mobile apps are employees' primary tools for getting work done and addresses the requirements of those technologies in design.

Bootstrap includes user interface components, layouts and JS tools along with the framework for implementation. The software is available precompiled or as source code.

Mark Otto and Jacob Thornton developed Bootstrap at Twitter as a means of improving the consistency of tools used on the site and reducing maintenance. The software was formerly known as Twitter Blueprint and is sometimes referred to as Twitter Bootstrap.

In computers, the word bootstrap means to boot: to load a program into a computer using a much smaller initial program to load in the desired program (which is usually an operating system).

In the physical world, a bootstrap is a small strap or loop at the back of a leather boot that enables you to pull the entire boot on and in general usage, bootstrapping is the leveraging of a small initial effort into something larger and more significant. There is also a common expression, "pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps," meaning to leverage yourself to success from a small beginning.

Watch a crash course on creating a website with Bootstrap:

This was last updated in January 2017

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This is all bs. A bootstrap was a rolled up paper tape kept in your desk drawer you pulled out to initialize your computer each day (eg PDP-9) by running it through the paper tape reader on the front.
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