The world of front-end web development has changed drastically in the last few years and continues to do so. In order to keep up-to-date with the continuously changing landscape we’ve built Phoenix, a front-end development boilerplate.
What is it?
How does it work?
The technologies we placed behind Phoenix are some of the newest and fastest available in front-end development. They include:
Sass - referred to as “CSS with superpowers,” Sass enables us as developers to write reusable patterns and build our CSS without repeating ourselves in ways that aren’t possible (or at least as easy) with traditional CSS.
SMACSS - Scalable and Modular Architecture for CSS is Jonathan Snook’s methodology for organizing your site’s CSS. We’ve taken some of his base concepts, adapted some, and enhanced others for use with Sass to define our Sass file structure.
Why use it?
Many CSS frameworks already exist, such as Bootstrap, Foundation, Gumby, so why build our own? Those frameworks are incredibly powerful and can be useful in the right situations, but they are large in scope and code size, solve too many problems (do we really need multiple carousels in our boilerplate?), and are difficult to reduce in scope if you only want to use a portion of their capabilities. Instead of giving you every piece you might ever need and expect you to rearrange them to suit your site’s needs, Phoenix takes more of a bottom-up approach to development where you’re given the tools and are expected to build the pieces you need to create a site.
We’ve also been able to use Phoenix to improve our internal processes at Connective DX. We do more designs in the browser than ever before and can get working prototypes in front of clients very quickly. This allows us to introduce a feedback loop to projects early on, saving time and money in the long run. It has also led to all departments speaking a common language of modular design and development. Rather than thinking of sites as a series of templates, our designers have begun to think of a site’s content as a series of components that can be placed anywhere on a page. This has helped our front- and back-end developers tremendously when building our codebases.
Where can I get it?
Phoenix is available as a free download on Github. It’s a completely open source project with an MIT license, so feel free to fork it, create or request a new feature, report or fix a bug, and contribute to discussions. We want this to be a tool for the community to use to go out and create lean, well-built sites while meeting the need for an internal boilerplate.
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