Here’s where lines between Bootstrap and jQuery becomes blurry. Bootstrap is advertised as mobile first, and that’s only partially correct. While responsive in nature, it looks better on desktop screens than mobile ones. No matter what device you use, Bootstrap will always look like a desktop application (unlike jQuery Mobile, who always look like a mobile application). Unfortunately, there’s a big downside, every Bootstrap application looks and feels the same (just like any jQuery Mobile application). Of course, nothing prevents you doing some custom coding, which again breaks the purpose of Bootstrap rapid prototyping. Not to mention, Bootstrap customization can be pretty tricky, especially if you’re not CSS3 savvy.
Thankfully jQuery used with Bootstrap will not cause performance problems seen in many jQuery Mobile applications. This is because Bootstrap relays more on CSS during content generation than jQuery Mobile. More praises should go to Bootstrap grid system that is much much better than anything seen in jQuery Mobile, even if you count in every 3rd party grid systems. That grid system is what makes or breaks a good Bootstrap application. Using the platform’s grid isn’t mandatory, but it does make your job a whole lot easier.
Bootstrap has a large community, not to mention dedicated developers, which is a curse and a blessing at the same time. Thankfully Bootstrap doesn’t suffer from this as much as jQuery Mobile does. If you need anything just look for it in a Bootstrap official documentation page o Google it, Stackoverflow is also a right place for your question.
- Easy to develop and prototype
- Excellent 3rd party support and community
- Better for desktop web applications
- Less dependent on jQuery which relates to better performance
- All sites look the same, customization tends to be very hard
- Simply not made for professional use
- Official documentation
I leave you to make your decision. In few words, choose jQuery Mobile if you are working on a mobile application or choose Bootstrap if a desktop application is your primary goal. Both frameworks, while somewhat limited, are too good to ignore.
While working on this article, I missed mentioning one excellent advantage of jQuery Mobile and Bootstrap. They work very well together; you can easily combine Bootstrap grid system with jQuery Mobile page architecture, thus solving both frameworks disadvantages.