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How is this different from HTML5 Boilerplate?
HTML5 Boilerplate is an excellent and minimalist starting point for general front-end projects where you want to start from near scratch and build the layers of your projects up yourself.
The Web Fundamentals team want developers building multi-screen experiences to hit the ground running a little faster, which is why we build on the excellent work done by the HTML5 Boilerplate project to define a setup including responsive layouts, powerful performance optimization, cross-device tooling and a visual style guide.
We've found these tools useful in our own workflows building multi-device apps and think other developers may benefit from the same.
Yo is a fantastic scaffolding tool and Yeoman is a great workflow for creating new webapps, bringing a wealth of tooling to the table for those using different tech stacks and frameworks. One of the downsides of using Yeoman, however, is that it's hard to find a generator with a great mobile baseline.
Even then, you need to install all of the dependencies for new projects up-front. Web Starter Kit allows you to download our project in just a click and get started in seconds. You're in control of whether you use any of our optional tooling. A Yeoman generator for using Web Starter Kit will eventually be made available.
Why Gulp over Grunt?
Gulp is an expressive, streaming build system which brings a terse, easy to use configuration setup we feel benefits those using front-end build tooling. We enjoy using it for speed and task composability. Although Grunt is a fantastic tool with a rich ecosystem of existing plugins, it comes with a level of (what some deem) over-configuration when it comes to simple tasks. The team working on Web Starter Kit continue to use and love both tools, but felt Gulp would be a better fit for the needs of our users in this particular case.
Bootstrap, Zurb and similar libraries provide an excellent solution for prototyping your apps, but one of the biggest challenges with them is that it’s (almost too) easy to get stuck using their styles, look and feel for the lifetime of your application. We think this leads to a poorer experience on the multi-screen web.
In Web Starter Kit, we provide you a boilerplate set of base styles and a visual style guide for your components, but we actively encourage you to change these to suit your own app. This may require a little more work, but the reality is that any serious project is going to have it’s own look and feel and we want you to feel comfortable changing the kit to suit your own needs.
How does your Style Guide relate to PatternLab.io?
Web Starter Kit includes a static visual Style Guide for documenting your components. That said, we're keen to get something more powerful into our setup. We absolutely love PatternLab.io and very early versions of the project actually supported it out of the box. Having evaluated it for this project, we believe that the integration points between PatternLab (in particular, patternlab-node) and front-end projects could be streamlined further. We look forward to sharing some of our feedback with the PatternLab team and hope to be able to directly use it in a future release.
Does Web Starter Kit prescribe a particular front-end package manager?
The front-end package management community is incredibly diverse with some developers preferring to use Bower and others preferring to use npm and Browserify for managing dependencies. As our project does not rely on external libraries, we leave it to you to pick and integrate the package management solution that works best for you.