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In Bed with Madonna Foundation 3.5.0

The very famous CSS framework has its limits… and I have met them

A few days I decided to investigate Foundation, the CSS framework everyone seems to be found of… Foundation is very active on Twitter, as well as seems to be its Community. I chose Foundation over Bootstrap, then.


  1. sketch on paper (mobile & desktop)
  2. code the homepage (mobile first) : main HTML tags (header, nav…) are to be inserted inside the rows
  3. code the homepage (desktop) : stuff it with classes to adapt your design and align your media (texts…)
  4. copy / past relevant code and start again for other pages

Media Queries

After three days of tests and trials, I have a few comments.

1. No Downloadable Grid

I know I am old school (just joking) but I wish I could download a .PSD grid somewhere.
Foundation is dedicated to integration, there’s nothing about design and thinking things first.

2. “Mobile First Design”

Foundation is mobile-first. Code for small screens first, and larger devices will inherit those styles. Customize for larger screens as necessary.

“Mobile First” is bullshit if you ask me. “Customize for larger screens as necessary” is even more bullshit. Why ?

Larger screens design can be pretty different from mobile screen design. When designing, you must consider both designs at the same time. You can not go mobile, then wonder “Ho Hey, what should I do with larger screens” ?

3. Limitations

What’s more, Foundation seems to rely on a “rows system”. I have no problem with that, except that Foundation cannot handle a very basic design :


I am sorry to say I can not go any further with a framework that does not allow very basic design to be implemented.
To tell the truth, I spent several hours to play around but in the end, I could not make it work.
Because that row approach unables you to do many things.

4. Speed

Foundation relies on 6 thousands lines of code. Let me tell you that it does slow down the display of the pages. Surely there must be a lighter way.


As many tools from the United States, Foundation is well-packaged and someone who is NOT comfortable with CSS will be very happy. That is perhaps Foundation’s goal.

Now, if (like me) you have coded in CSS before and you want Foundation to help integrate your webdesigns, without breaking the webdesigns, I suggest you stay away from it.

When using Foundation 3.5.0, bear in mind that it’ll be easier to have your design suit the framework, than the contrary.

You don’t agree ?

Please do not hesitate to show me wrong via Twitter : @jeansamdenis.
My purpose is not to denigrate Foundation, just to give an opinion at a given time, on a given version.

Article écrit par Jean Sam Denis


Bonjour, je suis Jean-Sam, webmaster / community manager à temps partagé, auprès de PME installées en Bourgogne, en Franche-Comté et Rhône-Alpes. J'essaie d'apporter de la cohérence et de l'ambition aux projets internet, afin qu'ils soient durables et profitables.
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