High-end site builder Zurb is launching the fifth iteration of its popular Foundation framework for front-end web developers today. Foundation 5 is faster to learn, faster to code, and faster to run, “chief instigator” Bryan Zmijewski told VentureBeat.
Apparently, what he means is: It’s fast.
“Foundation 5 is our fastest release to date — faster in all aspects of building products and websites,” Zmijewski, founder of Zurb, said via email. “Foundation is built for professionals.”
One of the key features is that Foundation makes it easy to build responsive websites — sites that adapt to whatever device a visitor is using, whether a smartphone, tablet, or full PC. Just one of the top 20 sites in the world, WordPress.com, is fully responsive, Zmijewski says, and that’s because writing responsive sites is “still ill-understood, slow to learn, cumbersome to write, and challenging to test.”
But not with Foundation, especially the new version.
The new Foundation 5 is faster for users, with a technology called interchange that allows you to specify entirely difference sections of the site for different devices or classes of devices. In addition, with new hardware acceleration support, the framework now offers smoother animations and transitions.
The Foundation development group has also integrated fastclick.js to mobile users will get better performance, and has built Off Canvas into the core navigation options, providing an easy way to build navigation.
Foundation 5 is also faster for developers than the previous version, Foundation 4.
With new components including semantic breakpoints that make visibility classes and mixins faster, and a medium grid that removes the need for custom breakpoints and media queries, coding is faster in 5. In addition, Zurb has built a new command-line tool that “will let you spin up Foundation projects preposterously fast.” New projects will now include Libsass, which is a compiling library for the powerful CSS pre-processor Sass.
That alone will add a 5X speed boost to your style sheet changes, Zmijewski says.
Thankfully for newbies, Foundation 5 is also now faster to learn, with new documentation, detailed code examples, and a new start-up guide that will take Foundation neophytes from zero to hero, with a “complete Foundation environment to build or hack on.” There’s also a new Foundation Forum where you can get help from the developer community and find start videos to get you going quickly.
“Foundation was the first open-source framework to be responsive, semantic, mobile first,” Zmijewski told VentureBeat. Now it’s also the first to “have partials with Interchange,” he added.
The update will hit the Zurb site by 11AM PST today.
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