Material Design Lite

Everyone is talking about Material Design Lite (MDL) these days. The whole community of web designers and developers is quite crazy about it and it seems like the buzz around it is justified. By introducing MDL, Google is trying to get into the web design game and suggest (impose) its guidelines for good design and beautiful UI across all devices.

A little history of Material Design

In 2014, Google introduced Material Design principles and now is bringing them to the websites. Basically, the newly introduced Material Design Lite is a framework that helps you easily implement material design style on websites. It’s a light library (~27KB gzipped) of components, created using vanilla CSS, HTML and JavaScript. It’s written in Sass using BEM (which is by the way developed by Yandex), you can download Material Design Lite on or GitHub.

MDL library of components includes plenty of UI elements like buttons, badges, menus, toggles, etc., some predefined templates like blog, dashboard, text webpage, article, page, etc., style definition and a theme customizer.


You can read more about MDL and its features in this official announcement.

A little history of Bootstrap

Bootstrap was created at Twitter in 2010, by a designer and a developer (@mdo and @fat). Initially, it was used (and still is) as the style guide for internal tools development at the company. After 1 year it was released as an open source framework and has become one of the most popular front-end frameworks on web.


Material Design Lite vs Bootstrap

Let’s have a look at the interest provided by searches on Google. We see a growing interest over Material Design since its launch in 2014, but Bootstrap is still strong.


Twitter Bootstrap usage statistics provided by builtwith show us that 9.2% of top 10k websites (according to Quantcast rating) are built using this framework.


Currently, Bootstrap has 33,604 forks, 658 contributors, 83,232 avid followers on GitHub and MDL started with 911 forks, 74 contributors and 9,078 avid followers on GitHub.



Speaking of premium themes and templates (WordPress, HTML, PSD, etc.), we found1,517 themes tagged with “bootstrap” and 82 themes tagged with “material design”. The searches were performed on Themeforest – the biggest marketplace of premium website themes on web.



The bottom line

Material Design Lite is for sure a big thing, Google did a great job and will certainly push it further. The time will show if it’s a game changer and if it will be adopted on a large scale. Currently, we see different reactions, but it’s a normal thing as MDL is in its initial phase. However, at this time it can be considered a Bootstrap killer, why? It seems like it was initiated to consolidate the position of Google in its current domains (Android, web services, search, etc.) and to provide a unique platform for all devices. Also, we’ve already seen unsuccessful attempts by Google to kill some popular services (do you remember the Facebook killer called Google+?. On the other hand Bootstrap was born out of real needs, to solve a lot of issues and to enhance the process of web design and this might be a strong reason for developers and designers. Please tell us what do you think, are you ready to switch to MDL or not? Leave a comment and express your opinion.

3 thoughts on “Is Material Design Lite a Bootstrap killer?

  1. I think for the moment will be the better tool for me to develop and design websites and mobile Applications.
    Maybe in the future will be a project to mix both frameworks or just to work with MDL.

  2. Google+ is not dead 🙂

    I’m looking forward to playing with MDL, I have used bootstrap at several projects.

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