CSS Frameworks

Last week while at CSS Conf, there were two frameworks announced and discussed during two of the talks. The first was Topcoat, which is spearheaded by the folks at Adobe and the second is Pure, developed by Yahoo. Both these frameworks are doing different things, but I have to say, I started to ask my self how many CSS frameworks do we need? Why are new ones coming out all the time?

The reason I ask this is because I believe pattern libraries are much more helpful than frameworks. Instead of loading an entire framework and then adding in your styles or modifications on top of that, why not just pick and choose the patterns you want to use, saving yourself some KB of CSS? This is the way I have begun to work in the past 7 months. At my work we share patterns and when you start a project you add in the patterns you need as you build out the style guide (or you could call that a pattern library). This way, the CSS you are loading for the site is exactly what you need. I realize that some of these libararies are now claiming to be small, Pure is one of those, but if the code isn’t needed, why bother loading it at all?

I want to say that I think the work being done in CSS lately is amazing. I saw a lot of it at CSS Conf, but I also think that we need to be careful. Convenience comes at a cost and is that a cost that we are willing to pay or not?