Bootstrap 3 vs Bootstrap 4: Should you move? What are the Differences?

Bootstrap 3 vs Bootstrap 4: Should you move? What are the Differences?
By ID Media | Tuesday 10th October 2017

Bootstrap has been one of the most trusted front-end frameworks of all times. It has a loyal audience who has been sticking around from the very robust “mobile-first” release of all times, i.e., Bootstrap 3. This overwhelming release holds the responsibility of creating one of the strongest communities ever. It’s fairly understandable syntax makes it highly approachable. All it requires is the basic knowledge of HTML and CSS.

The last stable release was back in July 2016 with Bootstrap v3.3.7. And it’s only preview release been that of Bootstrap 4.0.0 Beta version in August 2017. These data can very well justify the fact that Bootstrap has been putting in a lot of effort in terms of delivering the best possible results. If observed closely, one is definitely going to point out the fact that they have both of their versions available in the market. Although they have suspended work on Bootstrap 3 in order to intensify their work on the development of Bootstrap 4.

Still, the question remains unanswered, which we have come across through many google searches, i.e., “should I use bootstrap 4?’ or “should I learn bootstrap 3 or bootstrap 4 in 2017?”

These repetitive questions arise when one isn’t fully aware of the changes that have been brought from one version to another.


What has really changed in version 4? What it exclusively offers?

The latest Bootstrap 4 beta version got released after 2 years on 10th Aug 2017. Some might call it mostly a rewrite, but it does differ with its predecessors in many possible ways. Some of them are mentioned below;


In Bootstrap 4, Navigation component has been simplified to a great extent. One is required to create a new list of elements employing the latest nav base class. There are some recent additions like nav-link class, nav-item class and navigation bar styles also.

Appearance & Outlook:

Although there is not any drastic change in the appearance. Yet, there are certain poignant changes like altered font implementation size, primary context colour, background colour. Moreover, Bootstrap 4 framework has stopped it’s shipping with Glyphicons. Hence, it is lightweight and also requires manual integration or some other alternative.


Bootstrap 3 had used Normalize.css in order to render all the HTML elements their consistent appearance. Bootstrap 4 adopted an enhanced version of Normalize.css i.e., Reboot.

Grid system:

Bootstrap 4 positions a lot of emphasis on customization. Hence, it’s new grid tier system lets the version 4 enjoy the presence of up to 5 grid tiers. One can easily say that Bootstrap 4 provides access to an improved grid system.


Flexbox is one such layout model that permits the formation of complex layouts with ease. It can be used in order to scale elements or apply advanced alignment capabilities, horizontal as well as vertical. It does not replace the already existing page layout. Bootstrap 4’s major step towards improvement is its movement towards adopting Flexbox.

Form control:

Bootstrap 4 offers an improved form control. It enables to deal with the inconsistent input control and its appearance on different browsers. It provides custom forms too, in the form of custom checkboxes and radio inputs.


In the version 4, dropdown item class needs to be applied to every dropdown item. In fact, the caret symbol is intuitively added to dropdown toggles that have been added using drop-down toggle class.


In Bootstrap 3, a pagination component was created by applying the pagination class to any ul element. Now, Bootstrap 4 demands one to properly indicate pagination and link items using page-item as well as page-link class.


As in Bootstrap 3, plugins were divided into two categories, namely, a file including style rules and a Javascript file. There aren’t any poignant changes as to how the plugins are compiled in Bootstrap 4 either. In the latest version, style rules are composed using SASS. Whereas, plugins are available under global jQuery object as Javascript file contains a jQuery section.

Browser support:

Bootstrap 4 offers its immense support to all the major and renowned browsers of all times, like, Safari, Chrome, Opera and Internet Explorer (i8, and above) etc.

Utility classes:

In Bootstrap 4, new utility classes have been included without hampering any existing functionality, whatsoever. Such important additions are as that of responsive text alignment classes, responsive floats, and responsive embedding. Apart from offering many shortcuts, these, respectively, allow for changing the alignment of the text, floating of the elements and the scaling of the aspect ratio of any embedded media.


How are these changes different? | Comparison Chart: Bootstrap 3 vs Bootstrap 4

Keeping in mind the constant curiosity clouds that have remained around these Bootstrap’s versions. This has led us to the very difficult yet highly demanded Bootstrap 3 vs Bootstrap 4 comparison.

Parameters Bootstrap 3 Bootstrap 4
Source CSS file LESS SASS
Grid Tiers 4 grid tier system 5 gid tier system
Dropdown Structure Can be created with <ul> and <li> Can be created with <ul> or <div>
Default Pagination .pagination needs to be added to <ul> element .page-item must be added to to each <li> element and .page-link to each <a> element
Responsive Images Apply .img-responsive class Apply .img-fluid class
Responsive Tables .table-responsive class should be added to parent <div> element .table-responsive class to be added to <table> element
Navbar Alignment Employ .navbar-right, .navbar-left to align components Employ spacing utilities such as .mr-auto, or flexbox alignment utilities


Upper hand in using Bootstrap 4 over 3 or Downside?

In the section above, we have talked about the features that Bootstrap 4 exclusively offers. Hence, in order to settle down this raging conflict, we have to pick one. In this Bootstrap 3 vs Bootstrap 4, we need to declare one’s superiority over the other.

Bootstrap 4, in our opinion, deserves to be rewarded as it moved to flexbox. This movement can be considered as one of the biggest and significant achievements of all times. This provided the following benefits;

  • Flexbox based grid
  • New XLl grid tier
  • Latest auto-layout grid
  • Navbar customisation options
  • New Spacing utilities
  • Sans Glyphicons configuration (Bloat-free zone)
  • Responsive sizing
  • Responsive Floats
  • Auto Margins
  • Vertical Centering

With these above-specified benefits that Bootstrap 4 caters, one can get inclined towards this version than the previous one.


Twitter user reactions when we asked about Bootstrap 4

Once Bootstrap 4’s beta version was dropped like a bomb in the tech-arena, opinions related to it spread like wildfire. People started reacting on social media on the basis of their usage and how well Bootstrap 4 served them. The fact that it created a ruckus in the contemporary market is because of its exclusive features. It might have been catcalled as merely a “rewrite”. But that is just a false proposition.

Bootstrap team’s diligent efforts of more than 24 months have been paid off. This Beta release took the world by storm. Twitter, being one such social media platform who acted as an instrument for reviewing this latest release. We gathered a few responses here to provide you an insight towards this stir;