ZURB’s Foundation 4 Framework Arrives

With the exception of the Forrst acquisition, ZURB has been a bit more quiet on the public front this year compared to last, but it surely hasn’t been because they’ve been taking it easy. Behind the scenes, ZURB has been working hard, completely renovating one of their most prized creations. As of 12pm PST today, the fourth iteration of their responsive front-end framework, Foundations 4 is available for download.

With over 300,000 downloads to date (and a Top 20 starred GitHub repository), Foundation continues to have a worldwide impact how people approach responsive design in their personal and business projects.

One of the main focuses for the Foundations framework has been mobile. Last year they broke ground with Foundation 3, but ZURB takes this to an entirely new level with Foundations 4, completely rewriting the framework with a “mobile-first perspective.” Time spent on mobile devices is growing at 14 times the rate of less portable, desktop solutions, and what better way for designers to capitalize on the growing trend than to give them a powerful framework to start with?

ZURB makes it very clear designers utilizing Foundations 4 will need to adopt a mobile-first strategy to designing, with desktop solutions being secondary, growing in complexity by layering as the screen size increases. The trend is unavoidable and by ZURB changing the framework, they are pushing the thought process behind mobile-first design to developers, especially those who are yet to make the switch.

As for the technical details of Foundations 4, ZURB stated the following:

Designers will benefit from smarter, more semantic coding. There are more mix-ins and placeholder classes. The more-streamlined code will allow designers to focus primarily on the HTML, which speeds up coding and time between iterations. In addition, the Javascript has been refined. We’ve opted to go with Zepto, a lighter and faster version of jQuery, to ensure that pages load quickly and efficiently given our mobile focus.

ZURB seems to understand the changes needing to be made as trends continue to push thinking forward. Completely changing the way designers go about using the framework seems like a big risk, but in doing taking those risks, there are also great rewards.

Foundation 4 adds a great deal of improvements to turn what was an already incredible framework into an even more powerful one, capable of scaling with design trends, not just content. I’m extremely excited to see what designers are capable of creating with this more robust framework.

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