Bootstrap - Environment Setup

It is very easy to setup and start using Bootstrap. This chapter will explain how to download and setup Bootstrap. We will also discuss the Bootstrap file structure, and demonstrate its usage with an example.

Download Bootstrap

You can download the latest version of Bootstrap from When you click on this link, you will get to see a screen as below −

Bootstrap Download Screen

Here you can see two buttons −

  • Download Bootstrap − Clicking this, you can download the precompiled and minified versions of Bootstrap CSS, JavaScript, and fonts. No documentation or original source code files are included.

  • Download Source − Clicking this, you can get the latest Bootstrap LESS and JavaScript source code directly from GitHub.

If you work with Bootstrap's uncompiled source code, you need to compile the LESS files to produce usable CSS files. For compiling LESS files into CSS, Bootstrap officially supports only Recess, which is Twitter's CSS hinter based on less.js.

For better understanding and ease of use, we shall use precompiled version of Bootstrap throughout the tutorial. As the files are complied and minified you don't have to bother every time including separate files for individual functionality. At the time of writing this tutorial the latest version (Bootstrap 3) was downloaded.

File structure

Precompiled Bootstrap

Once the compiled version Bootstrap is downloaded, extract the ZIP file, and you will see the following file/directory structure −

Compiled Bootstrap File Structure

As you can see, there are compiled CSS and JS (bootstrap.*), as well as compiled and minified CSS and JS (bootstrap.min.*). Fonts from Glyphicons are included, as it is the optional Bootstrap theme.

Bootstrap Source Code

If you have downloaded the Bootstrap source code then the file structure would be as follows −

Bootstrap Source code Structure
  • The files under less/, js/, and fonts/ are the source code for Bootstrap CSS, JS, and icon fonts (respectively).

  • The dist/ folder includes everything listed in the precompiled download section above.

  • docs-assets/, examples/, and all *.html files are Bootstrap documentation.

HTML Template

A basic HTML template using Bootstrap would look like this −

<!DOCTYPE html>
      <title>Bootstrap 101 Template</title>
      <meta name = "viewport" content = "width = device-width, initial-scale = 1.0">
      <!-- Bootstrap -->
      <link href = "css/bootstrap.min.css" rel = "stylesheet">
      <!-- HTML5 Shim and Respond.js IE8 support of HTML5 elements and media queries -->
      <!-- WARNING: Respond.js doesn't work if you view the page via file:// -->
      <!--[if lt IE 9]>
      <script src = ""></script>
      <script src = ""></script>
      <h1>Hello, world!</h1>

      <!-- jQuery (necessary for Bootstrap's JavaScript plugins) -->
      <script src = ""></script>
      <!-- Include all compiled plugins (below), or include individual files as needed -->
      <script src = "js/bootstrap.min.js"></script>

Here you can see the jquery.js, bootstrap.min.js and bootstrap.min.css files that are included to make a normal HTM file to the Bootstrapped Template. Just make sure to include jQuery library before you include Bootstrap library.

More details about each of the elements in this above piece of code will be discussed in the chapter Bootstrap CSS Overview.


Now let's try an example using the above template. Try the following example using Live Demo option available at the top right corner of the below sample code box on our website −

<h1>Hello, world!</h1>
In all the subsequent chapters we have used dummy text from the site