Bootstrap3 API Reading Notes

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This post is transferred from my old Hexo blog site, created on 2014.

CSS Part

This is a reading note for Bootstrap 3 Official API CSS part, including everything I think that will be useful for future web development.

Bootstrap3 needs to have <!DOCTYPE html> on top for html5 recogization purpose.

Bootstrap3 has "Mobile first" principle, so <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1"> should be added in <head> tag.

Bootstrap3 requires a container to hold all codes. so make sure add it before insert any more codes. Containers can not be nested:

<div class="container">

<!--Or use this for a full width of device-->
<div class="container-fluid">

Grid System

In Aug 2014, I read a very good tutorial about grid system in bootstrap3 from and wrote some notes:

  • 12 content boxes in all devices

  • mobile deivce has 1 column and 12 rows; tablet has 2 column and 6 rows

  • desktop has 3 column and 4 rows

  • large desktop has 4 column and 3 rows

  • if col-md-* is different for each column, .clearfix help with reduce visible block to make sure 12 column grid







Responsive utility class .visible-md/xs/sm/lg-block make .clearfix effectly only in special scale device. For example, if .visible-xs-block, this block will only be viewed on xs device(phone)

As a conclution, The way clearfix visilbel-xs/sm/md/lg work is everytime when a 12 grid appears, a clearfix visible-XX-block without any content needs to appear. For example:

<div class="row">
<div class="col-sm-6 col-md-4 col-lg-3"><p>Box 1</p></div>
<div class="col-sm-6 col-md-4 col-lg-3"><p>Box 2</p></div>
<div class="clearfix visible-sm-block"></div>
<!--There are 6*2=12 grids already, insert a clearfix with sm-->

<div class="row">
<div class="col-sm-6 col-md-4 col-lg-3"><p>Box 3</p></div>
<div class="clearfix visible-md-block"></div>
<!--There are 4*3=12 grids already, insert a clearfix with md -->
<div class="row">
<div class="col-sm-6 col-md-4 col-lg-3"><p>Box 4</p></div>
<div class="clearfix visible-sm-block"></div>
<!--Another 6*2 appears, so insert another clearfix with sm-->
<div class="row">
<div class="clearfix visible-lg-block"></div>
<!--There are 3*4 grid, so use clearfix with large-->

xs: less than 768px; sm: 768 to 992; md: 992 to 1200; lg: larger than 1200

Similar as visible, there are .hiddle-xs, .hidden-sm .hidden-md and .hidden-lg, hide in special scale

Similarly there is print class: .visible-print-block: when print, hide block elements; .visilble-print-inline/.visible-print-block: hide inline/inline-block in print; .hiddle-print: hide elements in print

Other useful things that I got from Bootstrap offical API about Grid System is:

  • The gap between columns is adjusted by padding.

  • If more than 12 columns in a row, extra columns will be put to new line as one unit.

  • If there is no col-lg-, then styles that apply to col-md- will also affect page on large device.

Place grid columns in any class="row":

<div class="container-fluid">
  <div class="row">

<!-- `.col-md-offset-*` can be used to move columns to the right. `*` is how many columns this column moves: -->
<div class="row">
    <div class="col-md-4"></div>
    <div class="col-md-4 col-md-offset-4"></div>
    <!-- last column will move to right, starting from the 9th column -->

It is safe to use nested column. But make sure class="row" is added to nested part.

Components Part


Table or List can be added in panel body for format.

<div class="panel panel-default">
<!--panel-default can be changed to panel-primary, panel-success, etc-->
    <div class="panel-heading">This page is disabled</div>
    <!--The way to define pannel heading-->
    <div class="panel-body">
    <div class="panel-footer clearfix">
    <!--add panel footer-->
        <div class="pull-right">
        <!--This will make footer to the right of the panel-->
            <a href="#" class="btn btn-primary">Learn More</a>

It is useful to put pannel with tables or list-groups. Just make .panel class wrap .panel-heading, .panel-body, and .tableor.list-group.

<div class="panel panel-default">
    <div class="panel-heading">Panel Heading</div>
    <div class="panel-body">Panel Body</div>
    <ul class="list-group">
        <li class="list-group-item">Item One</li>

A breadcrumb is a navigation scheme that indicates the user's location in a website or web application. For example: Home/Library/Data.

<ul class="breadcrumb">
    <li><a href="#">Home</a></li>
    <li><a href="#">Products</a></li>
    <li class="active">Accessories</li>

Pagination (Page Number Indicator)

<ul class="pagination pagination-sm">
<!--'pagination-sm' can be skipped or change to -xs/-lg, etc. This is used to define size of pagination-->
    <li><a href="#">&laquo;</a></li>
    <!-- Left page arrow-->
    <li class="disabled"><a href="#">1</a></li>
    <!--item can be disabled-->
    <li class="active"><a href="#">2</a></li>
    <!--Active Page Number-->
    <li><a href="#">&raquo;</a></li> <
    !-- Right page arrow-->

Bootstrap3 also have previous/next indicator, which is called Pager

<ul class="pager">
    <li class="previous"><a href="#">&larr; Previous</a></li>
    <!-- two class can make button aligned to left and right of window. &larr is a left arrow -->
    <li class="next disabled"><a href="#">Next &rarr</a></li>
    <!-- pager can be disabled -->

Labels and Badges

<h2>Bootstrap heading
<span class="label label-default">New</span>
<!-- create inline label 'new' for heading. 'label-default' can be replaced with label-success, etc -->
<a href="#">Notification <span class="badge">5</span></a>
<!-- badge is the number indicator for email or notification button. For example, a 5 will show if there are 5 notifications -->

Progress Bar

<!-- .progress-stripped is a class to make colorful effect. .active is a class to make animate effect -->
<div class="progress progress-stripped active">
    <!-- process-bar-success can be replaced by process-bar-warning, etc -->
    <div class="progress-bar process-bar-success" style="width: 60%">
        <span class="sr-only">20% Complete</span>

Process bar can also add label to indicate the numbered process. Reference:


Jumbotron is used as a header panel with important content, that can be put on top of homepage. For example, a Header combined with a paragraph and a read-more button

<div class="jumbotron">
    <h1>Welcome to Website</h1>
    <p>Key Notes: XXX...</p>
    <p><a href='#' class="btn btn-primary">LearnMore</a></p>


Wells componet make a part of content like sink in well. Used for static text.

<div class="well well-large/well-small">
In a well...

Close icons

A X icon on right of panel so that user can close this panel after read it

<div class="alert alert-warning">
    <a href="#" class="close" data-dismiss="alert"> &times;</a>
    <strong>Warning!</strong> There is a problem

Bootstarp3 Help Class

.pull-left/.pull-right will floats an element to left or right

.text-muted make a element grayed out by change its color value

.clearfix clear the float of any element


Available Classes:

btn-default/primary/info/success/warning/danger/link: define attributes of button

btn-lg/sm/xs: define size of button

btn-block: define a button that covers full width of parent element

diabled: disable a button

data-loading-text="Loading...": can be add when a button is in loading state (automatically turn off in firefox)

Toggle Button (hover effect): data-toggle="button"

Button group:

<div class="btn-group/btn-group-vertical btn-group-lg/sm/xs">
<!-- Can add btn-group-justified to make group buttons alignment justified -->
    <button type="button" class="btn btn-primary">Left</button>
    <button type="button" class="btn btn-primary">Right</button>
    <div class="btn-group">
        <button type="button" class="btn btn-default dropdown-toggle" data-toggle="dropdown">
        Button Group can be nested

.button-toolbar: class that wrap several .button-groups.

Justified button groups: use .btn-group-justified. You must wrap each button in a button-group:

<div class="btn-group btn-group-justified">
  <div class="btn-group">
    <button type="button" class="btn btn-default">Test Button1</button>
  <div class="btn-group">
    <button type="button" class="btn btn-default">Test Button2</button>

Available Methods for Button

$().button('toggle'): change any button to toggle state


$().button('loading'): when loading, button is disabled and text is swapped with the value of 'data-loading-text' attribute of button element

$().button('reset'): reset button state by swapping text to original text

$().button(string): reset button to show this string

Dropdown can be done within navabar, nav or buttons. Reference:

<!-- 'nav nav-pills' is nav, 'btn-group' is button -->
<div class="navbar navbar-static">
    <div class="navbar-inner">
        <a href='#' class="First">
        <ul role="navigation" class="nav">
            <li class="dropdown">
                <a href="#" data-toggle="dropdown" class="dropdown-toggle">
                First Dropdown <b class="caret"></b>
                <ul class="dropdown-menu">
                    <li><a href='#'>Second Dropdown</a></li>
                    <!-- <li class='divider'></li> can be add here if a button dropdown needs a divider -->
<!-- a button can be directly used as dropdown: <button data-toggle...>Dropdown <span class="caret"></span></button> -->

Available Methods for Dropdown

$().dropdown('toggle'): toggle item for a given dropdown

Available Events for Dropdown trigger when show instance method is called. can be reached by event.relatedTarget triger when a dropdown is visible. Will wait for css. can be reached by event.relatedTarget same except hide instance

//After click ok button, dropdown will be expanded
        var linkedText = $(e.relatedTarget).text();
        //linkedText will be firstClass item in dropdown
        alert("Click on OK button to view the dropdown menu for -" + linkText);


For performance reasons, tooltip must be initialized first

    $(".classOfItem a").tooltip();
    //Assume that structure of item is .classOfItem <a>...</a>

Trigger while set position of tooltip

$(".classOfItem").tooltip({placement: 'top/right/buttom/left'});

Available Method for Tooltip

$().tooltip(options): attach tooltip to elements, options can be found online, include titile, delay, etc

$().tooltip('show'/'hide'/'toggle'/'destory'): show/hide/toggle/destroy tooltip


Popover is like tooltip but is a panel with header and body content. It also needs to be initialize first

    $(".classOfItem a").popover();
    //Same as tooltip. Popover can set position when triggered. See tooltip part for detail

Popover has similar method as tooltip: options/show/hide/toggle/destroy.


<div class="alert alert-warning">
    <!-- 'alert-warning' can be changed to error/success/info -->
    <a href="#" class="close" data-dismiss="alert">&times;</a>
    <!-- enable close button for this alert message. Need JavaScript plugin-->
    <strong>Warning!</strong>There was a problem!

.alert-link adds link in alerts:

<div class="alert" role="alert">
  You must click <a href="#" class="alert-link">Link to other url</a> !

Available Methods for Alerts

$().alert: wrap all alert with close functionality


$().alert('close'): close a alert box


To use tab in nav bar, create <ul> with class="nav nav-tab" and each <li> has a href

Tabs can be add dynamically with any javascript: simply specify the data-toggle="tab" on each tab, as well as create a .tab-pane with unque ID for every tab and wrap them in .tab-content.

Create dynamic tab with javascript:

    $("#myTab a").click(function(e){
        //Note this function is defined on a href link
        //Method to activate a tab using .tab('show')

Form Part

Any element with .form-control has width:100%; by default.

You can nest the .input-group in .form-group but don't mix them directly.

Vertical Form in Bootstrap3:

<form role="form">
    <div class="form-group">
        <label for="example"></label>
        <input type="" id="example" class='form-control' placeholder=''>

Inline Form in Bootstrap3 (i.e. For a device that has less than 768px width.xs, the elements that listed inline in larger device will list in block)

<form class='form-inline' role="form">
    <div class='form-group'>
        <label for="examle">You must always add labels. You can use .sr-only class to hide it</label>
        <input type="" class="form-control" id="example"/> //Define grid for input area
            <input ...>

Supported Form Controls

All html5 input type are supported: text, password, datetime, datetime-local, date, month, time, week, number, email, url, search, tel, color

<fieldset> can be used to wrap a few form-group in order to easily apply style.

.disabled can be added to .radio or .checkbox or <fieldset> to disable these elements.

.checkbox-inline or .radio-inline create inline-element. They needs to be wrpped in <label>:

<label class="checkbox-line">
    <input type="checkbox" id="test" value="test"> test
    <!-- 'test' here can be skipped if this checkbox don't need any label. But this input must always be wrapped in <label> tag.-->

.form-control-static can be put in a <p> tag to create a text that hold the place as a input field

<div class="form-group">
    <label for="test">Test:</label>
    <p class="form-control-static" id="test">This is a text</p>

After using Javascript to valid data in input field, '.has-warning',.has-error or .has-success can be added to input fields to show validation result. <span class="glyphicon plyphicon-warning-sign form-control-feedback> can be added after <input> field if optional icons are needed.

<span class=".help-block" can add help text under input field

Input Group

To add icon, put <span class='input-group-addon'></span> inside a input-group class

To add button attched to input, use .input-group-btnfor a span and add button in span. Put this span right after input box.

Input group can have height class .input-group-lg.

Image and Media Part

Use Bootstrap3 to modify shape of image: .img-rouned,.img-circle,.img-thumbnail.

.thumbnail define a div with shape of thumbnail. div can include jpg file. Best use with grid class.

Media Objects: create layout like twitter or Linkedin name signature

<div class='media'>
    <a href="#" class="pull-left">...
    <!--This part will be left panel, best to put thumbnail in -->
    <div class="media-body">
        <h1 class="media-heading">

Reference Glyphicon library: <span class="glyphicon glyphicon-class-name"></span>.

List and Nav Part


Horizontal list:

    Horizonal Defination List: work is on left, corresponding explanation is on right

<dl class="dl-horizontal">

List Groups (like a vertical nav bar):

<ul class='list-group'>
    <li class="list-group-item"></li>

Make list group hyperlink (vertical nav bar)

<div class="list-group">
    <a href='#' class="list-group-item (active)">
            <!--You can dd .glyphicon for icons before text. span is easier to use-->

Create nav bar in tabs: <ul class="nav nav-tabs"><li class="active">. To add icon to tabs, just put span.

Create nav bar in pills: <ul class="nav nav-pills"><li>.

Create vertical nav bar: <ul class="nav nav-pills nav-stacked">.

Dropdown nav bar:

<ul class="nav nav-tabs">
    <li class="dropdown">
        <a href="#" data-toggle="dropdown" class="dropdown-toggle">FirstClass<b class="caret"></b></a> //First class menu
            <ul class="dropdown-menu">
                <li>... //Second class items

To make a justified nav bar, or make any elements justify-aligned, use nav-justified class. The way to use it is:

<ul class='nav-justified'>

Disable nav bar items:

<li class="disabled">

A full example:

<nav role="navigation" class="navbar navbar-default">
    <!--First class nav bar-->
    <div class="navbar-header">
        <button type="button" data-target="#navbarCollapse" data-toggle="collapse" class="navbar-toggle">
        <!--Header is the button that when change to mobile, the only item that will not be put to menu button-->
            <span class="iron-bar"></span>
            <span class="iron-bar"></span>
            <!--put as many as the number of nav items-->
        <a href="#" class="">NavBarHead</a>
    <div id="navbarCollapse" class="collapse navbar-collapse">
        <ul class="nav navbar-nav">
            <li class="dropdown">
                <a data-toggle="dropdown" class="dropdown-toggle" href="#">
                FirstClassItem <!-- //Item that is going to have dropdown-->
                <b class="caret"></b>
                    <ul role="menu" class="dropdown-menu">
                        <a href="#">SecondClassItem</a>
                        <!--Can add <li class="divider"></li> as divider between items-->

Fixed position nav bar: add .navbar-fixed-top/.navbar-fixed-bottom in nav tag.

Full width nav bar: add .navbar-static-top/bottom in nav tag

Nav Bar with Search Form:

<div id="navbarCollapse" class="collapse navbar-collapse">
    <form role="search" class="navbar-form navbar-left">
        <div class="form-group">
            <input type="text" placeholder="search" class="form-control">

Inversed navbar (color): add .navbar-inverse in nav tag

Table Part

.table-striped make table's nth row has different color than n-1th row

.table-bordered add border

.table-hover add hover effect

.table-condensed cut the cell padding in half. Most obviously cell height is in half size.

<table class="table table-XXX">

Responsive Table in Bootstrap3: .table-responsive. Will add scroll bar if table width is larger than container width, when device size is under 768px(i.e..xs);

Text Part

.small crates grey and smaller font

.lead creates standing-out font

text alignment class: text-left, text-center, text-right, text-justify, text-nowrap

text style class: <b>:bold, <big>:bigger, <code>:computer code, <i>:italic, <mark>:highlight, <strong>: strong, <sub>/<sup>:lift and move down font, <ins>: unline, <del>: delete line

text style class:



-.text-capitalize: only first letter of each work will be upper case

Bootstrap text emphasis class (text with color):

-.text-muted: greyed out

-.text-primary: important, default is blue

-.text-success: default is green

-.text-info: default is blue-grey

-.text-warning: default is brown

-.text-danger: default is red


-<blockquote>: start of a block of quote

-<cite>: cite author name

-.pull-right: all block text align is right

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