50 Must-have plugins for extending Twitter Bootstrap

50 Must-have plugins for extending Twitter Bootstrap

You most certainly know about Twitter Bootstrap - the popular front end framework for building websites and apps. It favors simple, responsive design, and comes bundled with a sensible default stylesheet, a number of useful jQuery plugins and an icon set. Although it doesn’t come with much else, Bootstrap is very extensible. In this article, you will find a collection of 50 must-have plugins you should know about for effective development with the framework. Let’s begin!

Collections of Bootstrap Enhancements

We will start off with two collections of Bootstrap plugins that are the perfect companions to the framework.

Fuel UX

Fuel UX is an incredible collection of enhancements to Twitter Bootstrap. All the controls are clean and lightweight, and they fit naturally into the bootstrap look and feel. The collection includes controls like datagrids, custom select boxes, spinners, trees, multi-step form wizards and more.

Website | Github

Fuel UX

Fuel UX

Jasny

Jasny is another collection of useful interface components for bootstrap. It features controls like input masks, file upload buttons, icons, additional form styles and more. You can either get a version of bootstrap with all the changes integrated, or you can download them separately as plugins.

Website | Github

Jasny Bootstrap

Jasny Bootstrap

Galleries

It is worth noting that you can use any regular jQuery plugin with your bootstrap-powered website. This means that any of the galleries from our jQuery plugin collection will work perfectly fine. What these plugins won’t have though, is bootstrap’s design language and way of doing things. For this reason, check out these three plugins specifically created with bootstrap in mind:

Bootstrap Lightbox

Bootstrap does include a carousel, but it falls short when you need to show a photo in a lightbox. This is where the simple Bootstrap Lightbox plugin comes into play. All you need to do is add the required HTML to the page, and you get a pretty and responsive lightbox with an optional caption.

Website | Github

Bootstrap Lightbox

Bootstrap Lightbox

Simple Lightbox

Simple Lightbox is another lightbox plugin that is simpler that the one above. It requires only that you add a data attribute to the image and to initialize the plugin.

Website

Simple Lightbox

Simple Lightbox

Bootstrap Image Gallery

Bootstrap Image Gallery is a complete gallery solution for bootstrap. After you include the needed files in your page, you get a grid of images which open in modal windows. The gallery can also optionally go into fullscreen mode. Note that there is now an improved version of this plugin which drops the Bootstrap requirement, so you can use it in any project.

Website | Github

Bootstrap Image Gallery

Bootstrap Image Gallery

Dialogs and Notifications

Bootstrap comes with a good modal window implementation out of the box. These plugins make it even better.

Bootbox.js

Bootbox.js is a small JavaScript library that automates the process of creating bootstrap dialogs. It creates the needed markup for you, so all you have to do to trigger a bootstrap dialog is to call a function. It mimics the built-in browser dialogs like alert, confirm and prompt.

Website | Github

Bootbox.js

Bootbox.js

Bootstrap Modal

Bootstrap Modal extends the default bootstrap modal class. It makes the default dialogs responsive and adds the ability to load their content via AJAX automatically for you.

Website | Github

Bootstrap Modal

Bootstrap Modal

Bootstrap Growl

Bootstrap Growl is a jQuery plugin which turns Bootstrap’s notifications into pretty Growl-like alerts. Notifications can be heavily customized; you can choose the position on the screen, dimensions offsets and time to fade out.

Github

Bootstrap Growl

Bootstrap Growl

Bootstrap Notify

Bootstrap Notify is a user-friendly extension to bootstrap notifications. Like the growl plugin above, here you can also heavily customize every aspect of the notifications and where they are shown.

Website | Github

Bootstrap Notify

Bootstrap Notify

Forms

Forms are the necessary evil of web development. They may be tedious and boring to create and to fill in, but they occupy a very important place in our online interactions. Bootstrap brings a long list of enhancements to forms in terms of usability and presentation. It may not offer much else, but the plugins in this section do a great job at changing that.

Bootstrap Form Helpers

Bootstrap Form Helpers is an indispensable collection for enhancing web forms. It comes with 12 custom jQuery plugins that give you everything from date and time pickers, font lists, timezone, language and country fields and more.

Website | Github

Bootstrap Form Helpers

Bootstrap Form Helpers

Bootstrap Tags

Bootstrap Tags is a plugin which can enhance your search boxes by presenting the search terms as tags. The plugin also supports filters, placeholders, popovers and autosuggest as well as a full set of callback functions so you can hook it up with your code. Similar plugins are Tags Manager and Bootstrap Tag.

Website | Github

Bootstrap Tags

Bootstrap Tags

Bootstrap Switch

No mobile interface is complete without a iOS-like switch control, and Bootstrap Switch gives you a perfect implementation that fits nicely into the Bootstrap design language. You can customize the size of the control and the colors by assigning class names to the element. The plugin is really simple to set up, as it wraps around an existing checkbox.

Website | Github

Bootstrap Switch

Bootstrap Switch

Bootstrap Markdown

I’ve mentioned markdown on Tutorialzine before (we even made a lightweight blog system with it ). Bootstrap markdown makes it possible to add markdown editing functionality seamlessly to your projects.

Website | Github

Bootstrap Markdown

Bootstrap Markdown

Bootstrap Maxlength

Bootstrap Maxlength is a neat little plugin which detects the HTML maxlength property of a textfield, and displays an interactive counter of the remaining characters. It is a great addition to text boxes and text areas.

Website | Github

Bootstrap Maxlength

Bootstrap Maxlength

Bootstrap Select

Bootstrap favors native browser controls, which is the reason it doesn’t expose any customization options for them. However, in some projects it is useful to have customizable controls like select boxes, which is exactly what Bootstrap Select does. This plugin gives you a pretty and customizable select box which looks great in your page. For an alternative try with SelectBoxIt, or one of the other well-known plugins like Select2 or Chosen.

Website | Github

Bootstrap Select

Bootstrap Select

Bootstrap Multiselect

And for select inputs without the multiple attribute, you can use Bootstrap Multiselect. The plugin creates an intuitive interface for using select inputs with the multiple attribute present. Instead of a select, a bootstrap button will be shown as a dropdown menu containing the single options as checkboxes.

Website | Github

Bootstrap Multiselect

Bootstrap Multiselect

Bootstrap WYSIHTML5

Bootstrap WYSIHTML5 is a beautiful rich text editor for bootstrap that comes in the form of an easy to embed JavaScript plugin. It gives you only basic functionality, but this will be fine for 90% of the use cases. For a bit more advanced editor, try this one or the insanely powerful TinyMCE.

Website | Github

Bootstrap WYSIHTML5

Bootstrap WYSIHTML5

Bootstrap Form Wizard

It is a good practice to split long forms into smaller, contextually similar chunks. This makes them a bit easier to handle. The Bootstrap Form Wizard does that for you and more.

Website | Github

Bootstrap Form Wizard

Bootstrap Form Wizard

jqBootstrapValidation

jqBootstrapValidation is a plugin that makes it easy to validate your Bootstrap forms. It is easy to include into your project and all the validation rules are described as data attributes on the input elements. If you need an alternative plugin, take a look at nod.

Website | Github

jqBootstrapValidation

jqBootstrapValidation

jQuery File Upload

jQuery File Upload is a very powerful and versatile file uploading plugin. See our tutorial about it here. The plugin is not strictly for bootstrap, but all the examples of their homepage use the frontend framework extensively.

Website | Github

jQuery File Upload

jQuery File Upload

Bootstrap Tag Autocomplete

Bootstrap Tag Autocomplete is a library which adds twitter and facebook-like mentions to your content editable text areas. It takes an array of available completions and inserts them as nodes in the text area on a match.

Website | Github

Bootstrap Tag Autocomplete

Bootstrap Tag Autocomplete

Date and Time Pickers

Your web application probably requires dates to be formatted in a specific way, and expecting people to manually type them in is a road that can only lead to frustration. The better approach is to have a widget which lets users simply click or tap on the date they need. The plugins in this category add such functionality to your Bootstrap forms.

Daterangepicker

Daterangepicker is a plugin for Bootstrap that is the perfect addition to your reports page. It lets users choose preset time periods like the last 7 or 30 days (you can define your own presets) and they can also choose an arbitrary time intervals. You only need to pass a few callback functions when instantiating the plugin, and you are ready to go. Check out a tutorial where we used this plugin to update a chart.

Website | Github

Daterangepicker

Daterangepicker

Bootstrap Timepicker

Bootstrap Timepicker is a pretty and touch friendly plugin that lets you turn text fields into time selection controls. It doesn’t have support for dates, but for that you can use one of the next plugins.

Website | Github

Bootstrap Timepicker

Bootstrap Timepicker

Clockface

Clockface is an alternative plugin to the one above. It presents the hours and minutes as text labels in a circle. While it is a bit ugly for my taste, I give it points for originality.

Website | Github

Clockface

Clockface

Bootstrap Datetime

Bootstrap Datetime Picker is a fully featured plugin that lets you turn a text field into a handy date and time picker control. The plugin is pretty and fits nicely with the framework’s design language. It is also fairly easy to customize with CSS. For an alternative check out this plugin.

Website | Github

Bootstrap Datetime

Bootstrap Datetime

Bic_Calendar

Bic_Calendar is a simple calendar widget that can show events loaded through AJAX. An example PHP script is included that outputs the events as a JSON object. The events are then displayed on the calendar and shown in a popup.

Website | Github

Bic_Calendar

Bic_Calendar

Color Pickers

Entering colors is another area that users need help with. You can’t simply think of a color and write down its hex value – you need to visualize it in some way. The plugins listed here help you alleviate this problem by creating color picker controls and swatches.

Pick a Color

Pick a Color is a bootstrap addon that shows an advanced color picker. You can choose colors by modifying one of the presets, by choosing a previously saved one, or generating a color by modifying the hue, saturation and lightness components.

Website | Github

Pick a Color

Pick a Color

Colorpicker for Bootstrap

Colorpicker for Bootstrap is a more traditional color picker – you get a Photoshop-like widget that lets you choose the main color and specific hues. I personally find this easier to use than the above plugin.

Website | Github

Colorpicker for Bootstrap

Colorpicker for Bootstrap

Color Palette

Color Palette is a Bootstrap plugin that displays a grid of color swatches when a text field is focused. The plugin is easy to integrate with your bootstrap project.

Website | Github

Color Palette

Color Palette

Tables

Bootstrap already offers basic table styles that do a great job with simple data. However, what if you’d like that data to be sortable, searchable and presentable on multiple pages? Read on.

Tablecloth

Tablecloth is a plugin that makes your tables pretty. It comes with a number of built-in styles, and it uses plugins like tablesorter internally to make the data in your tables sortable.

Website | Github

Tablecloth

Tablecloth

Data Tables

Data Tables is another table enhancing addon for Bootstrap. This plugin not only makes your tables sortable, but it also makes use of the framework’s pagination controls and makes the data searchable.

Website

Data Tables

Data Tables

Interface Enhancements

This section contains various plugins that enhance the interface of your web app.

jQuery Bootpag

jQuery Bootpag is an enhanced bootstrap pagination plugin. It is very easy to set up – you only have to pass a callback function and listen for the page event. Inside that function, you can update the container element with the content that you need.

Website | Github

jQuery Bootpag

jQuery Bootpag

Tocify

Tocify is a table of contents plugin. It scans your page on DOMReady, looking for headings, and creates a Bootstrap – styled table of contents dynamically.

Website | Github

Tocify

Tocify

Bootstrap Link Preview

Bootstrap Link Preview is a JavaScript library offering a Facebook-like preview for URLs. It is very simple to use and weighs just a few kilobytes. To work around the same origin policy it depends on a PHP script though.

Website | Github

Bootstrap Link Preview

Bootstrap Link Preview

Tab drop

Tab drop is a neat plugin that hides your tabs in a dropdown if they don’t fit in a single row. This can come handy when designing responsive sites that need to work on small screens.

Website

Tab drop

Tab drop

Flippant.js

Flippant.js is a tiny plugin that lets you flip elements to reveal further content with a smooth CSS transition. You can put any content on the back side – simply pass it as an argument to the function call.

Website | Github

Flippant.js

Flippant.js

Hover Dropdown

Another interface enhancement for Bootstrap. With the Hover Dropdown plugin you can activate the framework’s dropdowns on hover in addition to click. This can make for a better user experience with your site.

Website | Github

Hover Dropdown

Hover Dropdown

Social Buttons

Social Buttons is a collection of pretty social networking buttons built with Bootstrap and Font Awesome. This makes them very easy to scale and style.

Website | Github

Social Buttons

Social Buttons

Bootstro.js

Bootstro.js is a bootstrap plugin that lets you build a guided tour for new users. A tour consists of tooltips and overlays which explain the functions of your app. The plugin has plenty of options and callbacks, so it is easy to hook up with the rest of your code. For an alternative, checkout Bootstraptour.

Website | Github

Bootstro.js

Bootstro.js

AJAX

The Bootstrap extensions in this section handle inline editing of content with automatic syncing with your server, extend the framework with AJAX bindings and more.

X-editable

X-editable is a library that enhances Bootstrap with inline editing capability. Clicking an element that is set to be editable, will open up a bootstrap popup with a text field and buttons. In addition, it supports editing inline and has many different types of text controls including rich text editors and date pickers. On a successful edit, the plugin sends an AJAX request to your server.

Website | Github

X-editable

X-editable

Eldarion AJAX

With Eldarion AJAX you can extend bootstrap with automatic AJAX request handling. Simply add the ajax class to the button or link you wish to enhance, and the plugin will do the rest. It will send a request and replace the contents of the element with the response from the server. You can also submit forms in the same manner.

Website | Github

Eldarion AJAX

Eldarion AJAX

Typeahead

Typeahead is a library by twitter that offers a fast and fully featured autocomplete control for your site. It supports fetching autocomplete data via AJAX, caching, rate limiting and more. The most common selections are displayed as hints. The library is not dependent on bootstrap, but it can be easily integrated with it.

Website | Github

Typeahead

Typeahead

Conclusion

Bootstrap is a valuable addition to your web development toolbox. Knowing your way around the framework will let you build usable and responsive interfaces with ease. And with the plugins presented here, you can add advanced functionality that fits nicely with the rest of your site.

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by Martin Angelov

Martin is a web developer with an eye for design from Bulgaria. He founded Tutorialzine in 2009 and it still is his favorite side project.

27 Comments

  1. Great article Martin! Keep going bro!

  2. Maryus says:

    Excellent ressources, very useful! Thank you for sharing.

  3. VenomVendor says:

    Thanks for the info, I was searching for Bootstrap-select.

    1. lawrence77 says:

      This also: http://harvesthq.github.io/chosen/

      Looks promising.

  4. shawon says:

    Great share Martin Angelov. All tools are really useful for me. You save my time.
    Thanks

  5. Awesome collection! Definitely going to use some of these plugins in my next project.

  6. Klaus says:

    awesome, a lot new items!

    my new favorite one is X-editable which can hopefully reduce a lot of jquery code in future projects :)

  7. Matt says:

    Holy cow Batman! This is pure awesomeness and a add-to-bookmarks no-brainer. I think you have pretty much covered off the entire landscape of useful bootstrap plugins / addons here

  8. Michael says:

    Thanks for the nice list! Several on there I hadn't come across before that will be useful for BS as well as non-bs sites.

  9. Rakesh says:

    Thanks for sharing this awesome list.

  10. Agnel Waghela (@agnel_waghela) says:

    Thanks A lot! Enough to be included in a wordpress theme!

  11. I think the multiple step wizard is probably my favorite plugin you have listed. However having nice consistent looking date pickers is also extremely valuable so you as a developer do not have to fight to get another jquery based picker to match the rest of your layout styling.

  12. Great collection here. I just started using the Bootstrap Link Preview plugin and love it- it's so useful. Can't wait to try out all of these other ones.

  13. Jane Cooke says:

    Great List. This really helps pushing for setting up a website with Bootstrap.

  14. Tanazius says:

    Thanks for the great list of plugins! Some of them I've allready used, others surely shall. Keep up with the great posts!

  15. Linas says:

    Great work, as always. Thank you.

  16. Daniel says:

    Great article! Extremely useful!

  17. Sajjad says:

    Thank you so much.
    very very nice post.

  18. Handy list of Bootstrap extras. Thanks.

  19. David Miller says:

    Another resource that is a must-have is Start Bootstrap. It's a library of free, open-source starter templates for Bootstrap, and all of them are up to date for Bootstrap 3.

    1. Lucas says:

      Thanks, David! Start Bootstrap is great!

  20. Nagender says:

    Wow man.. This is really like heaven for web designers. Ample of new plugins for bootstrap. Hoping for more.. Its great

  21. Rj Rana says:

    Dude that was awesome.
    i am new to bootstrap and this article really helped me out . Thanks

  22. Great collection of plugins. I am using twitter bootstrap for long and now I can have more features in it. Thanks for the incredible plugins at one place.

  23. Garry Haywood says:

    This is a great listing. I'll be using it again and again!

  24. Matthias Kohlhoff says:

    Hello Martin, many thanks for this perfect information site! Best regards, Matthias

  25. Victor Espina says:

    Amazing post. I just starting with my first webapp using Bootstrap and jQuery, and this post just give so much tools to make my life easier.

    Thanks a lot

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