Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Who is PatternFly for and why would I use it?

  • I’m a front-end developer and wrote my application with Bootstrap, but found that it was missing a number of components for my enterprise use cases. PatternFly is valuable to me because it provides those components, implemented in CSS and a number of popular javascript frameworks.

  • I’m a developer that works on a application that has to fit within a larger product portfolio. I leverage PatternFly because it provides assurance that my front-end will be consistent with other products that are also built with PatternFly. This gives me more time to innovate on application specific features and functions.

  • I’m a front-end developer and wrote my application with Bootstrap. I adopted the PatternFly CSS and theme to achieve an aesthetic appropriate for my enterprise use case that differentiates it from other Bootstrap applications.

  • I’m an application architect. I want to leverage PatternFly to provide an excellent application experience with a minimal investment of time and resources.

  • I’m an application architect and leverage PatternFly to minimize the investment of time and resources to deliver an excellent application experience.

  • I’m an interaction designer and use PatternFly to streamline the design process by leveraging established design standards built by industry experts in user experience and design.

  • I’m a visual designer and leverage the PatternFly styles including typography, custom icons and color palette to apply a consistent theme and save time.

  • I’m an interaction designer and extend PatternFly to solve new use cases. I can contribute my PatternFly designs back to the project to make them available for others to consume.

  • I’m a front-end developer and extend PatternFly to solve new use cases. I can contribute my PatternFly implementation back to the project to make them available for others to consume.

Q: What does PatternFly offer?

There are two parts to PatternFly that will help you efficiently design and develop enterprise web applications. First, our widget library implements enterprise-optimized visual styling for common web UI widgets. This is supported with a downloadable library of HTML mark-up, CSS styling, and code samples built on top of the Bootstrap 3 framework. Second, our pattern library includes a set of interaction patterns that offer consistent solutions to common user interaction problems.

Q: What are interaction patterns?

Interaction patterns are general design approaches to satisfy use cases commonly found in enterprise IT applications. They provide UI designers and developers with a common way to think about the problem at hand and provide a baseline design that can be customized to your specific application needs. Utilizing PatternFly design patterns will promote consistency across multiple applications.

Q: Why should I care about consistency? Doesn’t this just stifle innovation?

Consistency leads to better usability. Applications become intuitive when common mental models are leveraged and users are not required to relearn interactions when moving between applications. When users look at your application, you want them to think, “I know how this works because it’s similar to things I’ve used before.” With that said, patterns do allow for innovation on top of a common baseline that will enable your application to stand out from the crowd.

Q: I’ve used pattern libraries before and I know there are several good ones out there on the web. Why do we need PatternFly?

While there are other good general web UI pattern libraries out there, we felt like none of these were optimized for the enterprise IT space. We recognize that a “one size fits all” approach to design is not always possible and IT users have unique requirements that don’t necessarily translate across other domains. PatternFly addresses this by basing its designs on an understanding of the needs of IT users and usage scenarios. This includes the need to manage large amounts of complex information in an efficient manner. In short, we believe that PatternFly fills a targeted niche where other general pattern libraries do not.

Q: How do I know that these interaction patterns will work to make my application more usable?

We believe that design is an iterative process, and we will be continually evolving and improving our content. Testing is an important part of our process and most patterns will be submitted to a usability testing process to validate design decisions and generate user information to feed subsequent design iterations.

Q: Having a common widget library is great, but I’m not using the Bootstrap 3 framework. Is PatternFly still useful to me?

Yes. You may still want to download the PatternFly library to examine reference examples and integrate PatternFly styling into whatever UI framework technology that you are using.  We are also open to adding support for additional frameworks in the future.

Q: How can I contribute?**

Visit the Contribute page on the website for more information and/or join our mailing list. We welcome your ideas and feedback!

Q: Which browsers does PatternFly support?

Since PatternFly is based on Bootstrap, PatternFly supports the same browsers as Bootstrap excluding Internet Explorer 8, plus the latest version of Firefox for Linux.

Important: starting with the v2.0.0 release, PatternFly no longer supports Internet Explorer 8.

Q: How do I migrate to PatternFly 2.0?

See the PatternFly 2.0 Migration Guide for step-by-step guidance to upgrade from PatternFly 1.x to PatternFly 2.0.

Q: How do I migrate to PatternFly 3.0?

See the PatternFly 3.0 Migration Guide for step-by-step guidance to upgrade from PatternFly 2.x to 3.0.