Updating to Zurb Foundation 6, not.

The Always Right Institute is being right in doing some of its websites using Zurb’s Foundation 5. Why? Well, we had a look at Bootstrap first and ended up pretty confused. Could it really be possible that the Twitter folks did not understand the cascading part in Cascading StyleSheets? Apparently. Maybe they fixed it in the meantime. Foundation looked pretty good and the HTML structure well organized.

Note: We don’t do Sass/JavaScript with it, only CSS and the JS Foundation comes with.

Just yesterday we discovered the Foundation 6 Is Here! from 2015-11-19. Sure enough we tried to convert all sites immediately. What you’ll find here is a collection of notes on the conversation process.

  • Foundation 6 Is Here!
    • 50% code reduction
    • A11y friendly (accessible sites)
    • ZURB Dev Stack (templates + static site generator)
    • Motion UI (animations & transitions, a Sass lib)
    • A new menu system, modular & customizable
    • Can do own JS plugins
    • New building blocks and templates
    • Optional flexbox grid (better source ordering & alignment opts)
    • Yeti Launch (desktop app)
  • Download Foundation 6
  • Media Queries
  • Zurb Upgrade dox
    • There are no upgrad dox yet, only small snippets within the dox
  • Foundation 6 ChangeLog
  • Disaster release Foundation 6
  • Foundation 6 - any major changes?
    • The Grid: The grid classes stay the same in the new version. This means your layouts won’t change. We will be updating the breakpoints to better fit smaller devices.
    • JS Plugins: All the JS has been re-written for better performance and smaller file size. HTML will not be created by the JS so that styling is easier as well.
    • SCSS: Simpler styles means writing your own CSS is easy and fast. Variables are better thought out.

Quick note on Yeti Launch

We downloaded that (~156MB download, 725MB! app), had a look at it and found it pretty confusing. Also: This seems to be a ‘Web UI’ Mac app, not a Cocoa interface. This is what it looks like:

Not going to use it.

Migration Notes (5.5.0 to 6.0.5)


First step was to download and integrate the new Foundation sources. We just grabbed the full package as a starter. The structure looks like this:

- css
  - app.css              (empty)
  - foundation.css
  - foundation.min.css
- js
  - app.js               (just: $(document).foundation();)
  - foundation.js
  - foundation.min.js
  - vendor
    - jquery.min.js
    - what-input.min.js

We had a set of individual files before (foundation.topbar.js, foundation.tab.js etc.), removed all that. Also note the smaller vendor folder - we dropped all the previous stuff (placeholder.js, modernizr.js, etc.).

If you want faster loads in exchange for BB watching U: http://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/2.1.4/jquery.min.js.

Adjusted the CSS/JS includes, now including just jQuery, foundation.min.js and what-input.min.js. After doing that the websites was completely b0rked. Let’s work through a few things we did to fix (some of) it.


Visibility Classes

One of the biggest change are the Visibility Classes. E.g. we had stuff like:

  <tr class="hide-for-small"><td>Phone</td><td>Nope</td></tr>
  <tr class="hide-for-small"><td>Mail</td ><td>Nope</td></tr>

This doesn’t work anymore in Foundation 6. To quote the documentation:

There’s no .hide-for-small class, because that would just permanently hide the element. For that, you can use the plain old .hide class instead.

This of course is misleading from a Foundation 5 perspective. hide-for-small used to just hide the element on small devices, not on small-n-up. This has now become hide-for-small-only. Though we guess the better option here is to use show-for-medium (which shows the content for medium and up).

The change is done the other way around as well. What was show-for-small-up is now just the show-for-small.

We suppose all that makes some sense. Summary of changes we did:

  Before             After                Alternative
  hide-for-small     hide-for-small-only  show-for-medium
  show-for-small     show-for-small-only
  show-for-small-up  show-for-small
  show-for-large-up  show-for-large


Foundation 5 Panels are no more, they have been replaced by Foundation 6 Callouts.

Callouts combine panels and alerts from Foundation 5 into one generic container component.

We kept the panel class in our elements (as there was some own styling on those) and just added the callout class. Sample:

    <div class="callout panel show-for-medium">

Fine with me, no further suprises on that.


Given we are really old-skool (and right) we still occasionally use tables. In some cases this resulted in a non-transparent background in tables we set to transparent. Like so:

  .panel table { background-color: rgba(0,0,0,0); }

Turns out that Foundation 6 applies the background styling on the <tbody>, so we just changed it to:

  .panel table, .panel table tbody {
     background-color: rgba(0,0,0,0);

And all was good again.

Top Bar

The features of Foundation 5’s top bar are still around, but they’ve been reworked into smaller, individual plugins. Check out our page on responsive navigation to learn more.

This is a little bigger change and this doesn’t fully work for us yet. Alignment and font sizes etc. do not look right. The Foundation 6 top bar doesn’t do much anymore, it is just a left-div and right-div which stack when compressed. The menus are now handled by the responsive navigation stuff.

But let see, before:

<nav class="top-bar show-for-medium" data-topbar="data-topbar">
  <ul class="title-area">
    <li class="name"><h1><a href="../index.html">Title</a></h1></li>
  <section class="top-bar-section">
    <ul class="right">
      <li><a href="../this.html"><i class="fi-monitor"> </i> This</a></li>
      <li><a href="../that.html"><i class="fi-page"   > </i> That</a></li>


<div class="top-bar show-for-medium">
  <div class="top-bar-left title-area">
    <ul class="menu">
      <li class="name"
        ><a href="../index.html" class="menu-text">Title</a></li>
  <div class="top-bar-right top-bar-section">
    <ul class="horizontal menu">
      <li><a href="../this.html"><i class="fi-monitor"> </i> This</a></li>
      <li><a href="../that.html"><i class="fi-page"   > </i> That</a></li>

A bit different. Also, nav/section tags seemed to behave weird, but we are not sure on that really causing issues.

Sticky Top Bar

On small we used to have a sticky top bar. That is, as you scroll down, the top bar stays in the same place (with a nice transparent effect on top of the content). Despite being right, we couldn’t get this working (yet). Neither could we find a sample of something like that in Foundation 6.

There is the new Foundation 6 Sticky. While it looks cool it seems to be intended for something different.

This is what we did before (embed in div, attach sticky class, done):

 <div class="zpansmall sticky show-for-small-only">
 	 <nav class="navigation" data-topbar="data-topbar">

Foundation 6: TODO.


Foundation 6 Interchange mostly works as before. There are two small but significant changes: the default size class got dropped (thanks Jeffrey Chandler!) and you don’t embed the size class in () anymore. Instead of default, just use small.


       [img/default-256x256.png, (default)], 
       [img/retina-512x512.png,  (retina)]" />


       [img/default-256x256.png, small], 
       [img/retina-512x512.png,  retina]" />

Note: Since the break points of the size classes changed, your background images may not be the right size anymore - in our case the height is not enough and white background might show up.

Row Margin

The horizontal margin of rows seems to be gone for medium+. In Foundation 5 there was some nice ~37px padding on the left and the right. That seems to be gone. I suppose one should add the desired padding in site.css in Foundation 6. Sounds like a sensible choice.

Font Colors

A lot of font colors are different for us. In the Top Bar, in header tags embedded in anchors, etc. Apparently Foundation 5 had more default colors here.

For example this:

<div class="medium-4 columns">
  <a href="this.html"><h4>This</h4></a>

Was blackish before, now it seems to be the standard link-blue (Foundation 6: color: inherited, Foundation 5: color: #222222).

Icon Fonts

The Foundation Icon Fonts didn’t change at all. Separate package which still works as before.


After spending some two hours doing the adjustments, the sites still look quite a bit off.

Our impression is that most of the pending work is due to reasonable changes (less defaults). Getting the Top Bar to look right & stick sounds like some fiddling we don’t want to do right now.

Hence we chose to wait a little longer and stick to Foundation 5.

Written on January 19, 2016