AdminLTE vs Pure Bootstrap for a new web project?

I’m primarily a freelance backend dev and for the first time venturing on full-stack development of a non-trivial web app on my own, hence I needed some guidance.

I’ve got all the backend stuff in php/mysql covered, I just want to know what’s the best way to create a dashboard (with left sidebar) considering various aspects like long-term code maintenance and support, robustness, etc. Looks don’t matter that much as it’s a CRUD app but obviously, better is more appreciated.

Based on my research so far, AdminLTE seems to be the most popular way of doing it among most devs although a few others like material and coreui also seem to have some street cred.

But another approach I’m considering apart from AdminLTE is to just use pure bootstrap and fiddle up my own sidebar using something like this. That way, I won’t be tied to just one Bootstrap version which is used by AdminLTE (v4.6) and troubleshooting will be much easier through google search and StackOverflow. What do you guys think is the right approach?

Honestly I have never heard of AdminLTE until now. Looks promising but as you said it is based off of one version of Bootstrap and troubleshooting regular bootstrap will be easier as the plethora of content out there talking about it will certainly yield any answer imaginable.

I have never found Bootstrap to be hard to learn and if it were me, I would just use that and bypass anything built on top of it. Especially if you are going to have simple elements like sidebars and navs. All of those things pretty much come straight out of the box on bootstrap anyways.

The only real downside I have encountered with Bootstrap is if you want to override a bit of its styling. It can get a little tedious to find out what styles need to be targeted for overriding. But even then it is not as hard as it could be.

Now if you want to do more “widgety” stuff just for an admin dashboard, heck maybe that AdminLTE will be fine. If the bootstrap changes, you will have to update in either solution. That is just typical dependency management.

In short, my vote would be to just use regular bootstrap and keep the stack simpler.