How to: Quickly update an MVC4 project with Bootstrap LESS and FontAwesome [Field Notes]

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I’d like to update my MVC4 project to use the following:

  • Bootstrap LESS source (Twitter.Bootstrap.Less nuget package)
  • FontAwesome instead of Bootstrap’s icon set

However, this can be a pain for the following reasons:

  • Dotless and Bootstrap’s LESS used to not play nicely together
  • The “@import” directives sometimes gave dotless an error and had to be worked around.
  • Font-Awesome’s MIME types are not all recognized by the internal web apps


Thanks to the Excellent Twitter.Bootstrap.Less.MVC4 package by Christopher Deutsch, this process is a lot easier.

Install Bootstrap LESS and Dotless

  • Create a net ASP.NET MVC4 Web Project.
  • Open the package manager console.
  • Ensure that your MVC4 Project is set as the current project in the package manager
  • Install Chris’s package by using the following command:
install-package Twitter.Bootstrap.Less.MVC4
  • The project will automatically install dotless and Twitter.Bootstrap.Less.

Reconciling BundleConfig and Bootstrap.BundleConfig

  • If you have an existing BundleConfig.cs that you’ve made changes to, merge those changes into Bootstrap.BundleConfig.
  • If you haven’t customized it, you can just delete BundleConfig.cs as all the defaults are in Bootstrap.BundleConfig.cs.

Install FontAwesome

  • From the package manager, run:
install-package FontAwesome
  • In the Bootstrap.BundleConfig.cs file, add the font-awesome.css file to the StyleBundle so that the line reads as follows:
var css = new StyleBundle("~/Content/css")
   .Include("~/Content/site.less", "~/Content/font-awesome.css");
  • Open your twitter.bootstrap file and comment out the line importing sprites.less. FontAwesome and Bootstrap’s sprites naturally conflict as FontAwesome is designed to replace them.

Update IIS Settings to allow FontAwesome’s Static Content

  • Add the following to web.config in the <system.WebServer> section:
       <remove fileExtension=".svg" />
       <remove fileExtension=".eot" />
       <remove fileExtension=".woff" />
       <mimeMap fileExtension=".svg" mimeType="image/svg+xml"  />
       <mimeMap fileExtension=".eot" mimeType="application/" />
       <mimeMap fileExtension=".woff" mimeType="application/x-woff" />

Ensure That Content is Processed on the Server

  • In Visual Studio, Select all files in the /less, /font, and /content directory and in the properties for the file, ensure that the Build Action is Content and the Copy to Output option is Copy Always. This ensures that FontAwesome, Bootstrap, etc will show up in custom builds and when you package for IIS, etc.


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