WordPress frameworks are increasingly becoming popular tools for building themes and other development based practices. The theme development frameworks are versatile in a sense that they eliminate the repetitive coding and constant markup checks that hinder the process of theme creation. They help designers focus on the design and project-specific features by providing them an environment for developing high-impact themes, without reinventing the wheel.
The major objective of a framework is to speed up the designing and coding process by reducing the time and effort that is repeated each time you build a theme. They are essentially starter themes that you can use as a foundation for the creation of your own themes and thus give your website a performance boost.
An Elaborative Understanding of Theme Frameworks
WordPress framework is a term which can be used to refer a code library which can be used to enhance the process of theme development. Looking at the traditional set up, the process of creating a theme was followed by some crucial loopholes which restricted the workflow and maintenance of the themes. Developers had no such tools that allow them to upgrade WordPress themes without losing the control on the styling options. There were no such methods developed that prevent the copying and pasting of the same functionality in all themes. These are some of the basic problems with great disastrous possibilities. The realization of the issues becomes more evident when you realize that the code which you had been using in all the themes had a malicious element. The situation becomes worse when you made the theme available for download without realizing the security impact. The WordPress core team realized such kinds of bottlenecks and took initiatives to fix them by putting forth the concept of Parent Theme and Child Theme.
Parent theme is a basic template where all the major functionalities of a theme are stored. The theme provides a set up for creating a child theme which allows you include your own custom functions on the top of your parent theme. Both the child theme as well as parent theme reside in the WordPress theme directory. You can also choose to override some of the inherited traits from the parent by modifying its own style.css and function.php files.
Pros and Cons of Using Frameworks
1. Easy to Use – As we mentioned above, the primary objective of a theme framework is to take the guess work out and providing an environment that makes things convenient to the webmasters.
2. Functionalities– The theme framework boasts rich in-built functionalities including widgets and some additional functionalities.
3. Community– The theme frameworks generally have community support that help developers in each step of the theme development process.
1. Learning Curve – The major disadvantage of frameworks is that, at the beginning most of the developers do not have even an idea about how to use this all new stuff. The learning process is quite lengthy as they have to become familiar with the new coding language.
2. Cost – Many of these frameworks are not free. Users need to pay some annual or monthly fee for many updates.
3. Limitation – Frameworks define the capabilities of its users. They somewhere restrict the abilities of designers and developers by not allowing them to bring down the creative barriers. In fact, there are times when creating a custom theme from framework takes more time than building everything from the scratch.
Popular WordPress Theme Frameworks
1. Thematic- WP Framework
Thematic is a versatile WordPress framework popular for its extensible capabilities and SEO friendliness. Ideal for bloggers and development professionals, it features 13 widget areas, grid-based layout samples, and more.
Download: Thematic Framework
Thematic GitHub Source : Thematic Framework GitHub
2. Studio Press Genesis Framework
Genesis is one of the most popular WordPress theme framework with detailed SEO options, responsive design, tons of built-in child themes, and a lots of documentation for ease of learning. Know More About Genesis Theme.
Download : Genesis Theme Framework
3. DIYthemes – Thesis
From business websites to personal blogs, Thesis has everything for everyone. As an advanced framework, it offers better control over designs and functions. Although, its increased flexibility adds to its learning curve.
Download Thesis Theme : DIYthemes
4. Headway Themes
Headway is a sturdy theme framework that lets you create amazing layouts using drag and drop features without getting into too much of coding.
Working with the WordPress theme development frameworks is a logical way of saving you many hours of development. They allow you build themes quickly and easily and suit both designers and developers in meeting their diverse needs.
For More Development Guide : WordPress Frameworks Manual
About the Author–
Edward Jones is a web developer who has an inclination towards blogging. As a professional working for OSSMedia Ltd., a WordPress Web Development company, Edward’s area of expertise is quite vast and covers major CMS platforms like Drupal, WordPress, Joomla and Magento. Get in touch with him on Twitter and Facebook.