So far, my WordPress development work has consisted of writing WordPress plugins and occasionally hacking themes. I’ve always said that I wanted to write a WordPress theme from scratch, but never had time to do so. One of my sites is going to need a redesign shortly, so here’s my big opportunity.
However, with the rise of the WordPress theme framework and the limited time available to me, I’ve started thinking that the sensible thing to do is use a theme framework. But which one?
What Is A Theme Framework?
I’m not going to answer this definitively, because it’s too large a topic!
The short answer is that a WordPress theme framework is a base that can be used to write a WordPress theme on top of. Most of the work is already done for you. There’s generally no need to call WordPress functions. All you need to do is create the style (via CSS) and add any custom functions you might need.
Of course, it’s not really that simple, as many theme frameworks extend WordPress by creating hooks that can be used for advanced customisation and make use of child themes, so you can upgrade the theme framework core without your changes being affected.
What Are The Choices?
There are quite a few WordPress theme frameworks out there, but the most popular ones seem to be:
There are also Premium WordPress Theme Frameworks, such as Chris Pearson’s Thesis, but I’m not going to pay for one when there are so many great free options.
It’s worth acknowledging Scott Wallick’s Sandbox which is the granddaddy of the theme framework concept and which influenced many of the theme frameworks listed above.
Tell Me Which Theme Framework You Would Use!
There’s too much choice! I don’t know the difference between these theme frameworks, so I’m not sure which way to go. They all seem good and are created by WordPress developers with great reputations.
I’m leaning toward Thematic or Hybrid at the moment. For some reason, I have the feeling that Carrington is over the top for what I need, but I may be totally off base here. I’m also tempted by the Sandbox (sometimes I have to fight my instinct to do things the hard way!).
I’m rather short on time, so rather than spend days trying and comparing these frameworks, I thought I’d ask you – which framework would you use? If you have an opinion, please take part in the poll:
It’s exciting times for theme developers. WordPress theme frameworks can save us a lot of time. It’s just a little confusing to know which one to use. I hope this poll can help show what the community is thinking at the moment.