What Are WordPress Theme Frameworks and Should You Use Them?
WordPress Frameworks What Are They? Should I Even Use Them At All? WordPress North Side Meetup April 11, 2012 Heather Acton | @heatheracton78
IntroFreelance WordPress Developer since 2009WordCamp Chicago organizer - 2011 & 2012WordPress Lake County Meetup founderAt-home mom (not for long!)
What is a themeframework?From the WordPress Codex:A framework is a stand-alone base/starter themedesigned to be a ﬂexible foundation for quickerWordPress development.
Popular FrameworksFULL FRAMEWORKS STARTER THEMESLITTLE TO NO CODING SKILLS NEEDED PHP & HTML/CSS KNOWLEDGE NEEDED Genesis (StudioPress) Toolbox WooFramework (WooThemes) Sandbox Headway WP Bootstrap Pagelines Bones Twenty Ten / Eleven HTML5 Reset
Full FrameworksCan be used out-of-the-boxInclude lots of additional functionality, henceavoiding coding or use of some pluginsMay have child themes for purchaseMay have pickboxes or drag & drop interfaces tohelp non-developers make style changesFile/code structure is complex
Starter ThemesLean & mean - usually no special functionality andonly minimal CSSVery close to theming from scratchSecret: most developers use a starter theme of someone else’s or onethey’ve developed themselves
The Debate...Full frameworks get a bad rap from somedevelopersBut, most all developers do work from some sortof framework - full or starter - built by herself or byanother dev
Should You Use aFramework?Yes, it is most efﬁcient to use a framework (eitherfull or starter) when building WordPress sites
User - Should You?If you’re a user / business owner and don’t knowhow to code, a full framework makes it possiblefor you to get a nice looking and functionalwebsite up with a small budget.
Developer - Should You?It is project dependent...Small budget client desires a simple site and is willing tochoose design from a selection of child themes? Use a full framework. Let the client know of the trade- offs (more on that next...).Higher budget client wanting a pixel-perfect design and/oradvanced functionality like custom post types? Use a starter theme or theme from scratch, and stick with the lean and mean mentality through the project.
Full Frameworks:Admitted Weak SpotsWith the efﬁciency of full frameworks comesome downsidesMore functionality than you need means morecode than you need Slower page load times Higher likelihood of plugin conﬂicts More security gapsMany full frameworks modify core WordPressfunctions
Want to learn howthemes work?Don’t start by studying full frameworksTwenty Ten, Twenty Eleven and Toolbox are greatstarts