What is a framework? A WordPress Theme Framework is a reliably coded WordPress theme which serves as a foundation for future themes. A theme framework is a set of conventions to use for developing WordPress [parent] themes.
What is a child theme?
What is a child theme? A child theme is something users should be creating so that they can customize the look and functionality of their site. The child theme inherits all of its functionality from a single parent theme.
How do child themes work?
How do child themes work? Child themes build on the existing parent theme by over riding or modifying the parent themes existing functions and templates /* Theme Name: DemoChildTheme Theme URI: www.example.com Description: Use this theme to start your Child Theme Author: Chris Olbekson Author URI: http://c3mdigital.com Template: frameworkname */
What is a parent theme?
What is a parent theme? Nearly all WordPress themes are parent themes. Only those called “child themes” are not parent themes. Parent themes should house the theme design, functionality, and the templates required for running the theme in WordPress. You can use a framework to build a parent theme, but the framework is not a parent theme itself.
Pros of using child themes
Why create a child theme Ability to build just about any type of site. If you don’t know to create your own WordPress theme from scratch Valid and semantic XHTML If you want to start to learn about WordPress theme design Web developers that need a fast turnaround for their clients websites Prevents updates from overwriting mods
Why not? Confusing to clients Unneeded loading of functions, scripts, styles Lowered performance (too much code) Hard to override some css styles Confusion as to which files are being edited in the theme editor Problematic because the child theme might eventually need an update
Conclusion & Discussion What you should really be creating is a parent theme. Child themes from theme developers should be nothing more than a stylesheet and a few functions. This idea of releasing advanced child themes just creates the same problem child themes were meant to solve: upgradability.
Further reading http://www.studiopress.com/general/child-themes-101.htm http://www.catswhocode.com/blog/wordpress-theme-frameworks http://codex.wordpress.org/Child_Themes http://wpcandy.com/presents/wordpress-theme-framework-comparison