The term “Theme Framework” currently has two meanings:
- A “drop-in” code library that is used to facilitate development of a Theme
- A stand-alone base/starter Theme that is intended either to be forked into another Theme, or else to be used as a Parent Theme template
WordPress theme framework often refers to a code library that is used to facilitate development of a theme. In the old days of WordPress, there were some crucial problems with the way how themes were developed and maintained. There was no good way of upgrading WordPress themes without losing all the custom styling options. There was no way to prevent copying and pasting of the same functionality code in all themes.
While these two issues might not seem like a problem to an average user, these can be disastrous for a few reasons. What if you realized that the same code that you had been using in all of your themes had a security exploit. Even more important, what if this theme was something that you publicly released for others to download and customize. Yes, that’s chaos waiting to happen. The core team and community decided to fix the issues mentioned above by introducing the concept of Parent Theme and Child Theme.
WordPress theme frameworks are intended to be used as a parent theme template where all the functionality resides. Developers can then create a child theme to add custom styling while leaving the functionality aspects of it to the framework. This allows for a centralized location where all the functions are hosted. If the core development team decide to deprecate a WordPress function, or there is a bug found in a specific theme framework, then it is extremely easy to push out an update without modifying anything the child theme has. This method allows you to keep the “framework” of your site strong without modifying how it looks.
- Helpful Community – Most popular theme frameworks have a huge community behind it. This makes it much easier to get your support questions answered.
- Easy to develop – As we mentioned previously that using a theme framework can drastically reduce the development time and make things easier over the long run.
- Built-in functionality – Theme frameworks comes with built-in widgets, and additional functionality.
- Code Quality – Often theme frameworks are peer reviewed, so it is much more likely to follow all best practices.
- Upgrades – The ability to upgrade without losing any styling functionality of child themes is a great plus.
- Learning Curve – Most frameworks have their own hooks and filters. To utilize the full power of the framework, you must familiarize yourself of the framework specific lingo. So your first few child themes might take you longer just because you are learning things.
- Unnecessary Code – Frameworks come with tons of built-in functionality which you may not use. This is not such a huge deal because it doesn’t directly influence you.
- Framework Limitations – Often frameworks have limitations. Sometimes to achieve super customizations, you might have to override core files or submit a patch to be included in the future updates.
- Price – Most theme frameworks are not free. There is either a one time fee or an annual fee to receive updates and support.
List of few WordPress Theme Frameworks:–
Happy WordPressing 🙂