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.