Hands-On WordPress meetup 8/9/11
What is a Theme Framework?
According to the WordPress Codex, a theme framework is:
a Theme designed to be a flexible foundation for quicker WordPress development, usually serving as a robust Parent Theme for Child Themes. Some Theme frameworks can also make theme development more accessible, removing the need for programming or design knowledge with options pages.
In some cases a framework may just have robust code “under the hood” making it easier for a theme developer or designer to implement changes, but without necessarily including additional features in the admin panel. Many of these are “blank” themes with very little (to no) CSS code. These can be very powerful foundations for theme design, but are not appropriate for beginners. For others, an entire site can be designed using nothing but the options in the admin area
Free frameworks to help non-designers build a site:
Use the simple “check-box” interface to easily change colors, fonts, header and footer, menus, sidebars, theme width, and much more. Then, take control of your content using powerful Per Page and Per Post options, including unlimited custom widget areas. Over 15 page templates, including “Page with Posts” to show posts and content where and how you want. Easy for the newcomer, comprehensive for the expert.
Configure your custom theme: Fixed or flexible width layout, with min/max width, 0 – 4 sidebars, very browser safe (incl. IE6), create custom widget areas, import/export styles (several styles included), color pickers, over 200 options.
A rich blogger friendly theme with customizable header, colors and AJAX options; and developer friendly theme with atomic templates and an elegant override hierarchy.
The ultimate in SEO-ready themes, Thematic is a highly extensible, WordPress Theme Framework featuring 13 widget-ready areas, drop-down menus, grid-based layout samples, plugin integration, shortcodes for your footer, & a whole lot more. Perfect for any blog and the starting point for theme development.
Starkers is a bare-bones WordPress theme created to act as a starting point for the theme designer.
Free of all style, presentational elements, and non-semantic markup, Starkers is the perfect ‘blank slate’ for your projects, as it’s a stripped-back version of the ‘Twenty Ten’ theme that ships with WordPress.
The Whiteboard framework for Wordpress is built to speed up the process of designing and developing a Wordpress theme. Whiteboard does so by eliminating the time spent on a website’s generic div structure and Wordpress’ back-end PHP that is common to all Wordpress themes. Whiteboard also includes non-intrusive code designed to improve the overal Wordpress theme in many ways, including SEO, speed, usability, and mobility.
A few premium WordPress frameworks:
Also of note:
Aaron Brazell’s “Battle of the Titans: Premium Theme Framework Smackdown” (from 2010; some info is likely outdated now).