If you are developing themes for WordPress, chances are you’ve come across a framework at least once in your search for tools, resources and general information regarding WordPress development.
Using a wireframe can make developing a theme faster, easier and more fun, provided that the framework is following the latest trends and techniques.
By incorporating an underlying infrastructure to your development process, the obvious benefits are plenty and good enough on their own, but it is crucial that you select the correct framework for the project in question. With more than 40+ different frameworks out there, it can be difficult to choose the correct one, and even more difficult to keep up to date with what the different platforms can offer you as a developer.
Some of these frameworks are even designed to be beginner friendly, meaning that the documentation is extensive and easy to understand, the code is at minimal difficulty, and there’s hundreds of active community users to help you answer any and all questions you might have.
Whether you want a framework with IDE control, complete Development Environments, or perhaps just a simple bootstrapped structure on which to include your own code and functions, on this list, there’s a framework that’s right for you:
We’ve broken down the list into two (2) main categories, open-source and commercial ones, but the common denominator is that all of these frameworks have a solid codebase, clean and responsive designs, and they are all optimized for SEO according to WordPress best practices.
Open-Source WordPress Frameworks:
This framework helps you develop a WordPress theme with ease, without having to clone from GitHub, SSH into your servers, or any other cumbersome activity. By simply going to the website, you’ll be met by a small generator script, asking for a few details such as the theme name, author name, and text domain.
Once you’ve filled out this information, you’ll download a zip file containing your new theme. This framework does not provide mobile responsiveness out of the box, nor any styling, so you will have full creative control, the ideology of underscores it to provide the bare minimum structure, without any excessive bloat or superficial features.
One of the oldest frameworks out there, Gantry was originally developed for Joomla themes, but has since been ported to work with WordPress, which is now the main use for this framework. RocketTheme is the developer, and has been known for excellent support and extensive community users.
Gantry comes with a visual editor, which means you won’t have to know any code in order to create a stunning theme, but with the massive amount of features, newcomers might find this too technical and advanced.
For the more advanced programmer, Roots could be the ideal framework. This is not like the 2 other free frameworks, since it requires Vagrant, a virtual server system that can be quite complicated to understand and set up for new users. However, the features it provides is quite extensive, and if you’re a serious developer, it could be worth investing some time into learning more about this system and its capabilities.
Commercial WordPress Frameworks:
- iThemes Builder
A drag and drop builder for WordPress, this is an easy to use service for anyone wanting to build and design their own templates and layouts. Plenty of features for beginners and intermediate users, but advanced programmers might want to look at some of the other commercial options, as the extendability is somewhat limited.
One of the best selling frameworks on themeforest, Divi can be used to create virtually any type of WordPress site. Comes with all the latest code and technology, but most of it can be stripped away if you feel there’s too much bloat. A solid choice for a commercial framework, with great support.
Another of the best sellers on themeforest, Avada is much like Divi in that both of the skeletons are ready to use, and comes with a number of predefined layouts. You might even call this a theme first, and framework second, meaning that there’s already tons of settings you can use, and unless you need something
Author’s Bio : Mark Pedersen is an web and app developer, currently working at Nodes. He is enthusiastic, sometimes overly so, about Technology and loves to write about WordPress, Mobile Apps and Gadgets.