Over a year ago, I was among those that speculated on custom widgets and their role in the future of WordPress themes. One thing that wasn’t speculated on, however, was the rise of WordPress theme frameworks. Now, just over a year later, many of the leaders in the premium themes market are building their own internal frameworks which are used as the backbone to design their premium WordPress themes. For example, Woo Themes now has their own Woo Framework. Brian Gardner of StudioPress also recently informed me that he is also developing a framework for his StudioPress themes.
Premium theme designers are not the only ones using frameworks these days, however, and a few can actually be used by anyone in the development of their own personal themes! As with traditional WordPress themes, WordPress theme frameworks have free options, as well as paid alternatives. In the post below, I’ve collected the five major theme frameworks, and I intend to update this post as I learn of more WordPress theme frameworks.
Note: If these theme frameworks look a little plain, that is intentional. Frameworks are designed for someone to use as a building point, so they lack a lot of images and design elements. Once downloaded (or purchased), you can then build upon the framework to make your design. Many of these frameworks also include child themes, which allow you to quickly convert your framework into a ready to use design.
WP Framework (FREE)
WP Framework is a blank WordPress theme framework by Ptah Dunbar, which aims to cut down on your theme development time. It gives you a solid theme foundation to build your project on top of so you can focus on project-specific features right from the git-go.
Thesis Theme Framework (Single-Use $87.00 | Developer’s Pack $164.00)
The Thesis theme framework is the most popular theme framework which has a cost associated with it and has built a loyal cult following. Among those followers are some very high profile WordPress sites built upon the Thesis framework, then customized for their personal needs. You can look through a list of these clients on their homepage.
Among the reasons people love Thesis is their attention to SEO techniques and the complex control panel:
Know of a WordPress theme framework we are missing? Please leave a comment or let us know about it!