I bet that, while working with WordPress, you’ve heard so many times about frameworks. And I know you’re really curious to find out what they are and what is their purpose.
A framework is nothing more than a WordPress theme, but a more sophisticated one, which acts like a backup tool for the developers. Actually, you can call it the loyal friend of a developer.
But that’s just a metaphor. In this article, I will explain you what exactly a framework is, how it works, and how it can improve your life if you use it properly.
What is a WordPress framework and how does it work?
For coders there’s nothing unusual, but for people who have nothing to do with the technical side it’s a big question mark that stands up all the time.
A WordPress framework is actually a parent theme that keeps all the main code secure. What does it mean? It means that a framework helps with functionality, but the theme has its own additions. When you’re starting a new theme, all the code that is about to be repeated can be sketched due to this framework.
A framework is, in just a few words, the skeleton of a theme. Or the heart of a theme, which keeps it alive and working well. Based on it, you can create a more feature-rich one and decorate it in a fancier way.
Also, a framework is a library that keeps all your initial code secure. So you can change everything you need to create a new theme without worrying that you could lose all the main code.
Why should you use a WordPress framework?
Frameworks are good at speeding up the development. This is possible because you don’t have to code everything by yourself, as they come with lots of built-in tools and customization options. Instead of creating a new theme from scratch, you can use the framework to create a child theme. And this process can be very simple.
Frameworks are great at creating shortcuts between the parent theme and the child theme. You don’t have to write to code again to create a new theme, you can simply use the framework and everything is set up. Of course, you must code the extra-features you want to add to your new child theme.
What are the pros and the cons of a framework?
Every tool has its good and its bad. That’s why I want to point out what makes a framework useful and what doesn’t bring too much value to it.
- Helps you develop themes quicker and easier – it’s a starting point in building a theme.
- You can benefit of a very good support because there are many people involved with creating a framework.
- You can update it without affecting the child themes.
- Frameworks come with built-in functionality. For instance, widgets and templates.
- They usually come with a high-quality code.
- Often come with pre-designed child themes. Many of them do that. So you can kill two birds with one stone.
- We talked above about built-in functionality. Sometimes, the frameworks come with too many built-in tools that you may not use. Hence, they have unnecessary code.
- Learning how a framework works could take a while. Each framework has its own code and functionality and that’s why you should familiarize yourself with its elements. Building your first child themes could take you more time than usual.
- You must pay for them or for their updates and support. And this can happen often.
- Sometimes, a framework has limitations. It means that when you want to add something original or to personalize something, you must enter its core files and make the changes that allow you to use that specific thing in the future.
What are the most popular WordPress frameworks?
- Genesis. This is developers’ favorite tool. It has a simple and effective code that just gives you exactly what you need, without clustered and unneeded options.To build a child theme for Genesis, you must have a solid technical knowledge.
- Thesis. A good and low-cost theme, for almost every budget. The price includes the support too. It comes with a range of boxes, tools, and skins that work like widgets, plugins, and child themes.
- Headway Themes. Let’s list a framework for beginners too. This has a drag-and-drop interface so you can “craft” your websites without any required coding skills.
- Tesla Themes. The Framework allows you to create custom posts, and lets you import a theme demo that makes your site look exactly like the demo. Tesla framework provides lots of other facilities like Theme Options panel and built in Forms Builder.
A framework is not a must-have theme, but it can bring you some extra-benefits. It’s up to you to decide if it can improve your work with much or not.
But if you’re a lazy person that mostly waits for things to get done by themselves, then a framework would help. It won’t make all the things alone, but will surely reduce the time for you.
It just requires money to have it. But this is how it works everywhere: you need to pay to stay in front of the pack!
Let us know in the comments how was your experience with any ot the Frameworks mentioned above.
Adelina Tuca is a writer and WordPress blogger at CodeinWP. She also creates content for JustFreeThemes website. She loves sports, hiking, books, rock concerts and puts down the paper everything she finds challenging and unique.