WordPress Frameworks: Designer’s Boon or Bane?
Being a website Designer, you always try to do something different, something better than the lot. So, What do you need to do! Look no further, in this article, we help you demystify and unravel all the threads…
Are you a web designer or developer looking forward to quick setup a well-designed WordPress website with all the finest and cutting-edge features? Are you contemplating on whether to use WordPress Theme Frameworks for simplifying your design and development experience? Look no further, in this article, we help you demystify WordPress Frameworks and understand the pros and cons of using a Theme Framework. We also explore the best Theme Frameworks, their top-rated features and a framework comparison to help you evaluate and choose the best.
What are WordPress Frameworks?
A WordPress Framework is a collection or library of WordPress themes that can be used to create, customise and enhance a WordPress website. A framework separates most of the backend programming from the design aspects thus making it easier for web developers and designers to create and manage their WordPress themes.
A framework is a starting point for a creating a new WordPress theme. With an enriched array of built-in capabilities, a framework lets you add features and design elements to create an enhanced theme.
WordPress theme frameworks are generally used as parent theme templates which incorporate the core functionality and leave all custom styling for the developers to add to the child themes. The level of customization varies between frameworks with most of them offering options to modify dashboard screen, layouts, widget areas and advanced options supporting API, custom hooks, functions, and add-ons.
As WordPress frameworks gain popularity with increasing usage in website creation and design, we look below at the advantages and disadvantages of using them. We address the primary concerns that a beginner would likely have when evaluating whether to use WordPress Frameworks. Additionally, we also provide a list of some of the best WordPress theme builder software and alongside the WordPress Frameworks compared in a feature comparison table.
The primary advantage of using WordPress frameworks is the reduced development time and the speed with which designers can create elaborate design layouts. WordPress Theme frameworks provide extensible and easy to use functionality and customization options thereby considerably reducing the coding effort for the developers. Developers no longer need to start from scratch and can rapidly build on the WordPress theme framework.
The WordPress frameworks provide a great deal of added, built-in functionality like widgets, drag-drop, sliders, templates, SEO and custom layouts mostly offering more than a WordPress theme. Without the need to install additional plugins, theme frameworks provide templates and layout designs for use in child themes.
The WordPress Page Builder functionality is provided with all theme frameworks which lets you create multiple websites using the same framework. The builders are drag-drop modules with a particular look and functionality and help in creating customised layouts.
Robust and Standardised Code
Theme frameworks are well written and coded as per the WordPress coding standard. Most popular frameworks are compatible with other robust plugins. They have clear, peer-reviewed and well-documented code that enables easy additions and modifications to it. So if you choose a framework that has a large user and community base it would guarantee that the framework is robust and reliable. The WordPress Frameworks also provide a level of abstraction by keeping the repetitive code hidden and providing options and settings that are easy to configure and use.
WordPress Frameworks provide the designer with an extendable range of design and layout choices. Users have the flexibility to choose any design irrespective of whether they can code or not. Most times a single framework provides functionality for creating both simple and complex layouts for portfolios, websites, blogs etc.
The themes created using WordPress Frameworks give you a WYSIWYG visual effect. With Drag-Drop frameworks, the layout elements appear exactly as you place them when designing the theme.
API-specific frameworks also provide clear, well-documented classes that help developers in using the APIs efficiently and as per expectation.
WordPress Frameworks provide the users with the ability to upgrade themes without losing any layout styling functionality of child themes. This ability to upgrade is a great positive and can make changing themes easier and effortless.
Online Support and Community
Most theme frameworks have a good support community of users and developers that answer questions related to framework usage. Dedicated support services are always provided with paid frameworks and support the users with 24/7 responses to issues.
Steep Learning Curve
WordPress Frameworks are more complex than the themes and each is unique in its functionality. It is important for the designer or the developer to completely understand all the technical aspects in order to make full use of the framework. Mastering a framework may take considerably longer time than learning a new theme.
Too many Options
The complex and premium frameworks have many options which may not make them as easy to use for a beginner. At times designers may not be able to afford to spend as much time to learn a framework as is required to learn it entirely.
Sometimes WordPress frameworks have hidden limitations. It may happen that in order to achieve desired customizations you might need advanced plugins or resolve unsupported design limitations on your own.
Using a theme framework creates a direct dependency on the framework developer who knows the code and how the framework works. There is also a possibility that the framework has a dependency on WordPress and its functionality is limited by the version of WordPress it supports. It then becomes critical for the framework to stay in sync with WordPress to be upgraded along with the WordPress upgrades.
WordPress Frameworks are extensions to WordPress themes. If the framework is not updated with WordPress upgrades then it is possible that the framework continues to use function calls that are deprecated with the latest version of WordPress. Once the support for the deprecated functions is removed from WordPress then the framework using these might create issues with WordPress usage.
WordPress Frameworks: The Top Picks
WordPress Frameworks are unremittable part of website designing. In designing perfect websites from head to toe, one need to be very particular in the selection of a right WordPress framework. To help you in your quest, here are some top picks amongst the highly recommended WordPress Frameworks:
The Genesis Framework is a highly popular WordPress Framework. It provides a large selection of high-quality themes, is highly flexible and allows both novice users and developers to customise the existing themes, or create their own from scratch. The Genesis Framework provides support to create highly responsive, secure and search engine optimised websites.
The Ultimatum Theme Builder for WordPress is a ‘total design suite’. It provides the users with the flexibility of controlling the layout and design website without the need to code. This WordPress Framework is s Drag and Drop framework that comes with a unique layout builder that lets you create design styles with the ease of drag and drop widgets. Ultimatum provides multiple device support along with the ability to create flexible, responsive and SEO friendly websites.
The TemplateToaster is complete design framework that supports all popular content management systems including WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Prestashop and Magento. In terms of its use, TemplateToaster is a designing as well as a development tool. The tool allows you to create design templates that can be exported into a web template to use as a website design. TemplateToaster is easy to use tool for both amateurs and professionals. It offers great flexibility for designing and creating responsive, search engine optimised websites.
Best Drag and Drop interface to Design stunning WordPress Themes
WordPress Theme Frameworks Comparison Chart
|Framework||Type||Learning Curve||Child Themes/Plugins||Compatible CMS||SEO Support||Coding Required||Documentation||Community Support||Basic Cost|
|Genesis||Options Based||Steep||To be purchased separately||WordPress||Yes||Yes||Online forum, support and documentation||Unlimited||$59.95|
|Ultimatum||Drag and Drop||Steep||12 Premium Plugins||WordPress||Yes||No||Online forum, support and documentation||Support and updates for one domain||$55/Year|
|TemplateToaster||Drag and Drop||Moderate||Free Child Themes and Templates||All Major and Popular CMS||Yes||No||Online forum, support and documentation||Free updates and dedicated support for a year||Free|
WordPress Frameworks are becoming a popular useful tool for web designers and developers simply because of the ease of use and the extensibility they offer. There are many theme frameworks available with varying levels of theme support and their own pros and cons. Usually what works for a best WordPress Theme Builder Software is to look at the critical aspects of your workflow and choose the framework that fits both your workflow, timelines and budget. While there are many popular frameworks, the prominent benefit you get with TemplateToaster is ease of use, remarkable theme and templates and support for multiple Content Management Systems.