I'm brand new here and I'd like to start off by asking about WP frameworks. I've seen quite a bit out there, so I'm confused about what to choose for my site.

So here are a few questions:

  1. What is the advantage of a framework in the first place? Specifically, what are the advantages of installing frameworks such as Woo, Thesis, Genesis over designing something for a Wordpress base install directly?

  2. Are there are any frameworks that are not recommended? I've seen a lot of Genesis bashing in other forums, but I don't understand why this is the case. So I'd like to know what you use and why.

Thanks, Ray

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    possible duplicate of WordPress frameworks and parent themes – fuxia Feb 25 '12 at 15:03
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    Slightly, toscho. The other question handles my 2nd one very well, but I'm looking for something slightly more basic than that. I also think this question would help novice users to use this site more as a wiki and, in the process, increase traffic to such a valuable tool. – Ray Feb 25 '12 at 19:24

The advantage of using a framework is two-fold:

  1. If using a theme framework to build a regular theme, it can give you a head start by giving you mature code (in most major frameworks, anyway) that you can use as a base for your customizations. This gives you more control of the theme framework code but also creates a bit of a problem: you now have a forked version of the theme and would need to run a comparison tool to incorporate updates from the original theme author.
  2. If using a theme framework as a parent theme, you can build a child theme that sits on top of the theme framework, allowing you to add your own code or remove things programmatically using actions and filters from the parent theme, without touching the parent theme's code. You allow them to continue developing the theme framework and update to the latest version to avoid having to maintain your own forked version of theme code that you did not write.

There are quite a few different theme frameworks out there. The only ones I've ever used consistently are the UpThemes Framework (which is a theme options framework, not a full theme) and Thematic which has not been updated in quite some time. Obviously, the Woothemes Framework, Genesis, and Hybrid Core are pretty popular ones. I think Genesis and Hybrid Core are great options because of the support packages that come with them and the documentation you get.

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  • Thanks, Chris. Your answer is helpful, but I suspect the best way for me to learn this in its entirely is to start playing around with the different frameworks out there. Thanks again! – Ray Feb 25 '12 at 19:26
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    @Ray You might also try the _s (underscores) theme from Automattic. It is built using HTML5 and current theme standards and will be updated very frequently because Automattic is going to use it for new themes on WordPress.com. They will (and have already) invest quite a bit of time into that particular framework. – chriswallace Feb 25 '12 at 19:31

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