As a graphic designer who started in print, when I came to WordPress I really didn’t want to produce websites that someone else designed. YET…I also didn’t want to learn to do all the hand-coding to build WordPress themes from scratch. After a few sites using WooThemes I discovered the concept of “frameworks”. Frameworks provide, well… a framework, for building a site, without someone else’s visual design imposed. So I get to do the creative part without having to do all the coding. There are a lot of frameworks out there. Since I began in WordPress in 2009 I’ve worked my way through a few. This post was originally written in 2011 and has been updated to show the evolution of my work experiences using a few of the leading frameworks. This is an overview of at WPBeginner answering the question What is a WordPress Theme Framework? and this article by Chris Lema includes a list of current “builder” frameworks.
I presented about this subject at the Seattle WordCamp Beginner Edition, October 2015.
My first framework was Headway
Sample Headway sites I’ve designed
Sample Photocrati sites I’ve designed
UPDATE: June 2013 Pagelines DMS
I’ve started using Pagelines. They just came out with DMS (Design Management Services). It has a front end drag-n-drop editor in Chrome and better customer relations than my experience at Headway. This is my Pagelines DMS affiliate link.
Sample Pagelines DMS sites I’ve designed
UPDATE: March 2015 Elegant Themes Divi
The beginning of this year I did a pro-bono site and decided to use it to explore a new framework. I’d been hearing great things about Elegant Themes, especially their Divi theme. I’m enjoying the backend drag-n-drop layouts and especially LOVE their excellent forum support and Facebook user group community. This is my Elegant Themes Divi affiliate link.
Sample Divi sites I’ve designed
Resources for further Framework/Builder investigation
- Overview of some theme framework features includes quick intro into child themes, filters, actions and templates
- WordPress Codex on Frameworks
- Thesis Theme vs Genesis Theme: A WordPress Premium Theme Comparison
- John Hayden: Why I changed from Thesis to Headway
- Headway vs Thesis
- Lengthy review of Headway vs other frameworks. Worth the read.
- WordCamp October 24, 2015 Presentation on Frameworks View using Preview mode & advance by clicking.