WordCamp Miami Presentation: WP Framework

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One of our favorite WordCamp Miami presentations was Ptah Dunbar’s session in which he showed off his latest project, WPFramework. WPFramework is a blank WordPress theme framework that is aimed to cut down on the time it takes to develop a theme. As Ptah puts it, it’s “everything you need and nothing you don’t”. We saw a ton of great stuff in his presentation so here’s a recap of the session.

Photo by Judson Collier – thanks!

Why?

Why is Ptah creating WPFramework? A lot of it has to do with the current state of the WordPress theme. At the moment there are lots of both free and premium themes that are easy to install and start using. Unfortunately, many of those themes are poorly written and only contain the bare minimum to work, instead of being flexible and able to expand. In addition, there aren’t enough themes taking advantage of widgets or core functionality and pushing the limits of the WordPress CMS. With WPFramework, Ptah hopes to open up a whole new realm of possibilities in WordPress development.

What is a Theme Framework?

A theme framework is an efficient, barebones, WordPress theme that is modular, easily extensible, and serves as a base foundation for any type of WordPress theme. WPFramework is aimed to be a tool to help speed up the process of theme development, raise the standard for WordPress themes, and dramatically improve the creation of new themes from scratch.

Principles

“Everything you need and nothing you don’t”.

What are some of the basic principles behind WPFramework?

  • Designer-friendly: semantic classes, browser/OS detection, POSH (Plain Old Semantic XHTML and CSS)
  • Developer-friendly: hook system to change default behavior & extend framework functionality, MVC (model-view-controller) approach

When Ptah pulled up the source code of a new installation of WPF from his browser, there were certainly a few grins going around the room. Everything was neat and organized with plenty of classes to go around. Browser classes on the tag could replace funny IE hacks and even let you target Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, and even classes for the current day and month could open up new possibilities in the site’s stylesheet.

Organization is obviously a key principal with WPFramework. The theme’s core code is thrown behind the scenes, leaving the important stuff easily accessible, understandable, and changeable.

Features List

  • SEO title tags
  • Organized folder structure
  • Valid XHTML/CSS
  • Framework code is fully documented/coded
  • Browser CSS reset
  • Sensible base layout
  • Microformats
  • MicroID
  • Semantic classes
  • CSS browser/OS detection
  • Over 30 hooks and filters
  • LOTS more!

What’s Next?

I asked Ptah what the future looked like for his project. He’s hoping to create a small community around WPF of developers who are working with the framework who will be able to offer suggestions, provide feedback, and help introduce more people to the theme. Another feature he’s looking into is a way to make WPF easily extensible so any developer could write a plugin to extend the functionality of the core backend. It all sounds like some exciting stuff and I can’t wait to see WPFramework developer further!

About Ptah

Ptah Dunbar, a web developer from Atlanta, GA, is among the small crowd of WordPress developers that have been doing a lot of experimentation lately. With three years of WordPress experience that began back in the 2.0 days, Ptah realized how easy theme creation was, became interested in the process, and never looked back.

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