19 thoughts on “Community Talk: Which theme framework do you use?

  1. I’ve worked with, in some capacity, Thematic, Genesis, Thesis, and (a while back) Sandbox.

    Now, I use my own theme framework. For me, it’s all about knowing the ins and outs of a framework, and building it up over time. I’d rather trust myself, and force myself to grow, by maintaining my own (non-released) theme framework.

  2. Hi Ryan, like the podcast, keep it up. We are using WooThemes, specifically Canvas, really like it. I wouldn’t use it for everything, but if you have someone with a minimal budget you can turn something around pretty quickly.

  3. I use Justin Tadlock’s Hybrid Theme Framework. It’s very simple to use and extremely flexible. It’s not a purely point and click type of framework, which is why I think a lot of developers like to use it. Justin provides great documentation and even better support. He also has a lot of really nice plugins to work with Hybrid. I don’t think I’ve ever asked a question and gone more than 24 hours before getting an answer.

    It’s a great way to build a website if you want to get your hands dirty and make something that fits you, rather than unwrap a box and go, although you can do that as well.

    I originally tried it because he had a child theme I liked which was free to download and I was a poor college novice, not to mention I noticed he’s a fellow Auburn grad. Then I realized how well respected he was within WordPress. His work has not disappointed yet, and I haven’t looked back since. And no I’m in no way affiliated with Hybrid, I just drank the Kool-aid.

  4. We’re using hybrid-core right now. Lets us create a master parent theme and use child themes to alter style and add unique functions to client sites. Makes maintenance and updates a lot easier having a similar base for everything.

  5. I’m pretty much sold on Thesis. I’ve been dabbling with Genesis but Thesis just makes a lot of sense to me. I’m not much of a designer but Thesis has allowed me to create a lot of nice looking sites with minimal effort.

  6. My first choice is Justin Tadlock’s Hybrid, mainly because of the incredible support and community. Also, it’s free (you pay a measly 25$ for a year’s support). There are many other great features!
    Second choice would be Genesis, it’s great out of the box, with lots of SEO settings (clients love that!), and it’s quite cheap – about 40-50$ with a coupon code, and you can use it on unlimited sites.
    I also use Thesis from time to time, usually a client asks for it because of the great marketing around it. It’s now split GPL, and they updated the code for better customization.
    Thematic doesn’t have enough hooks for me.

  7. I will start by saying just how much I really like Thesis. I have also used some Woo Themes which were all good as well but, my favorite at this point is Genesis.

    Great support team, love the child themes available now and their child themes continue to grow.

  8. Just curious, for those reading through these comments: how does the framework’s cost play into your decision? Every model is available, really. One time cost, subscriptions, free, donation, etc.

    Which one do you prefer? Or, which model are you willing to consider?

  9. I actually started out using Sandox and a little after that Ptah Dunbar’s WPFramework. Right now I use my own customised framework that I have developed and tweaked over the years.

    In regard to your question on payment, I would only ever really consider a one-time purchase model.

  10. I like building themes from Starkers, but I think in the podcast we decided that it wasn’t a theme framework as much as it was a starter theme. So strictly speaking about frameworks, I’ve used Thematic and Headway.

    Thematic truly sucked for me, not because Thematic sucks, but because I’m more design-minded than code-minded. It felt like I had to do everything in functions.php. Miserable time for me. I’m sure it’s great if you know PHP much better than I do.

    I liked using Headway for client work. I was consistently turning Photoshop files into a fully functional WordPress theme in 40 minutes with Headway. Still, not really flexible enough for the sites I create for myself like jdbentley.com

  11. I start with starkers, that it isnt really a framework…
    Then i try buffet framework and dont really like it.
    So i start developing my own framework, from starkers.
    I like to know exactly how the framework is build, so its easy to keep upgrading it.

  12. I’ve used Startbox (surprise) for the last 2.5yrs, growing it slowly and humbly from Sandbox. Like Ryan, I’ve preferred knowing every square inch of the framework and stretching myself to build sites better and faster.

    The Backstory:
    For the first 2yrs I just used it as a starting point, hence the name, cloning the directory and rewriting parts as I saw fit. Over time, though, I realized all I was really changing was the stylesheet and making just a couple other key alterations, so it was really unnecessary code duplication (and obnoxious to try and bring new features back to older sites with legacy code).

    The Current Story:
    I’ve tried to structure Startbox as logically as possible so that it’s easy to customize whether you prefer working with CSS, clicking through options, leveraging hooks and filters, or just replacing template files entirely. Now the trick is taking my own knowledge and understanding of Startbox and putting it out there in a way that is most useful for others.

    If you have any questions/ideas/criticism for me, I’ll gladly hear it all!

  13. Been using Thesis for some time, but we’re quite keen to try out Canvas. One thing that keeps me going back to Thesis is that the typography is way better on the default install. Canvas, Hybrid et al all look a little untidy in comparison.

  14. Hybrid Theme is the best. However, I’ve stripped hundreds of calls for localization, another tenths of calls to hybrid_prefix and even have a version without context switching for lighter sites which don’t need it.
    Justin already had some great plugins and well, when Hybrid came out it was out of the question which framework to use.
    BTW, Justin himself calls Hybrid a parent theme. He says that a true framework is his upcoming Hybrid Core.

    • Sure, there is a discussion worth having over what a true theme framework is. I think I understand what Justin is saying, that being a parent theme does not a theme framework equal.

      At this point, though, it’s easiest just to refer to them all as theme frameworks, since it’s the word/phrase everyone associates with a certain kind of theme.

Comments are closed.