Sunday, July 26, 2009

20 Kick-Ass Wordpress Theme Frameworks For Rapid Theme Development

So, before we start of reviewing some of the Wordpress Theme Frameworks available on the internet, let’s know what it is all about first.  So to put it bluntly,  a Wordpress Theme Framework is a reliably coded Wordpress theme which serves as a foundation for future themes.  Some frameworks are extendable through the use of child themes, which hook into the parent theme and tap up its functions and template properties.  For an overview of how Wordpress Themes Frameworks work, I recommend you reading Wordpress Theme Frameworks Explained.  If you’ve just started out with coding your Wordpress theme from the scratch, you might be left scratching the back of your head wondering why you didn’t go for one of the already available framework listed here.

ThemeHybrid – Wordpress Theme Framework

ThemeHybrid is an open source, search engine optimized theme framework featuring an 18 columns page layout with 9 widgets ready areas, perfectly suited for any type of website.  ThemeHybrid also comes with very nice child themes which can be downloaded here.  ThemeHybrid also has an exclusive paid membership option ($25) which enables you to get complete support from the ThemeHybrid community for developing and customizing your Hybrid theme.

Carrington – Wordpress Theme Framework

Carrington is a flexible and powerful CMS Wordpress Theme Framework, allowing developers to easily build a custom theme of their own ontop of it.  Carrington has been built to be developer friendly and conventions-based templating system.  It implements best practices in theme development and is semantically rich, coupled with some advanced features like AJAXed comments, archives loading and more.

Thematic – Wordpress Theme Framework

Thematic is another wonderful Wordpress theme framework.  It is ideal for being used as it is or just a blank theme to built upon.  Obviously, like all modern theme frameworks, Thematic is search engine optimized, with 13 widget-ready areas.  You can easily develop child themes for the Thematic framework.  The modular CSS layout of Thematic allows 2 or 3 columns layouts and dynamic post and body layouts.  Thematic also caters for multi-author blogs and easy editing of the theme.  You can get access to the complete customization guide at the Thematic Wiki Documentation and to the repository of child themes.

Imagination – Wordpress Theme Framework

Imagination is a feature rich Wordpress Theme (not really a framework but as customizable as one), which comes pre-loaded with 9 different site-wide styles to choose from.  With Imagination, you do not need to have knowledge of programming to customize the theme.  It has built-in Twitter, Flickr, and Entrecard widgets, Feedburner integration, widgetized areas and a lot more.

WP Framework – Wordpress Theme Framework

WP Framework is another free Wordpress Theme Framework.  Its aim is to serve as a starting point for a new Wordpress theme and one that can be easily modified.  It is very well documented for easy customization, is amazingly flexible, extensible and modular, and is always sure to work with the latest Wordpress versions.  WP Framework also has got an auto-upgrading feature which makes sure you’ve always got the latest version of the theme on your server.

Buffet – Wordpress Theme Framework

Buffet is an impressive Wordpress Theme Framework.  It is already search engine optimized, has SEO beneficial elements like breadcrumbs, headings, canonical URLs.  It also supports microformats like hAtom, hCard and XOXO.  The front-end is powered by popular JQuery javascript library, which allows the implementation of the comments form validation, SuperSleight for IE6, Superfish menus and jBreadcrumb features.  The CSS frameworks underlying the theme also comes in two - 960gs and Blueprint CSS frameworks.  You can easily design child themes for creating custom themes off Buffet.  Buffet is open source.

Whiteboard – Wordpress Theme Framework

Whiteboard is a theme framework coded for simplicity.  It is very light (76KB, unzipped), and includes all the files needed for a complete Wordpress theme development.  Whiteboard comes with with a template for archive page, categories page, pagination post and socialization links.  Whiteboard is completely compatible with Wordpress version 2.7.

Wordpress Starter Theme – Wordpress Theme Framework

The Wordpress Starter Theme is another blank Wordpress theme which allows you to build your own theme upon it.  It comes with a blank external stylesheet file, which is Wordpress-ready.  It also has content-ready 404, archive, search, index, single post, and page files.  It has a working commenting system, and a fully implemented header file with links to the RSS feed, external stylesheets and Javascript files.  It also has a default search form and a blank screenshot file with an empty images folder.  This framework is ideal for starting out with the basics.

Ashford – Wordpress Theme Framework

Ashford is a Wordpress Theme Framework built to be a simple to use and equally as simple to modify.  Ashford is a two column, widget-ready, gravatar enabled theme which enables easy customization through child themes.  Of course, Ashford is search engine optimized, freeing you from the task of doing SEO.  Ashford is very feature rich, for a complete list of features, it would be better for you to head off to the features page of Ashford.  Ashford however does not enable you to remove the footer credits from the theme unless you buy the Pro version for $49.

Sandbox – Wordpress Theme Framework

Sandbox is a minimalist Wordpress Theme Framework which allows developers to build new themes upon.  New themes can be developed by just using CSS.  Sandbox is meant to be used on Wordpress version 2.6+.  It is fully widget-ready, XHTML valid and released under GNU GPL.

OnePress – Wordpress Theme Framework

OnePress is another Wordpress Theme Framework which is available for free.  It is meant to be used as a website and forum combo.  It integrates seamlessly with phpBB, coupled with unified login and forum posts display on the website.  It is widget-ready, with highly optimized page rendering for improved performance.  OnePress works on Wordpress 2.7 and up, and allows easy creation of child themes.

Blank Wordpress Themes – Wordpress Theme Framework

Blank Wordpress Themes, as the name implies are blank Wordpress themes, created from ground up to be Wordpress 2.7 compatible, translatable, XHTML and CSS 2.1 valid.  They are completely free for any use.  These can be used to learn on creating new Wordpress themes and they can easily be modified to suit your taste.

Wordpress Naked – Wordpress Theme Framework

Wordpress Naked was design to be a simple, easy to customize Wordpress theme for new projects.  It is lightweight, and XHTML valid, has a 2 column CSS layout, and is search engine optimized.

Starkers – Wordpress Theme Framework

Starkers is a blank Wordpress theme for you to use to create a new design upon.  It is completely semantic, cleanly coded blank template.  The CSS has also been reset so that no problems are caused across different browsers.

Vanilla – Wordpress Theme Framework

Vanilla is a Wordpress theme framework which is designed to be really powerful and easy to customize without needing any knowledge of PHP.  It is built upon PHPTAL templating engine, has pre-loaded template styles for different website uses, uses Carrington (reviewed above) atomic templating system, loads of widgetized areas, support for child themes and more.

Wordpress Basis – Wordpress Theme Framework

Wordpress Basis is another basic Wordpress theme ideal for developing new themes upon it.  It is built upon the Tripoli CSS framework, has CSS reset feature, coupled with Yahoo! User Interface Reset and more.

WordPreciousss – Wordpress Theme Framework

WordPreciousss is another basic Wordpress Theme, which you can create child themes for.  It is very basic in design, featuring one one widgetized sidebar, has been tested in nearly every major browser.

WP Constructor – Wordpress Theme Framework

WP Constructor is another very good Wordpress theme framework.  It features 6 different sidebar options, very clean code and a very advanced theme options page which enables you to modify nearly every aspect of the theme from the Wordpress dashboard.

Brave New World – Wordpress Theme Framework

Brave New World is a blank Wordpress theme for you to work upon to make your next Wordpress theme.  It incorporate lastest technologies like HTML5, ARIA and more.

Commercial Wordpress Theme Frameworks

Thesis – Wordpress Theme Framework

Thesis is a commercial Wordpress theme framework which is insanely flexible.  Thesis is search engine optimized, designed with accessibility and usability in mind.


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  2. Hi,
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  3. I like Theme Hyprid, I've used it to design a few WordPress builds. From what I've seen on other blogs, these frameworks are a good jumping off point for designers & developers alike.

  4. Hello Team,

    Nice compilation of WordPress frameworks.

    Have you ever explored rtPanel theme framework. Its the best theme framework for developers as it offers some awesome hooks and filters. Moreover there is a team of 20+ full time developers to offer free support.


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  8. Hi Admin I don't think you should skip a template because of the html angle. I use a WP ported template and customised it. Zero html knowledge but one week of tinkering around and I was almost hooked. Would recommend trying it because you will find that suddenly there is so much you can do with your blog. Opens up quite a few options. Good luck!
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