A theme framework is a theme that is designed to be a flexible foundation that can serve as a parent theme for building child themes. The use of WordPress theme frameworks may ease theme development by reducing the volume of work which may be needed in creating a backbone for your theme (usually by using PHP and WordPress Template Tags). Theme frameworks also make theme development more accessible, removing the need for programming knowledge. I listed here the best WordPress theme frameworks available as well as several child themes and related articles to help get Your foot with WordPress theme developing.
Thematic is a free, open-source, highly extensible, search-engine optimized WordPress Theme Framework featuring 13 widget-ready areas, grid-based layout samples, styling for popular plugins, and a whole community behind it. It’s perfect for beginner bloggers and WordPress development professionals.
Amazing WordPress theme framework, definitely one of my favorite. Here is short list what You archieve from this framework:
I’ll just give you the short list instead, so you can go ahead and play with the theme:
Developed with child themes in mind, so you’ll never lose your customizations.
SEO optimized. No need for plugins to handle this anymore.
Theme options that are about content/information.
Templates for everything.
13 page templates.
Actively developed for WP 2.7 but backward compatible down to 2.5.
15+ plugins supported within the theme.
Attachment handling like you’ve never experienced.
Advanced breadcrumbs beyond any other theme.
Ability to run just about any type of site.
And over 20 tutorials to start.
Carrington is a CMS theme framework for WordPress that makes it easy to create unique looks for different categories, posts and comments just by creating custom templates. Framework with full documentation, community forums to have Your problems explained, very friendly!
Vanilla’s key boast is this: Exceptional power and freedom for designers, without (or barely) needing to know or touch PHP. Thanks to the combined capabilities of PHPTAL templates, Carrington’s atomic templates, YUI CSS and full widgetization (including custom widget controls).
Lovely framework released under code.google.com section where several frameworks is combined together – definitely worth checking out!
It is designed to speed up the process of designing and coding a WordPress theme by eliminating the time spent on WordPress’ back-end PHP that is used in every theme.
Whiteboard is clean, noted, and compact (only 76KB in size – unzipped!). It includes all the standard PHP tags and PHP files needed for a WordPress theme – plus a few extras.
WP Framework is a blank WordPress theme framework, which aims to cut down on your theme development time. It gives you a solid theme foundation to build your project on top of so you can focus on project-specific features right from the git-go.
The Sandbox is a powerful tool available for WordPress theme designers and developers. The Sandbox can be easily designed just with CSS, so beginners will feel comfortable not bothering with PHP.
Experienced developers and designers can accomplish almost anything with minimal work, thanks to the rich, semantic markup and profusion of classes dynamically generated by the Sandbox.
The OnePress framework is an integrated website and forum solution. It is, simply, a WordPress theme to serve as the foundation and framework for your web site and online community. Leveraging the powerful WordPress and phpBB projects, OnePress provides a set of features focused on helping you build and maintain your site from the inside out. With this set of tools, you can easily run your community and do so with professional presentation.
And here are some of the features of WPcandy starter theme:
Blank style.css with theme name, author, URL, etc. tags at the top
Content-ready 404, archive, search, index, single post, and page files
Full, working comments.php file
Complete header.php set up with links to RSS, a stylesheet, and JS file; <title> template
Default search form template
Blank screenshot.png file and images folder
Several child themes and resources:
Junction is a WordPress Child Theme based on the Thematic Theme Framework. In terms of style, Junction is vastly different from Thematic, however Junction capitalizes on the power of the Thematic Framework, which allows the ability to style the entire template without touching a single line of original php or html code.
Thematic offers a bunch of child themes, I featured one of them, but You should check this site for Yourself, actually I suggest You to subscribe to this site if You’re serious about WordPress theme developing.
Acamas is a Thematic Themelet. That means Acamas requires the Thematic Theme Framework installed in your WordPress theme directory. Thematic powers Acamas. And Acamas builds on the power of Thematic. But don’t worry! Thematic is free. Even better, it’s open-source and one of the most advanced SEO WordPress themes around. Download Thematic now and set your blog on a rock-solid foundation for success.
And finally I found several related articles, You should read if You’re interested in actual using/modifying and developing WordPress themes:
Interesting poll with discussion below, trying to help You choose the right WordPress theme framework for Your case.
Justin Tadlock, creator of Hybrid theme framework, explains what’s theme framework at all and why You should use it at all and much more – just read this article!
You can read in this article:
How child themes work in WordPress
How are themes modified without being modified?
What you need to make a child theme
Assembling a child theme: the framework
Adding CSS rules to your child theme
Putting it all together and activating the child theme
Links to tools and resources
This forum will kindly give You answers to many unclear questions dedicated to help You modify WordPress themes.
“Helping you learn more about blogging and WordPress every day with help, tips, advice, and techniques for blogging and using WordPress and WordPress.com. The blogging help you need. Now.” – amazing site with many useful articles and links about WordPress, blogging helping You to take Your skills to the next level.
And of course, You shouldn’t forget about actual WordPress creator codex website. It seems obvious, but often we forget such things :)
Excellent WordPress guide teaching You how to create WordPress theme from scratch and clearly explaining each code snippet. I personally started here my WordPress learning.
In this article I wanted to show just the best WordPress Theme frameworks and few guidelines where to continue Your research so I kept WordPress tutorial, resource and article selection for later. Enjoy!
Few further resources: