Here is a simple guide to WordPress Frameworks. Although I have been using WordPress as a content editor for quite some time now, my experience as a WordPress developer is very little. Recently, I wanted to build a basic plugin with a few settings in it. I asked one of my developer colleagues for pointers. He told me that I should start looking from WordPress Frameworks. So, I went into exploring the various WordPress frameworks out there, here is a snapshot of my findings.
In this article, we will explore the following:
- What is a WordPress framework?
- What are the WordPress framework types?
- Pros and Cons of various WordPress frameworks
- Our Opinion
What are WordPress frameworks?
WordPress frameworks are the base or boilerplates for WordPress themes or option panels. The framework contains a basic set of core codes and the design elements. It’s a scaffolding or you can say a skeleton which has all the elements needed to jumpstart your work. The developers can leverage the capabilities of the framework to speed-up their development and avoid “reinventing the wheel”.
There are various WordPress frameworks available. You can create a custom theme or custom plugin using any of the available WordPress frameworks.
One of the popular WordPress frameworks is the Genesis Framework. You can use this framework to create custom themes for your website. These themes are called child themes. You can buy a child theme from the developer or from any third party, else you can create your own custom child themes. Also, you can share these child themes globally, where other developers can contribute to and improve upon it.
What are the WordPress framework types?
The first type of WordPress framework is a Theme framework and the second is the Options framework. Let’s learn more about these below:
In the old days, maintaining a theme was complicated in WordPress. If you want to upgrade your theme, then it was very hard, you had to lose all your custom styling. There was no good way of upgrading WordPress themes without losing all the custom styling options. There was no way to prevent copying and pasting of the same functionality code in all the themes.
A Theme framework is designed to cater to this very problem. It stores all the essential code elements for the theme and the developer can reuse it to make custom themes or child themes. The theme framework is the structure where it has all the functionalities set up. You can override the design or styling with the child theme, which sits on top of the parent theme.
Learn more about the Simple Comparison of WordPress Theme Frameworks.
An Options framework has all the code elements that are required to build a fully functional options panel for a plugin or a theme in the WordPress admin panel. There are various options frameworks available. You can easily integrate them into your own plugin/theme. Some of these are Options framework are the Redux framework, Kirki Customizer framework, etc. We will cover these frameworks later with a detailed comparison blog. Stay tuned!
You can install this option framework to your website to create options like
- upload (an image uploader)
- images (use images instead of radio buttons)
- background (a set of options to define a background)
- multi check
- colour (a jquery colour picker)
- typography (a set of options to define typography)
And you don’t have to rely on any plugin to do that. You can create your own options with these options framework, and you would love to do that.
Pros and Cons of WordPress framework
- It will reduce the development time and give you a jump-start.
- Easily change themes with no need to customize a lot.
- Popular frameworks have great community support, which will help improve the theme.
- You can upgrade your themes/options hassle-free without the risk of losing styling.
- Once you know your framework, then you can easily customize and get rid of extra, unnecessary elements.
- The price of these frameworks can be very high. Also, there are some free frameworks available. But the support and functionalities are less compared to the premium version frameworks.
- There is a slight learning curve towards getting used to these frameworks.
- Some frameworks come with bloatware, while the normal user needs not to worry; developers need to take care of these to ensure performance.
Although some of the frameworks might cost you a bit, and you need to learn these to get the full advantage of it, we suggest trying these frameworks out as they can help you reduce the development time and effort needed. Additionally, they have great community support.
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