WordPress frameworks are the building blocks or platforms upon which programming for WordPress themes is done. Developers love the frameworks as it simplifies programming. There is no longer a need to develop from scratch, and with pre-built infrastructure, it means more opportunity for creative expression when building WordPress themes.
There may be some disadvantages to the use of frameworks, as they are not all the same, and although they can be used by many without technical knowledge or experience, some frameworks may be more user-friendly than others. Choosing a framework requires a bit of thought, as users must have an idea of what is needed from both development and user viewpoints. The following list reveals some of the best WordPress frameworks to be found on the web.
Genesis is perhaps the most powerful but affordable framework available, and is considered to the standard in the industry. It is built to be robust, yet lean, amenable to the SEO process, and still it can be easily customized.
Using a child theme with the Genesis framework is perhaps one of the more efficient ways to accelerate theme development. The learning curve for Genesis is not a steep one, and it takes a relatively short time to become proficient. The process will however be heavily influenced by the child theme chosen.
Genesis is not recommended for beginners, except those who are technically inclined, and the use of a beginner friendly child theme would be a preferred choice. One of the reasons why Genesis is preferred is because of the tremendous value it offers. Customizing your sites is easy, as development is done in highly efficient HTML5 code, and for the low one-time fee, the developers at Studio Press offer unlimited support and automatic updating. Use of theme also includes access to an active developer community for any discussion or needed assistance.
Constant auto updates
How Does Genesis Stack up in 2017?
However, Genesis has fallen a bit out of favor now by the end of 2016. I don’t see as many people using it as previously and there are very few ‘new’ Genesis themes being released by both the company and 3rd parties.
It’s still a strong platform — especially for developer type bloggers who appreciate the fastest, most well-coded of frameworks. But it seems the mass market is moving more towards the multi-purpose themes like Divi, Avada, X Theme, and the like. These are super, do everything themes that offer a basic theme design with a custom layout builder from which you can create an endless number of designs…usually at the cost of slower loading, more bulky WordPress installs though.
Check out Genesis
Divi includes one of the best page builders in WordPress frameworks. Building Portfolios, Sliders or changing layouts, can be done with a few clicks, and there is practically no learning curve.
Updating is easy once the API key is registered, and it can be done at the admin panel of the WordPress dashboard. The Divi page builder allows page-building from inside WordPress where pages are normally edited, and the preview feature is always available to see what your changes look like.
The Framework, from Elegant Themes includes all that may be needed to build functioning sites, and even child themes can be designed for working at lower levels. Divi is highly intuitive, and great for building clean and minimalist websites, which can be a great starter for later expansion. There are different membership levels, but for a onetime fee, having access to multiple themes, and perpetual updates, modules and layouts is an outstanding value.
Easy to navigate and learn
Comprehensive Divi Builder, for wysiwyg design — build new custom designs any way you like
20 pre-built templates, for those who want a turn key design to use and / or customize
Has additional theme extensions designed around it (Extra Theme) for additional designs.
30-day money back guarantee
Divi is, as of 2017, one of the most popular multi-themes / frameworks on the wordpress market place right now. There are hundreds of thousands of users and Elegant themes are consistently updating the theme with new features. As of 2016, we have Divi 3 which includes a brand new page builder and a host of other improvements.
I also own Divi, having bought the lifetime membership. While it is a bit bulky, it’s by far the best looking and most feature-rich framework/multitheme on the market. It’s the most popular for a reason. Most people who ‘buy’ the theme end up getting the membership option that includes a host of free plugins as well. For those who don’t want to pay, there is the lifetime membership option.
Overall, for those looking for one of the best customizable themes on the market right now with a ton of new updates going on, Divi is the best theme to buy — both for now and for the long term, given the huge number of updates going on and the thriving ecosystem.
It now seems that site building with WordPress no longer requires knowledge of any kind of coding, and The Headway framework is a perfect example of what can be accomplished, simply with Drag and Drop features.
Among the powerful features of the framework, is the Headway Grid for styling different layouts in either of one to three columns or a combination of the same. The elements can also be styled with the Design Editor.
All page elements remain fully responsive, and content is displayed equally well on screens and browsers of all makes and sizes. Headway Framework includes a few core building blocks, and the Headway Extend feature allows addition of extra blocks. Developers will also love using Headway as it includes a CSS editor, and the ability to create custom blocks, and even build some child themes. The Headway Marketplace is where you can sell some of your creations.
A lot of flexibility is allowed with Headway, which makes it great for both beginners and developers.
Building blocks included
Google fonts included
The Themify Framework is available with purchase of themes from Themify, and the most powerful component is perhaps, the Themify Builder. With an easy drag and drop feature, the builder allows composing attractive pages that can include additional modules and elements when and where they may be desired. Styling pages is easily enabled as custom and shortcode elements, such as sliders, photo galleries and widgets can be dragged into any position.
Several other features are included to make the building process much easier, and the import/export function allows user to import or export content to different sites to eliminate the duplication of separate builds. Customization can the begin after the import/ export to complete separate pages
Unfortunately the framework is only suitable for Themify themes, but the value comes with a one-time payment that allows access to all themes, with an option to upgrade to a more expanded membership, that includes option such as lifetime membership and support or access to plugins.
Drag and Drop builder
Support video backgrounds
Includes widgets and shortcodes
Compatible with WPML
Pageline is a contemporary WordPress theme framework that is bundled with an extensive set of features, and customizable characteristics. The main feature of the framework happens to be the classically designed drag and drop website builder. It really makes designing an attractive website seem like child’s play even for the non-professional.
Designs are completed in the minimalist style, but the features that can be included are all top–rated. Installation is smooth and easy and Pageline includes an unlimited number of layouts, with no need to import any files.
Everything can be customised, including fonts, colors, backgrounds, and there is also very close attention paid to the design infrastructure for easy SEO process. The framework is also made compatible with WooCommerce for an online storefront. Pageline is uncomplicated, and it is noted as being one of the fastest and creatively efficient ways to build very attractive and fully functional websites and the technology included is outstanding.
Supports multiple widgets
Drag and drop page-building
Builder is another very versatile framework that allows layout changes without knowing a lick of code. The framework includes several child themes, a Style Manager, which is actually a plugin, and the Builder Core Theme, along with the Layout Editor. These are some very powerful tools, but you are allowed access to support and updates for a full year.
Building with builder is as easy a process as is expected, with simple dragging and dropping of the modules included. Customize features such as fonts, colors, and background with the Style Manager and you can get started with any of the 80 themes that are included. The versatility offered by Builder from iThemes, is also impressive as the designers offer blocks that are specific to different niches, which makes the theme easy to adapt to different industries.
Builder allows a fast start with features like Backup buddy for site cloning, and there is more site management tools along with extensive video training and full technical support.
Thesis was developed to be a Universal framework that can be used to edit almost any WordPress theme. What is different about the Framework is the architecture. Traditionally editing WordPress theme required knowledge of code language, such as PHP and file transfer capability. Thesis new architecture changes all that, with a visual editor using simple drag and drop features. The advanced WordPress theme framework, offers much more control over the function and design, with much more flexibility. It can be used both by developers, and non-techies, but there is a price to pay for the powerful flexibility as a steeper curve may be needed.
The non-techies should love the powerful Drag and Drop features, and the easy integration of features such as Google Webmaster Tools. More plugins than you can imagine are just as easy to integrate, with Boxes, such as Facebook likes, and social share buttons. Get more control over the typography with Google fonts, and the Pro Version comes with several additional skins and boxes that can also be customised.
Redux is one of the truly open source frameworks, that developers can actually begin building with a reduced development cycle as it is maintained in a much streamlined and thoroughly extensible fashion. It is maintained by third party developers who contribute, and there is always a well-supported and carefully documented config file for reference.
The framework includes a truly extensive set of features that cover almost every detail of development. Building is easy, and Redux can even be used to manage other themes, if the choice of creating a custom theme is undaunted. Redux may include some advanced features, however it is still highly intuitive, and it should be long before users become proficient with developing powerfully functional sites.
In addition to be intuitive, an extensive support documentation is maintained on the site, and a knowledge base is also maintained on Github where issues are tracked. There is not much more that can be expected from a 100% open source that can also be expected to improve.
Tesla framework allows the editing of some of the cleanest and best looking themes on the web. Each theme can be purchased separately for only $35, but for a single payment of only $69, you can have access to the full collection of themes along with the framework and PSD files for further building. There are tons of features and tools included with the framework. Without coding skills, branding is easy to upload logos and changing favicons, but developers will be intrigued with the ability to include your custom CSS.
Posts can be formatted to contain different types of content, and the framework includes several different types of sliders. The developers say that the Framework is continually being updated, but users are never left out of the loop, and the update notification from WordPress ensures that compatibility problems are minimized.
All themes are fully responsive, using the Tesla Framework makes it easy to install additional features, such as integrating social media profiles, and data captures for measurement analysis.
It is not very often that one is able to find free frameworks that offer a lot of potential for creativity, but The Gantry framework appears to be one that breaks the norm. It is free and popular free alternative to paid frameworks, but still manages to hold its own as far as features are concerned.
Gantry is available under the General Public Copy left license. Support is provided by community and developers are constantly contributing to enhance the features. There are tons of widgets available with the framework which was originally built on the Twitter Bootstrap frame, but the caveat, as with any free products is that the learning may be fairly steep as different developers may be taking it in different directions using different styles.
Paid support for Gantry is available, and there may be some groups of developers who work with Gantry, and they may be able to provide support.
Lightweight and fast
Layout manager included
The Cherry Framework is straightforward and relatively easy to use while containing almost all of necessary features for essential WordPress theme development. It is easy to install, and includes most of the Bootstrap functions on which it was built. It is also very well documented and included and expanded set of widgets and shortcodes.
The Cherry Framework is also one of the few frames that are ready for localization, and is readily available for translation into four languages of Spanish, Italian German and Russian. The language engine can also be enabled for detection and automatic translation, and the WPML plugin is also supported.
The Theme Customizer is used for making changes, and all changes can be viewed in real time with the preview function before they are applied.
Updates are made regularly to the framework, even though the developers have included 100s of options and features and more than 80 shortcodes for integrating more content. Components are upgraded automatically with each new version and the developers have also opened a themes club where themes are available for $1.0 each
Zoom framework works with sites built with Zoom Themes. It is easy to use, with a very intuitive interface. Almost everything is done at the Theme Options panel of WordPress, and there is never a need to see or appreciate any coding.
It is perhaps the easiest framework to learn and use as sites modules can be all be installed as widgets with one click. Zoom is constantly evolving and the developers have made updating easy when they become available and can be automatically installed with one click.
The framework also includes an extensive list of shortcodes for adding elements and changing layouts and along with the easy customization; Zoom is also designed to be very SEO friendly to aid in SE discovery. There is practically no need to look at code, as all features including color and fonts can be changed at the settings menu item with an unlimited choice of colors for the color picker and they have made it easy to move sites with the import/export features.
Canvas Frameworks was built by WooThemes, and is among the top of framework in its class. It is an easy to use framework that works with WooThemes to add some superb customization features without coding. Features like side width can be changed, as well as the typography and layouts.
Choices include a boxed, full width or standard layout, and change is accomplished with a simple click.
The theme includes several Woo widgets and has two widgetized areas in sidebar and four widgetized areas in the optional footer. Widgets can also be used on the homepage page template also allows easy widget placement on any page.
Canvas also allows the addition of slideshows with one of the Shortcodes, and there is even more flexibility that allows a demonstration of creativity.
The combination of Woothemes and Canvas can be powerful as make WooCommerce compatibility, with portfolio functionality. Updates are also easily done from inside the WP dashboard, but the only caveat is that support and updates are paid.
Here is a free and opensource framework that includes a lot of flexibility. Along with flexibility the user is given power which should be used with care.
Hybrid Core is not associated with any particular theme and developers are free to use it as they wish. Much of the coding is eliminated as there are several pre-designed modules. It is more like a library of code that can be easily installed into any theme to assist in development.
The learning curve can be eased with the use of a starter theme, aslo developed by the author, Justin Tadlock. The starter theme can be used as a parent and introduction to Hybrid Core
The framework is built in modules from which developers a free to choose. Adding the modules such post templates which allows you to create templates for posting, and the media grabber for featuring images, can all be done by including a few lines of code.
PressWork is another open-source theme framework built with CSS3 and HTML5. It is designed for use at all levels, and has recently been given a new lease on life after a period of dormancy.
It is one of the unique frameworks that puts power in the hands of publishers and developers. Developers will also love the ability to preview changes before they go live, using the easy to use drag and drop builder.
Full control is given for designing layouts in various elements, including headers, body and footers. With the power and standardization of HTML5, it is now much easier to design and style functional sites, and PressWork efficiently combines the capability along with power and function of WordPress.
PressWork includes flexibility in the typography with theoption of more thaan 600 Goole fonts that can be used anywhere on your site. PressWork is free and easy to use, but the caveat, as with some free products, is that support may not always be available.
Boostrap Framework is quickly becoming one of the most popular development tools for creating better apps and websites.Development lifetime schedules are reduced significantly, as the Twitter Bootsrap Framework, includes a multitude of easy to use tools. The Bootstrap framework include a library of code snippets that can installed where they may be needed, and styling modules are done with the extendable version of CSS know as LESS.
Bootstrap give developers freedom to choose what will be included or excluded, so your site is designed exactly as you want it. It offers layout flexibility, with adjustable grids and columns. Along with the increased flexibility with LESS, it is now much easier to create responsive sites as updates are automated.
One of the most important components of any site, is the admin panel, and this is mainly because admins should be able to acess and manage the backend operations easily. Vafpress Framework was designed mainly to build admin panels, and it includes a powerful set of tools to easily build admin panels that are easy to navigate. The interface is built to be very intuitive and can include most of the complex features involved in managing the website.
The panels are not only attractive and easy to navigate, but also fully functional, as they have been designed with Object Oriented platforms. There are two versions available, and both are Open-source, so developers are allowed to contribute upgrades or enhancements. The library version or plugin choice will depend on the available resources, and proficieny with the process. Vapress is intended for intermediate to advanced users, and developement usually results in applications that are well structred and fully mobile responsive.
The Codestar Framework is an advanced frameworks, with features that may not be easily understood by everyone. However, when understood, it can be used to build some very beatiful anf fully responsive websites. The process is made easy as it includes several very useful options , and custom fields that are easily added to any design.
The flexibility and possibilities become almost limitless as there is an equally extensive set of shortcodes that can be used to install associated page elements. The metaboxes allow easy addition of custom fields on posts or pages, and a number of advanced settings are also included.
Extensive documentation is provided with the Framework, which is offered under the GNU General Public License. As with some free products, support may not always be available especially when needed, but this is no reason to avoid Codestar. Customisation is also easy as the framework uses the default customizer, inherent in all WordPress application and it is fully compatible with the custom fields in Codestar.
The NOUVEAU framework is built specifically for WordPress theme development. It includes a starter theme, and all of the functions and features of a complete framework. It is built on the standardized HTML5 to provide clean and compliant coding for efficiently rendering sites across all devices. And contains a few unique characteristics.
The framework is also developed with efficient PHP version 5.3, and includes some backward compatibility for older devices.
The framework is designed in a Modular fashion to allow mix and matching of parts and sections. This put s developers in total control to design sites that are more tightly suited to the functions and eliminate waste of space and resources. The option to chose, will result in more appropriate style and design and overall better website development. Plugins are seperated from the features
Nouveau is available as a free download and developers are free to use it as allowed by the terms of the license.
The creators of this Framework have tagged it as the total design suite, as it does contain an extensive set of features, that allows you to build impressive sites without touching code. After careful examination we can concur that Ultimation ranks as one of the best frameworks available.
Developing or site-building is made as easy as possible for anyone, as the pages can be built with widgets, which can be dragged and dropped in any area.
Beginners may be a bit challenged with the learning curves, as there are many features to appreaciate, and learning appropriate application requires some practice, but once that is overcome using Ultimatum can be an enjoyable experience.
The framework also includes a lot of flexibility, and allows the use of other WordPress widgets and plugins with the Layout editor, with which you can preview changes.
Style changes are just as easy with the style editor, where parameters and options are entered and previewed in real time.
The Dynamic Builder was developed as a companion to the Genesis Frameworks, and includes most of the features, such the robust and clean-styled code that generates fast loading pages. It can be used as the child theme for developing fuller-blown sites without writing code.
All aspects and element of the site can be changed, and custom layouts can be created with The Dynamik Website Builder. Changes can be made at page levels, and even posts can be edited or formatted in dieffernt styles. A lot of attention is paid to detail, and the developers at Cobalt Apps have made it easy to use, by including several pre-designed configuration that can be used straight out of the box. They can also be further customized if desired.
There is much flexibility built-in to the Dynamik, with export features for fast duplication of pages or complete Genesis themes that can be completed in minutes.
There are very few occasions when free products appear to over deliver on their promses, and the Unyson Framework may be one of those occasions. The emphasis is on the number of opportunities and options that are provided for customization.
Unyson is powerfully built, yet remains easy to use. Using the drag and drop page builder, along with the many customization options ensures that almost anyone can design great looking websites in as little time as possible.
Several built-in extensions are included for easy upload. These page extensions can be installed out of the box and content uploaded, to create functional sites within minutes. Portfolio pages, sliders, event pages and unique breadcrumbs can help with site navigation, while there are several theme extensions such as widgets and sidebars and a quick demo install that accelerate the design process.
The Megamenu plugin is also included as is the backup features and several custom widgets are aslo included. Fast easy and free, should help Unyson to become a favorite.
Thematic is a free framework that can be used for WordPress themes. It is an open-source application, that is very highly extensible,and optimized for search-engine discovery.
Some pages are pre built, but can readily be customized. There are several areas included where widgets can be placed, and several layouts are included. The layouts are easily edited at the admin dashboard.
Thematic allows user to customize the appearance of some popular plugins, and is available from an active community of users and developers. Thematic can be used by a wide variety of people that include professional developers, as well as neophyte bloggers who may be attempting to build an initial online presence.
There appears to be some disadvantge to the use of Thematic, as the developers at Autommattic have not upgraded the free framework for a long time, and some issues with current version of WordPress may occur, but assistance will be available in the community
Wonderflux can be used by both advanced developers and beginners, as is is constructed with a set of easy to understand operational controls. All of the instructions that are included are easy to understand. And with the multitude of options available, navigating the open source framework can be overwhelming, but all of the complexity is removed. It becomes very easy to manage the layout, and with little practice, advanced designers can change configurations in a dynamic environment.
The framework includes scores of hooks and filters for easy implementation. Building responsive sites can done quickly and efficiently. Wonderflux is open source, and is available for download without needing a paid licence, and one of the major benefits is that there is no requirement to pay for upgrades.
Wonderflux framework is robust and extremely flexible, and because it is open-source, developers are contributing ideas and enhancements, which means that the easy to use application will remain up to date with current skills and techniques.