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WordPress Theme Frameworks Explained

Date Added: August 19, 2013 07:25:56 PM

WordPress beginners sometimes confuses themes and frameworks, so it would make sense to begin by differentiating between these two terms. 


A theme controls the design elements of a site. So, the fonts, layout, colors, etc, are all elements controlled by a theme. Themes are usually created to have a certain look to appeal to a specific group of potential buyers: hence the existence of architecture themes, web hosting themes, and so on. 

Theme Frameworks

Theme frameworks are more focussed on providing functionality than themes. They are also more flexible. The point of frameworks, in fact, is to act as a foundation on top of which themes are built. 

There are different types of framework, and some are easier for beginners to get to grips with than others. Frameworks which consist of little more than code libraries are the hardest to use, requiring decent knowledge of HTML, CSS and PHP. Base themes, also known as starter themes, require some of the same knowledge, but not as much. Most beginner-friendly of all are drag & drop frameworks, which don't require any coding knowledge at all. Headway and PageLines are the most well-known of the drag & drop frameworks. 

Choosing Between a Theme and a Framework

Which is best for you comes down to the amount of flexibility you need around the look of your site. For high flexibility, go with a framework. However, be aware that frameworks require more work. With a theme, you can install it and off you go. With a framework, you have the beginnings of a theme, but you have to put the work in (or your developer does) making it look the way you wish. Another factor to consider is speed: if time is of the essence, then an off-the-shelf theme may be the best solution.