Support » Themes and Templates » Any advantages to Underscores Roots, or Genesis for parent theme?

  • I build my child themes on Twenty Twelve. Some of these other theme frameworks pique my interest, especially Underscores and Roots. I have heard a lot of good things about Genesis, but its usually from someone using affiliate links to Studio Press.

    Can anyone name some major deal-changing advantages to using any of these or other options in place of the Twenty Twelve theme as a parent for a child theme?

    Also, as an aside, can anyone explain why the Underscores site advises against using Underscores as a parent theme? It seems to me that for a theme that is so likely to be frequently changed and updated it would be all the wiser to use a child theme.

Viewing 9 replies - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • Genesis is hook oriented. It’s good if you are familiar with action hooks.

    Roots is doing way too much on it own, it’s a big framework.

    _S is barebone. The reason it’s not recommmended to use as parent theme is that it wants to keep going without worrying about breaking the child.

    The thing about parent/child is that you can’t change the markup structure, or class name without breaking child. And other things too.

    Thanks Paul. I think you misunderstood my question: I wasn’t asking so much “what is the difference between the options,” (you answered that accurately) instead, I am asking why would I want to stop building child themes on Twenty Twelve and switch to one of the other options? What are people who have already made the switch able to do that I can’t do?

    Take Genesis for example. If there is a compelling reason to use Genesis, I’ll learn the action hooks and pay the money. That’s not the issue. The question is whether there is a compelling reason to make the switch. What will I be able to do once I have learned to use Genesis that I can’t do now basing my child themes on Twenty Twelve? Genesis promoters never seem to be able to answer that.

    The same goes for the other alternatives. I know they are different. I want to know what, if anything, makes them a superior alternative in terms of tangible objective measurable benefits.

    Your answer on _s makes perfect sense. Why the people working on _s would muck around with existing class names isn’t clear to me, but if that’s what they might do, I understand why I wouldn’t want to use _s as a parent.

    Frameworks provide set of useful functions packed in a library ready for you to use, and it has its own standardized hooks in the templates. So you can do things with ease.

    Using 2012 as parent, you have to do a lot more work to get the same thing done.


    It only take a few lines of code to put a banner in the header area using theme framework. With 2012 as parent ? you’d need to override the whole template just for that. And at one point you will feel that it’s messy.

    Need to add a breadcrumb on Pages only, and add 4 widgetized area into the footer of front page only ? With theme framework, it takes a few lines of code. With 2012 as parent, you need to write 50 lines of code into your functions.php.

    Does this mean using theme framework is better than using 2012 as parent ? Not always so. It depends on level of modifications and the task.

    Why the people working on _s would muck around with existing class names..

    Markups and class names are not arbitrary. It depends on the specifications and it changes. This is why it’s called web development.

    For example:

    Just recently <hgroup> was dropped from HTML5 spec. What do you think 2012 will do ? Of course, it wants to change its header.php to not have the <hgroup> but it can’t do so without consideration on some childthemes that use this elements as CSS selector.

    For class names, there are WAI-ARIA,

    and Mircoformats

    So for Underscores, of course you can use it as parent, but it’s not recommended. Underscores is meant to be a barebone template that stays current.

    So for Underscores, of course you can use it as parent, but it’s not recommended. Underscores is meant to be a barebone template that stays current.

    I like the looks of _s a lot, if I were going to stop doing child themes and build from a starter, _s would probably be my first choice. That said, I don’t see how you can say it “stays current.” If I spend hours creating a theme from _s and they release a new one tomorrow, my theme is no longer “current.” If Twenty Twelve updates my child theme is still current unless I have to spend a few minutes changing the lines that apply to hgroup.

    Not arguing with you or bashing one option or the other. I just don’t see your reasoning, but I do appreciate the answers.

    You have definitely swayed me a bit in the direction of giving Genesis a try.

    Any theme can be a parent theme. If you just need to update the styles, all you actually need is to create a child theme with custom styled css.

    Just include the template line in your child theme style.css like “Template: twentythirteen” where “twentythirteen” is the folder where your parent theme is located.

    Roots at the moment has evolved into a starter theme but can still be used as a parent theme. I like it as a starter theme as it includes gruntfile.js so development – compiling css, js – becames a breeze.

    This was a great post. Thank you to everyone who contributed. @eric, you’re questions reflected my same thinking from this post.

    I’d be curious to know what your conclusion was?

    Currently using roots for a way to finally get my head around less & grunt etc. While that is going really well I’m constantly having problems with the way roots created its own template hierarchy. This is causing many more delays with a job than using grunt, less & bootstrap for the first time.

    I might try _s next and add bootstrap to it myself.

    You might like to know about the _tk theme for wordpress which is an already existing theme to combine _s with bootstrap 3.

Viewing 9 replies - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
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