Support » Themes and Templates » beginning themer. framework vs traditional build

  • hey there,

    i’m interested in wordpress theming and have gone through a number of helpful articles covering the topic – one of which advocated the use of frameworks for their reduction of build time and overall ease of use.

    my question is, what are your thoughts on jumping immediately into theme development through the usage of a framework for the absolute beginner. my thoughts on the matter be that it may prevent one from learning vital basics that would be more beneficial to a seasoned developer that already has a clearer understanding of fundamentals and may simply be looking for a more efficient workflow.

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  • esmi


    Forum Moderator

    my thoughts on the matter be that it may prevent one from learning vital basics

    I think you’ve hit on a good point here. Learning to create a custom theme from scratch and learning to use a framework effectively are two very different things. I’m not sure that one is better than the other. Both have their disadvantages and advantages.

    If you code your own themes, it takes a lot longer but does mean that you have complete freedom. If you use a framework, development time can be reduced but you could end up frustrated & limited by what the framework offers in terms customisations options.

    If forced to give an opinion, I’d say do both if you can. Learn to code your own basic themes but use frameworks if, and when, it’s appropriate for your projects. Some good free frameworks include Thematic, Suffusion and Hybrid – which should give you plenty to play with without costing anything. Then decide which route you prefer. For me, it’s custom themes every time but your mileage may vary. 🙂

    many thanks!

    I personally learnt by making themes from scratch without a framework, which meant spending a lot of time in the codex but meant I learnt a lot along the way. The chances are your first theme won’t be great, but you can learn a lot from what went wrong the first time and so on. To make sure you’re doing everything properly, I think it’s worth installing plugins such as theme-check and turning WP_Debug on from the very beginning.

    I’ve made quite a few themes now, and have just started working on building my own framework that I will know inside out. This will mean I can expedite the whole theme creation process somewhat, without having to rely on someone else’s code. In other words, I will have the best of both worlds!

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