Support » Everything else WordPress » Seeking Advice – Framwork vs Prem theme vs Blank Theme

  • Hi All,

    New to wordpress, created a site in Joomla in the past, and am about to create another site using a Opensource CMS. I have found that WP is growing in support and popularity and has a GREAT collection of 3rd party plugins both free and paid.

    Where I am stuck is the whole theme structure. Joomla themes are quite easy to customize from a module perspective, once you have a pre-built theme you can easily change the look of a site through the assignment of various module positions. However I find that a lot of WP themes are “set in structure” and once the structure is set, its not as simple to move items around like menus etc.

    An example would be menus, in Joomla, once you have a theme with a module layout, you can assign one or more menus to any module on the template. In WP i find that the menus blocks are set as part of the templates core structure, and once set, you can’t just assign new menus unless you hack the templates code or use a template framework like Page lines to add new menu blocks. A lot of templates seem to be rigid in that aspect. Like i said i’m a noob in WP, so this is just the impression i have.

    Now I am unsure if i should:
    1. go with a well know theme framework that is flexible and supported. One that i have played around with is Pagelines, with the drag and drop and configuration features built in it allows you to pretty much layout a site with some ease and gives the option of having multiple menus (at least 3 or 4 from the test site i built – not that this is a UI recommendation). However this costs $$ and then your stuck with a theme built on a 3rd party framework. Which scares me a little.

    2. go with a blank WP theme framework such as “responsive” and then hack your way through it by both configuration settings and code hacking.

    3. Purchase a Premium theme that matches as close to what you need as possible and utilize this (e.g. themeforest themes).

    Wonder what people would recommend? Going for a framework like Pagelines may tie me into the framework long term and find myself dependent on subscriptions etc.

    Creating one from scratch, obviously takes longer bu I learn how theme structures work and I wouldn’t be so reliant on 3rd party providers. My only concern is what happens if WP updates, will i need to debug and fix theme bugs every time? or is this where you use a parent-child scenario?

    Lastly if i purchase a 3rd party premium theme, I’m concerned about support dropping off.

    Sorry the above maybe really nooby and I may be misunderstanding the structure of WP. I’m just not sure what the best option is. I don’t mind building my own theme but i’d need somewhere to start and I’d want to create one in a way that wont break as soon as WP is updated as a CMS.

    Looking for feedback and advise. 🙂

Viewing 6 replies - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • Hi PGriz,

    I would recommend using Underscores as a good starting place:

    It’s worked on by the Automattic Theme Team, amongst others, and you can read about it here:

    Also, regarding menus, you can also create additional menus and use the Custom Menu widget to place a menu in any widgetised area.

    I hope that helps get you started 🙂

    WOW – that was quick – thanks Japh – I did stumble across this but didn’t look to deeply into it. what would be the best way to utilize a starter theme such as underscores?

    Do I just hack into it and customise it? or do i set up a parent-child theme structure and hack the child so that when the parent updates i dont lose any changes?

    Sorry extreme NOOB and a little confused with the “theme” layout/structure in WP. Is there any beginner documentation explaining a theme structure you may point me to?

    Hey PGriz,

    For theme development documentation, you can start here:

    The WordPress Codex is your new best friend, so get acquainted 🙂

    Underscores is a starter theme, so you can use to input your new theme’s name etc. and it’ll spit out Underscores all ready to go with your new theme details. Then you just get in there and customise. Any updates after that to Underscores itself, you’d have to integrate into your theme manually. There’d be no automatic updating as it’s not longer Underscores, it’s your theme now!

    You could use a parent theme if you wanted, it depends on your goal for the theme. If it’s for distribution, distributing a child theme is a little more awkward because people need the parent too. If it’s for your own use, then you may decide you want to be able to get updates, so using Twenty Twelve as the parent theme might be a good place to start.

    Twenty Twelve is the new default theme for WordPress, which will be released in the next week or so, and is currently available through SVN.

    Also, don’t feel bad about asking questions. It’s never silly to ask a question you need to ask, but it might be a bit silly not to ask and end up in trouble 😉

    I guess that answers my main concern. I’d hate to heavily create or customise a theme and then have to “re-do” or “adjust” everytime a new WP update came out. So I’d rather use a predefined “parent” theme that will be updated for me and then just ensure my child customization is still available (if that makes sense). So perhaps in that case a Parent/child scenario would fit best and the Twenty Twelve may be the right starting point. As for documentation I guess I have a weekend of reading to do 😉

    Thank you for all your help and for responding so quickly.

    By the way – was looking for a “like”/”thank you” type button and noticed that you are an Aussie too 🙂 – thanks for the help 🙂

    Great, sounds like you’re all set to go then!

    Glad to help! 🙂

    Oh, and while there’s no “like”/”thank you”, you’re welcome to use the dropdown on the right to mark this one as ‘resolved’, if you’re happy with it.

Viewing 6 replies - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • The topic ‘Seeking Advice – Framwork vs Prem theme vs Blank Theme’ is closed to new replies.