Frank: A Free WordPress Theme Designed For Speed

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Today we are pleased to release Frank, an open-source WordPress theme designed and built to provide a light, responsive and unobtrusive reading experience. The theme’s default home page makes 9 database queries and consists of 2 requests weighing at roughly 30KB (9.5KB gzipped). Frank keeps it basic: no Javascript dependence, no unnecessary images, just a simple, no-frills, fast blog theme. The theme is introduced by its developer, P.J. Onori. —Ed.

Frank is a responsive WordPress theme. It uses a modified version of the Foundation1 grid system. It also offers the unique feature of a modular home page layout system. The theme comes with various different layouts for your home page (1 column, 2 column, 3 column, 4 column, etc.) that can be mixed and matched. This allows for a home page with different content sections in different layouts.

frank-layout2

With intense use of HTML5 and CSS3 Frank cuts down on complexity and improves performance. Frank works decently on Internet Explorer 8+. However, at the moment no guarantees are given for any earlier IE versions. It is packaged with the parent theme (in the frank directory) as well as the child theme (in the somerandomdude directory) which I use for my own site3. By using Frank, my home page weighs in at 43.65KB over 6 requests (Google Analytics accounts for ~15.5KB and 3 requests). In addition, 33.78% of global page loads completely within 1 second or less (55.75% in the US). On Google Page Speed4, the demo5 gets an overall PageSpeed Score of 97 (out of 100).

Also, Frank uses a subset of Foundation to provide a responsive layout for desktops, tablets and phones. Add this to the theme’s small footprint and you have a mobile-optimized blog. The theme is 100% open source and developer-friendly. The parent theme (/frank) is released under the GNU Public License6 and the child theme (/somerandomdude) directory is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License7.

Demo and Downloads

You can check the live demo8 of the theme.

home-somerandomdude-5009

Why Did I Make Frank?

There are three reasons:

The first reason was to make good on a promise. I made the commitment that everything I created on my site would be open source. That is how Iconic14 was born, and this is how Frank came to be. My site is now 100% open source.

The second reason is that I believe that speed is an essential part of user experience. I wanted my site to reflect that belief.

The last reason is that WordPress has an unfair reputation of being a slow, resource-hungry blogging platform. Make no mistake, WordPress can be slow, but that is often due to poor use. I wanted to make a WordPress theme to break the unfair stereotype.

Frank shines for sites that need a no-frills blog that focuses on the reading experience. Frank is not for everybody, but it shines when used in its sweet spot.

Reading Experience: Example15

Future Development

Frank is ready to be used, but there is still a long way to go until it’s in tip-top shape. This theme can and will get faster. Here’s what is currently being worked on.

  • Greater typographic and visual polish
  • Increased CSS optimization
  • HTML cleanups and structural improvements
  • Modernization and optimization of Javascript components
  • Improved organization and structure of SCSS files
  • Developer-friendly build tools
  • Guides for optimal use of Frank

Credits

This theme was built with significant help of some great folks. My sincere thanks to Felix Holmgren16, Jon Christopher17 and Josh McDonald18 for their tremendous contributions.

(ea) (vf)

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://foundation.zurb.com/
  2. 2 http://somerandomdude.com
  3. 3 http://somerandomdude.com
  4. 4 https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights#url=http_3A_2F_2Fsomerandomdude.com_2F&mobile=false
  5. 5 http://somerandomdude.com
  6. 6 http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html
  7. 7 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/
  8. 8 http://somerandomdude.com
  9. 9 http://somerandomdude.com
  10. 10 http://somerandomdude.com
  11. 11 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/large-preview.png
  12. 12 https://github.com/somerandomdude/Frank
  13. 13 https://github.com/somerandomdude/Frank/archive/master.zip
  14. 14 http://somerandomdude.com/work/iconic
  15. 15 http://somerandomdude.com/2012/08/12/svg-css-injection/
  16. 16 https://twitter.com/felixhgren
  17. 17 https://twitter.com/jchristopher
  18. 18 https://twitter.com/onestepcreative

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P.J. is a design technologist by trade. Check out his thoughts, work and findings at somerandomdude. You can follow him on Twitter.

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  1. 1

    This theme doesn’t seem work well with plugins that uses javascript. In my case I wan’t to use social popup plugin, could you advice me how to make the plugin work with Frank Theme?

    0
  2. 52

    I use it on my blog ( http://motivator.ma ) without CDN:
    – Google Speedtest desktop: 96/100,
    – Google Speedtest mobile: 90/100,
    – Webpagetest: 95/100
    – Gtmetrix: 96/100
    I get the logo, the profile picture, and social icons to a CSS image sprite. I use W3 total cache, and Autoptimize plugins. Fast as lightning :)
    I think, this is the one of the best wordpress themes. Nice work, Thanks!

    0
  3. 103

    sinelogix technologies

    July 25, 2014 11:29 am

    such a nice theme for speed. very good.. keep making

    0
  4. 154

    useful article, but I did not find in it a link to the site lethemes.com, that previously helped me a lot

    0
  5. 205

    Tried to install “Comments are closed” into “/wordpress/wp-content/themes/Frank-master/plugins/webputty/” but can’t find the plugin directory or the webputty directory in the Frank-master directory. Newbe so I’m probably not doing something correctly.

    0
  6. 256

    Is this being monitored? I need to know how to create columns with WP 4.1 using Frank theme.

    0

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