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

    cool as hell!
    might use it for my upcoming blog.

    -8
  2. 2

    This looks fantastic. Can’t wait to do some serious work on here.

    1
  3. 3

    Nice theme! I’ll be contributing to the theme to fix a couple of bugs ;)

    1
    • 4

      Thanks so much for the help. It’s greatly appreciated!

      0
      • 5

        Hi thanks for the Awesome Theme , but the sad part is i couldn’t use that, i got error message while uploading it on Wordprss ” Style.css is missing ” , i also tried downloading it from GitHub , getting the same thing ..

        Any Help ?

        3
        • 6

          Hi, I was wondering the same thing. Here is what I did to solve this… I unzipped the Frank_Master.zip – within that zip is the folder named “frank”. Simply compress that “frank” folder into a zip… I named mine “frank.zip” and put it on my desktop. From there I went into my WP admin panel/themes/installed/upload and uploaded my new frank.zip file and all was successful. I checked the “frank” folder that is in the master zip and it has the style.css file. Hope this helps. -Chad

          2
          • 7

            That’s correct. The wp-uploader is not too flexible when it doesn’t find the style.css on the first level. But you are basically installing 2 themes at once. So you need to unzip them and drop them into the wp-content > themes folder via ftp.

            1
  4. 8

    Excellent!
    Thanks P.J.

    0
  5. 9
  6. 10

    That’s one great looking theme!

    0
  7. 11

    Has the theme got an optimisations in for the use of images such a post thumbnails or in-post images? These tend to be a large part of the page size bloating in my experience, even if JS is covered.

    -3
  8. 12

    Just wondering: can we expect anything other than WordPress CMS related posts? I mean, perhaps something about Drupal, some random open source CMSes, or whatever?

    I’m not picky btw, just wonder if these are sponsored or not.

    Cheers!

    2
    • 13

      They said quite a few times. They just love WP.
      That’s it.

      And I completely understand that:)

      5
      • 14

        Yeah, I can’t say I read *all* the comments, nor do I read *all* of the WP stuff.

        Was just wondering, ‘s all :)

        Cheers for the answer!

        0
  9. 15

    Nice! I love Foundation! Are you just using the grid, or have you included things like Orbit, Reveal and Magellan, too?

    0
  10. 16

    Good job!!!

    -2
  11. 17

    Splendid work! :) Thanks for sharing!

    0
  12. 18

    Really Sweet! Rockenroll!

    0
  13. 19

    Much appreciations for this theme and its minmalistic design approach, but I would suggest to pay more attention on readability at places where u keep lots of data, like in work sections. I think the work section is looking bit crowded and less readable. You had given black color to titles of sections and same color are for paragraphs. Rest I found it awesome !

    1
  14. 20

    Fast as hell :-) Thanks for the good work!

    0
  15. 21

    Very nice theme indeed :) Excellent readability.

    0
  16. 22

    looks nice.
    great job!

    1
  17. 23

    Great Theme!
    I’ll probably use it for my blog once you get the most infuriating bugs fixed.
    Anyway, Good Job, and thanks for sharing!

    0
  18. 25

    Fails to install in WP 3.5, with error message:
    “Installing Theme from uploaded file: Frank-master.zip

    Unpacking the package…

    Installing the theme…

    The package could not be installed. The theme is missing the style.css stylesheet.

    Theme install failed.”

    2
    • 26

      as commented above, the zip that you download contains the ‘frank’ theme and the ‘somerandomdude’ child theme. These need to be uploaded separately and not within the main zip file.

      2
  19. 27

    Theme looked good but just tried to install it locally on the latest wp build and got a The package could not be installed. The theme is missing the style.css stylesheet error

    … am I missing something or does this need to be fixed?

    1
    • 28

      You need to decompress the file you get, and then you’ll end up with two folders, Frank, and SomeRandomDude – those are the actual theme files. If you zip them up you can upload them right to your wordpress install.

      6
  20. 29

    I like it because:

    – it’s clean, simple
    – it has large body text!!!!
    – it’s free

    0
  21. 31

    Hi guys, I’m seeing some people are having some trouble with the installation process. The theme technically consists of two themes – frank (the parent theme) and somerandomdude (the child theme). Therefore, the zip file cannot be used for installation purposes – you’ll need to extract the zip and add each theme to the themes directory of your WordPress install.

    I will be breaking each theme into a separate repository and zip file in the days/weeks to come. Thanks for pointing that out!

    7
  22. 32

    I don’t know guys – I like it but my favourite is still the Bones theme. Much cleaner code and easier to work with. Plus it’s not really that much bloated than Frank.

    http://themble.com/bones/

    I would love to hear someones feedback regarding the comparison of the two.

    (although I must admit, the first thing I do with Bones is add the Foundation grid because it’s purely just kick ass)

    -2
  23. 33

    Amazing! I was testing this on my new site and the performance is above this world! simplicity is the new beauty!!

    1
  24. 34

    Fantastic and light weight, some small adjustments would help make the page margins optically superior, but the base is great.

    Good work!

    0
  25. 35

    I will be one who dislike this theme? Yes it’s minimal, clean et.c…. But! No animation (jscipt or css) – no “beautifullness”. So it’s 3 or 4 stars imho

    -1
  26. 36

    I love the simplicity of the theme; it’s really cool. Thank you.

    I’m having trouble showing excerpts only, of posts on main page though. Do they have to be set manually on each post or is there an override?

    Thanks.

    2
  27. 37

    I decided to give this theme a go. The style.css is huge

    I noticed that the author has hard coded his google analytics and twitter link in the header too.

    gedit is having a really hard time with the css file.

    It’s a shame, as I really like the look of the theme.

    0
  28. 38

    Nice Theme must be popular in next few days :)

    0
  29. 39

    i installed both the themes, when i activate somerandomdude then it gives me error something like it cant redeclare a function that is already declared in functions.php of frank. the words are not exact but meaning is above

    0
  30. 40

    Great work, thx for sharing! Are you about to commit it in the wordpress.org theme repository?

    0
  31. 41

    Dude, this is awesome! Thanks, a lot.

    0
  32. 42

    Looks awesome ! Thanks a lot !

    0
  33. 43

    I really like it but am a little confused as to why the header content in the child theme is static? I also seem to have a search bar filling 100% of the width of the screen directly below my main navigation. Is anyone else experiencing this?

    0
    • 44
    • 45

      The /somerandomdude theme is an exact clone of what I’m using on my site – as such, it’s tuned specifically for my needs. That said, I felt it was worthwhile to share in order to provide a starting point for people who wanted to build on top of the theme.

      You bring up a really good point though – I could have made this much more clear for everyone. I’ll update the docs on the Github repo.

      Thanks!

      0
  34. 46

    thanx dude, i really helpful for me

    0
  35. 47

    Virgil Lee Shelton

    January 25, 2013 6:09 pm

    Thank you, this is splendid WordPress Theme!

    0
  36. 48

    Great! Super Fast! I am sure this will make Google Happy.

    0
  37. 49

    Really love the theme and am testing it on a site at the moment – however I think there’s a bug in the Content Sections on the Home Page sections – while they work very neatly if you set to show three items from a category in a row of three, the “view more” link doesn’t seem to do anything – it cycles through /page/2/ /page/3 etc but each one is the same as the homepage. Setting it to show more than three items just fills up the homepage.

    0
  38. 51

    Would your Frank Theme work with Google Adsense ads?

    What happens to the ads when the theme turns to the mobile verison?

    I’ve spent the extra money for a very fast server, MAXCDN,W3 Total Cache and thousands of dollars on developers. I’ve changed the theme three times after converting from Moveable Type.

    Recently there was a hack/vulnerabity in W3 Total Cache that we beleive made load times go up to as high as 20 seconds. Time to first byte was up to 2 seconds. Updating W3 Total Cache solved the problem but it took me a week to figure out.

    Now SEO guys are telling me if wirelessandmobilenews.com is not under 3 seconds to download, Google won’t send it traffic.

    Wireless and Mobile News can’t survive without ads to pay for the expensive hosting and editor.

    Will you be making a commerical verison of the theme? Will it work with most of the recent plugins?

    0
  39. 52

    the theme is awesome, unfortunately can not be used as menu does not change or site title still remain yours.
    it’s a pity!

    0
  40. 53

    Wow — the comments about this theme are ravishing! Gotta try this one out now!

    0
  41. 54

    tanks for share . i want make this theme

    0
  42. 55

    cooking cake games

    February 25, 2013 11:26 pm

    I was also facing same kind of problem and with the help your blog I got the solution. Thanks to share.

    0
  43. 56

    Excellent theme thank you.

    Been playing with it a bit. One question: Can’t seem to get excerpt to work either by choosing in “reading” or by adding a manual excerpt. Gettign full post on home page either way. I tried this with child theme, frank directrly and someotherdude. Any idea?

    Thanks

    0
  44. 57

    re excerpt – nevermind more tag does this

    1
  45. 58

    I like the theme a lot. And I would never start a new project on a non-responsive theme again! But I would recommend working from frank itself and not somerandomdude because it’s still faster and cleaner in the backend (and easier to understand). next interesting step will be the implementation of plugins …

    0
  46. 59

    Love the theme, exactly what I need. New to WP however, and trying to figure out how to apply ‘Text’ widget in ‘Index Right Aside’ across entire site, rather than only the home page. I’ve tried going through all the options and editing sidebar.php, but still the default ‘About This Site’ and search bar appears in ‘Index Right Aside’ outside of homepage. Any help much appreciated.

    0
  47. 60

    Loved the theme , wanted to know how can I show excerpt on home page instead of full posts.
    I am unable to find any option .

    0
  48. 61

    The link doesn’t work anymore, please upload it somewhere else – it looks fantastic!

    0
  49. 62

    Hello Sir..
    I loved the Theme .. It simple and awesome. However i just wated to ask about the child theme. Even though the Frank theme is installed on the wordpress theme folder, still the child theme is broken and says – “please install the parent theme “Frank”. ANy idea on how i can get rid of this problem or why it may be caused.

    0
  50. 63

    طراحی داخلی

    May 7, 2014 7:53 am

    thanksssssssssss a lot

    0
  51. 64

    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
  52. 65

    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
  53. 66

    sinelogix technologies

    July 25, 2014 11:29 am

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

    0
  54. 67

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

    0

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