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WordPress Theme Development Frameworks

If you build and develop WordPress themes often, you will probably be fed up of all the repetitive code writing, the constantly checking of your mark-up and all you really want to do is focus on the design and the project-specific features. The answer is a WordPress development framework.

A framework is designed to speed up the process of designing and coding a WordPress theme by minimizing your time, and balancing your patience, on WordPress’ back-end code that is repeated within every theme.

Further Reading on SmashingMag: Link

This post is not about finding the best framework, it is about finding the right framework that works for you. If you are an experienced developer then you will probably go for the powerful and feature rich Thematic or Carrington, or if you are a novice, you could try the Whiteboard framework or , even easier, download a stripped out and bare bones blank canvas theme, which you will find at the bottom of the post.

Which would you use?

Thematic – WP Framework Link

Wordpress Framework5

Thematic6 is a highly polished WordPress Theme Framework that is built upon the At first glance, its backend may look daunting and complex, but you will soon realise just how well organised it is and easy to use. Its power is based upon its flexibility and its simple customisation, you would be very hard pushed to find a project you couldn’t use the Thematic WP Framework for.

Thematic Features Link

  • Optional 2 or 3 column layouts.
  • Up to 13 widget ready areas.
  • Modular CSS with pre-packaged resets and basic typography.
  • Fully Search-Engine Optimized.
  • Can be used as it is, or as a blank WordPress theme.
  • Dynamic post and body classes make it a hyper-canvas for CSS artists.
  • Options for multi-author blogs.
  • Great support available from the customisation guide and forums.
  • Child Themes are available for upgrading the theme.

Thematic (child) Themes Link

Thematic uses Child Themes, these are essentially stripped down versions of a full WP theme, that needs the Thematic Framework for functionality. Upon download, Thematic comes packaged with a basic child theme, but you can download many more from the Thematic homepage. Download Thematic Child Themes12.

Below, you will find a small selection of themes available for Thematic.

Acamas Child Theme13

Wordpress Framework14

Second to None Child Theme

Wordpress Framework

Gallery Child Theme15

Wordpress Framework16

Boumatic Child Theme17

Wordpress Framework18

Aether for all Child Theme

Wordpress Framework

To activate a new Child Theme, all you have to do is rename and move the entire folder to the root level of wp-content/themes alongside Thematic and activate the new Thematic Child Theme like any other WordPress theme.

Carrington – The CMS Theme Framework Link

Wordpress Framework19

Being by far the most powerful of all WP frameworks, Carrington20 was built with both developers and end-users in mind, it truly is the complete WordPress package. Upon download, the first time user may be put off by its undoubted complexity and its endless features and options, but don’t be put off. You must persevere with this framework, and when you learn all the ins and outs (with help from its in-depth documentation and forums) you will receive your just rewards, you will see how beneficial, rewarding and time saving Carrington can be. As the tagline goes, it may just be the best thing since you the wheel and sliced bread.

Carrington Features Link

  • Flexible and powerful templating system.
  • Rich, semantic markup.
  • Four ready built themes.
  • Stylish typography.
  • Threaded comments.
  • Page and category navigation menus.
  • AJAX loading of posts in archive lists.
  • AJAX loading of comments.

Carrington Official Themes Link

Carrington Blog
Carrington Blog is an elegant blog-style theme with advanced features like AJAX loading of content, customizable colors and header images, easy addition of analytics code, widgetized sidebars, stylish gallery features, and more. It is designed for bloggers looking for an “out of the box” experience.

Wordpress Framework

Carrington Text
Carrington Text embraces simplicity with this elegant design. Text and content is the focus here – let your content take center stage.

Wordpress Framework

Carrington Mobile
Carrington Mobile is an elegant mobile theme with that supports advanced touch browsers (iPhone, Android, BlackBerry) and is also backward compatible with older mobile devices.

Wordpress Framework

Carrington Jam
Carrington JAM is a bare-bones theme skeleton. It is intended for developers and designers as a starting point for building a new theme, it is not designed for end-users looking for a blog theme that is ready to go.

Theme Hybrid Link

Wordpress Framework23

Theme Hybrid is WordPress Framework developed by Justin Tadlock. As with all Justin’s’ WordPress themes (the excellent Options theme), you know that you are getting a very powerful and versatile backend, but still very easy to use and develop upon. Theme hybrid truly is built with simplicity and power in mind.

The theme club has two types of membership, free and exclusive. Free members can download and use the themes for free and participate in the forums. For $25 you can join the exclusive club, which gives you access to tutorials and you are able to post questions on the support forums.

Theme Hybrid Features Link

  • Advanced action and filter hooks.
  • Child theme support.
  • Each individual child theme is in its self choc-full of features.
  • Search-Engine Optimized.
  • 14 custom page templates.
  • 9 widget-ready areas.
  • Advanced breadcrumb menu.
  • Support for attachment pages.
  • Of course, it has valid code.
  • Threaded comments.
  • Great support, lots of tutorials and forums.

Theme Hybrid Child Themes Link

For all of these themes to work, you will need Hybrid installed first.

Hybrid is a user-friendly, search-engine optimized theme framework, featuring 14 custom page templates and 9 widget-ready areas.

Wordpress Framework29

Life Collage
A purely blogging theme, it has extra widget sections, drop-down menus, with a sleek design.

Wordpress Framework

Hybrid News
This is a free News/Magazine theme, it has extra widget sections, double navigation menus, drop-down menus and a featured post slider.

Wordpress Framework

This theme is clean and spacious, ideal for large images and large posts.

Wordpress Framework

Old School
Old School is versatile enough to be used as either a blog or a magazine/news site, great design as well.

Wordpress Framework

WP Framework Link

Wordpress Framework

WP Framework is a great starting point when first learning about the WordPresses structure and first stepping into theme development as well as for the experienced user for quick development. Under the hood its foundation it is very solid, and this framework will cut down on your theme development time and allow you to focus directly and from the off on project-specific features. WP Framework is completely extensible, flexible and the starting point for theme authoring and customization.

  • WP Framework Homepage.
  • WP Framework Getting Started Guide.
  • WP Framework Forums.
  • WP Framework Downloads.

WP Framework Features Link

  • Microformats Compatabile.
  • Search Engine Optimized.
  • Modular CSS includes reset.css, base.css and screen.css.
  • Gravatar enabled.
  • Favicon & iPhone webclip placeholder images.
  • jQuery enabled and screen.js.
  • Basic print.css stylesheet ready for direct printing.

Buffet Theme Framework Link

Wordpress Framework30

The Buffet Framework31 is a WordPress theme framework designed not only for the theme developers who will be using the theme actions and filters to create child themes, but also for the end users who would be able to add and remove what they want. Like most WordPress theme frameworks, the Buffet Framework utilises WordPress actions and filters to allow theme developers to add additional content without editing the templates files using the child theme concept.

Buffet Theme Features Link

  • Search Engine Optimised.
  • Support for Microformats.
  • jQuery powered comments form, SuperSleight for IE6, Superfish menus and jBreadcrumbs included.
  • Packaged with 960gs and Blueprint CSS.
  • Action & Filter Hooks
  • Allow end-users to enable/disable features using the extensions feature.
  • Localization – fully localized, ready for translation.

Buffet Theme Demo Link

Buffet Theme35

Wordpress Framework36

Whiteboard – WP Theme Framework Link

Wordpress Framework

Whiteboard will never be as powerful as the Carrington framework or the Buffet framework, it has been developed for simpler development requirements. Simply, it has been designed to speed up the process of designing and coding a WordPress theme by eliminating the time spent on WordPress’ back-end PHP that is repeatedly used in every theme. It is clean, noted, and very small, weighing in at 76kb, its amazingly compact.

  • Whiteboard Theme Homepage.
  • Download Whiteboard Theme.

Thesis Theme Link

Wordpress Framework37

The Thesis Theme is a framework that has been built with great typography, a dynamically resizable layout, intelligent code, airtight optimization, and with lots of flexibility that make it versatile enough for most projects. Have a look at this video review of Thesis 1.5.

The WordPress Starter Theme Project Link

Wordpress Framework41

Similar in idea as the Whiteboard framework, The WordPress Starter Theme Project42 was developed for those who hate repeatedly doing the same actions every time you start a new WordPress project. This is a very easy to use framework, which is ideal for the novice to learn the basics of WordPress structure.

Ashford WP Framework Link

Wordpress Framework

Ashford has been built to be as simple as possible to use, it is also packed with many useful and powerful features. You can create and edit content with Adminbar, Hints and Admin-In-Place, choose from dozens of page layouts (including a content carousel), content can also be customized using widgets and multiple sidebars and of course all code validates and is fully SEO.

Ashford, like most frameworks, uses child themes, making it even easier to develop with. Unfortunately, child themes for Ashford are as yet limited.

  • Ashford Homepage.
  • Ashford Support.
  • Ashford Blog.

Sandbox Link

Wordpress Framework44

The seemigly ageless Sandbox45, is a useful tool for WordPress theme designers and developers, it can be easily developed solely with CSS, so beginners will feel comfortable not having to worry about PHP. Experienced developers and designers can accomplish almost anything with minimal work, thanks to the rich, semantic markup and profusion of classes dynamically generated by the Sandbox.

The main feature of the Sandbox, and the feature that has made it very popular, is its markup. The class-generating functions included with the Sandbox create an extensible and semantic XHTML structure. Please note, the Sandbox has only been tested up to WP 2.6.

OnePress Community Link

Wordpress Framework48

The OnePress framework49 is an integrated website and forum solution. It is, simply, a WordPress theme to serve as the foundation and framework for your web site and online community. Leveraging both WordPress and phpBB projects, OnePress provides a set of features focused on helping you build and maintain your site from the inside out.

PSD Framework for Creating WordPress Themes Link

If you have ever found yourself reusing elements from previous designs when starting up Photoshop to create yet another WordPress theme, then this PSD download54 is just for you.

Wordpress Framework55

Homepage and PSD Downloads56

Blank WP Themes Link

Blank themes are not a development framework, as such, they are a blank canvas for quickly and painlessly starting a WordPress project. Below you will find the best of them.

Blank WP from Anna Linea
There are six themes within this download package.

Wordpress Framework

Blank WordPress Themes57 from Refueled
There are three themes available, two-column left sidebar, two-column right sidebar and blank three column.

Wordpress Framework58

WordPress Naked Theme from Siftware

Wordpress Framework

Starkers – Blank Canvas WP Theme59 from Elliot Jay Stocks

Wordpress Framework60

You may be interested in the following related posts:

Footnotes Link

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Paul Andrew is a freelance Web designer. He is chief admin for Speckyboy - Design Magazine, a Web design, Web development and graphic design resource blog.

  1. 1

    Amazing that Hybrid framework is missing from that list. It is probably the biggest after Thematic!

  2. 2

    It is still in development, but my free Ashford parent theme framework can be considered.


  3. 3

    Justin Tadlock

    May 27, 2009 9:33 am

    Thanks to the people in the comments that mention my Hybrid theme framework. I’m surprised that it was left out as well.

  4. 4

    Wait, how is Thesis not included on this list!?

    On top of being a clear frontrunner in WordPress frameworks, but it also has a support community that rivals the best. Shame on you Smashing Mag for not including it!

  5. 5

    You forgot ThemeHibrid. This is what I call poorly done research. #fail

  6. 6

    John Myrstad

    May 27, 2009 10:24 am

    Paul Andrew !!

    I`m surprised that you`re able to list that many frameworks and miss one that should be mentioned on any top 5 framework list.

    Whys isnt Justin Tadlock`s great Hybrid framework included ?

  7. 7

    Lawrence Peddie

    May 27, 2009 6:15 am

    This is great, thanks a lot. I’ve just started doing WordPress themes and have been looking for a framework to help me get through this. This is exactly what I needed!

  8. 8

    abosolutely what i am looking for to improve effectiveness of wp theme design.

  9. 9

    I miss the WordPress Basis Theme from

  10. 10

    These really are great, these frameworks can be a lifesaver when dealing with a client that has really high functionality dreams with a really low budget. Thanks again for the great post.
    Scott Wickberg

  11. 11

    That’s really helpful post for all WP fans,.. thanks for great post, really!

  12. 12

    bit of a whack post smashing. Step your game up.

  13. 13

    Right on time! Developing my first themes. Thanks :D

  14. 14

    Due to my lack of good English speaking, I dont understand what is a “framework”. Is it a kind of program that manages a wordpress stuff, like Dreamweaver with html pages ?

    • 15

      Sumeet Chawla

      June 6, 2010 1:07 pm

      Nope, framework is like a pre-made skeleton of what you are going to make. It just fastens the whole process. For example, if you bake a cake, you would start from the bottom. As in, make the batter, add eggs, baking soda etc. But then again there are ready made cake mixes available out there. With those, all you have to do is, add butter and just bake :) So Ready made cake mixes are like frameworks for Cakes in the similar manner, these are frameworks for baking a wordpress theme ^_^

      *Nice Post Btw*

  15. 16

    Dusan Vlahovic

    May 27, 2009 7:23 am

    Right just when i was about to build my personal theme, thanks!

  16. 17

    Morning Toast

    May 27, 2009 7:27 am

    Thanks for all the resource links, good stuff to try! But this always happens…I spend time tweaking a found theme b/c I don’t want to spend time building my own and *then* I find this article. Back to the drawing board!! ;)

  17. 18

    Helpful summary of the key features of these. Thinking of revisiting Buffet & Carrington, based on their end-user focus.

    I have to concur with #8 (@hd-j) – surprised that Hybrid (as well as Thesis) was conspicuously missing from this list. Also think Alister Cameron’s “vanilla” is worth a mention here as well.

    That said – I still enjoyed the post :-)

  18. 19

    Anton Shevchuk

    May 27, 2009 7:31 am

    Free WordPress Theme/Framework – Constructor –

  19. 20

    Great and very useful. Thanks!

  20. 21

    Juarez P. A. Filho

    May 27, 2009 7:40 am

    Here we go study more WordPress stuffs :) Thanks.

  21. 22

    I have the Carrington Blog on my personal site and it has it’s positives and negatives. First and foremost, it is a great theme. The only part I don’t like is the file structure. It can’t be easily edited in the WP editor so if I want to make changes, I have to go through the process of getting the code, changing it, testing locally, then re-uploading. What a pain.

  22. 23

    Leon Paternoster

    May 27, 2009 7:50 am

    I think it’s quite easy to start from scratch with WP, especially after you’ve knocked together a couple of themes. I do find I copy and paste my own code snippets a lot. The only problem is that doesn’t like themes that deviate from the ‘core’ coding, so it can be hard getting to upload them to (and deviating from the standard blog design).

    Any theme can serve as a framework when you use child themes.

  23. 24

    Love the post and the ongoing content you provide.

    How did you miss one of the big ones??
    ThemeHybrid is a heavy hitter when it comes to WordPress Theme Frameworks. There are a growing number of child themes available including the latest – Life Collage.

    I’d love to see this post revised or revisited in the very near future with this inclusion!!

    Keep up the good work.

  24. 25


    May 27, 2009 8:05 am

    +1 for the surprised that Hybrid isn’t on the list. But I do love Thematic.

  25. 26

    Gallery Child Theme is the best!
    Great and thanks!

  26. 27

    Great listing of available frameworks!

  27. 28

    Wow! This is a post that’s long overdue. That’s not a criticism, but a wake-up call to thousands of WP developers who are starting from scratch with a blank theme.

    Honestly, I’ve started with a blank theme so many times, but I don’t exlusively build on top – I remove too. So, in essence, it feels like I’m hacking a blank theme as much as if I’d started with something more specific.

    I discovered the Thematic framework about three months ago, and I found it to be a revelation. Having spent so much time hacking things, I found its simplicity an absolute joy. No more time with lots of files, I simply overrode anything I needed to customise.

    Fantastic article.

  28. 29

    ah, thank you guys so much! This is exactly what I needed to get my WP blog up. Templates are too complicated to work from, and building from complete scratch is a bit daunting. I LOVE you Smashing :P

  29. 30

    The net’s setting out to be one giant plug and play world. Thanks to great frameworks like this…

  30. 31

    I’m a little confused as to the inclusion of blank themes? Was this not a post for frameworks which is what the first few were for? is another WordPress framework that is exceptional, and should have been added to this list as well.

    Starker, and the few other blank themes are hardly “frameworks.” They’re simply cleaned up/blank themes to get started using.

  31. 32

    SM you did it again :) again saved my life (with this usefull themes)

  32. 33

    Michael Langham

    May 27, 2009 10:42 am

    As this is somewhat a post intended for the ‘newer user’, I’d like to suggest a peek as well to Atahualpa Atahualpa

    It’s a template that allows for extreme customization from either side of the fence. Predominately from the admin area, with over 200 things to adjust if need be.

    Please correct if I’m wrong however. Just felt it deserved a mention.

  33. 34

    Ainhoa Vega

    May 27, 2009 11:03 am

    +1 on the hybrid framework!

  34. 35

    Thomas Clausen

    May 27, 2009 11:10 am

    Man it’s weird that you don’t mention Justins theme framework is fantastic and well thought through.

    It’s a nice article, but better research would be nice.

  35. 36

    Chris Robinson

    May 27, 2009 11:52 am

    just say no to frameworks…

  36. 37

    This is an excellent list, thanks for the compilation. We do, however, find ourselves wondering with Jamie how the Thesis framework/theme did not make the cut.

    Still, any “best-of” leaves someone in the cold. The fact others have mentioned Thesis and Hybrid in the comments may expand considerations for next time!

  37. 38

    I agree that Hybridtheme should be included. Maybe SM didn’t included it because is so well known?
    Unlike the frameworks featured here, DIY Thesis doesn’t claim to be a framework and it’s paid, maybe that’s why it hasn’t been included.
    Nice list, I wasn’t familiar with the Buffet and Whiteboard frameworks, they both look promising on their fields.
    Starkers is a fine theme for starters, I built my current site <a href=””ilovecolors on top of Starkers and since it is so empty, it gives you an easy & clean view of the WordPress structure. I wouldn’t use Starkers now, instead I would go with Carrington or Hybrid, but for a kickstart it was very good. I will always remember the Starkers theme :)

  38. 39

    @Chris – care to elaborate? I assume you’re not saying ‘no’ to wordpress, since it is a framework of sorts itself, no?

    Perhaps you’re saying no to frameworks that make it easier to build on top of wordpress and deliver the sort of sites that clients are looking for.

    Any comments?

  39. 40

    @Chris I think that’s a very narrow minded statement. Clicking your name and checking out your site made it clear why you would make such a comment. These frameworks put the power in the hands of the consumer rather than those of you designing and charging for premium themes.

  40. 41

    use starkers myself and build from scratch. seem’s to be easier than mucking around with other themes or frameworks which interfere.

  41. 42

    I usually go with K2 and chop it up from there. This is my current blog and I’m nerdily proud of the fact that I don’t think many people would recognize it as K2.

  42. 43

    I’ve never seen the Carrington Framework until now, will definitely check it out, thanks SM.

  43. 44

    You should really take a look at

    Those themes use a framework mixed with MVC (much like CakePHP), what makes them incredible flexible and reliable.

    They are for sale, but I think there are some free coupons over the web.

  44. 45

    Dali Burgado

    May 27, 2009 6:05 pm

    This came in at the perfect time! Found it on Twitter. Thanks so much. I’ve been having fun with Sandbox this week. :-) Looking forward to messing with some of the others ones here.

    I appreciate you.
    Dali Burgado

  45. 46

    Another plus one for Hybrid one of the true frameworks. FYI Thesis is not a framework – although a nice theme for sure. Justin’s support is really unbelievable.

    Update the post!

  46. 47

    simply amazing. this post is so timely Thank SM :)

  47. 48

    Derek Perkins

    May 27, 2009 8:42 pm

    I just wanted to put in another plug for Hybrid at I’ve built many websites on the framework and it is fantastic.

  48. 49

    Sick post, exactly what i was looking for!

  49. 50

    Dhaval Jani

    May 27, 2009 11:08 pm

    I agree with previous comments!!! How can you forget Justin Tadlock’s Hybrid Framework
    and it has 2 great child themes 1) old school and 2) life college

  50. 51

    +1 for Hybrid. I looked around for a long time before I settled on it. Top-notch framework and brilliant support too. How did you miss that one?

  51. 52

    More DRUPAL Articles please ! please O please

  52. 53

    Thesis doesn’t claim to be a Framework, but it definitely is. I switched from Thematic to Thesis and love the all the extra flexibility I get. All the similar hooks are there, plus very robust admin-side control panels for setting up the skeleton design settings and SEO.

  53. 54

    Smashing Magazine is hands down the most valuable blog on the web. Thank you for posts like these and the other thousands that are useful and relevant.

  54. 55

    Another Theme for start with small syntax: WP Basis

  55. 56

    Azhar Madia

    May 28, 2009 6:59 pm

    Nice timing! I’m about to revamp my current blog theme.

    Although actually I’m more drawn to Hybrid Theme after reading all the comments :-D

    Good article anyway!

  56. 57

    Matt Langford

    May 28, 2009 10:41 pm

    How can THESIS not be listed in there? You kidding me?

  57. 58

    another day – another great article, good job folks

  58. 59

    …and if you want to get all experimental with HTML5, WAI-ARIA and microformats support you can take a look at Brave New World based off the Starkers theme.

  59. 60

    Very helpful article – thanks!

    I do agree with others that including comparisons with Thesis & Hybrid would’ve been great! Maybe in the future??

  60. 61

    Daniel Matthews

    May 29, 2009 4:39 pm

    Does anyone know of any good websites that teach you the basics of creating wordpress themes?? … I’m just getting into it.

  61. 62

    I’m a huge fan of Hybrid. I paid the $25 for a year subscription to the forums and it is by far the best blog-related purchase I’ve ever made. Justin Tadlock is extremely responsive, and when I have a question he responds quickly…sometimes within an hour. Do not start your wordpress theme without at least visiting

  62. 63

    A framework is a free starting point. Thesis does NOT belong on this list imo. Yet, I’m pleased to see Thematic and Hybrid taking center stage!

  63. 64

    I think there’s a mistake on the Thematic Theme description. It is not based on It’s CSS structure is instead based on Sandbox.

  64. 65

    @Aaron : Thesis offers an alternative “minimal” stylesheet as a free starting point. Straight from the default theme description: “A website framework so flexible and extensible that you will never have to change your theme again. Seriously.”

  65. 66

    Carrington Text looks good, going to give it a go

  66. 67

    Dhaval Jani

    May 30, 2009 2:42 pm

    yay!!! Thanks for adding Hybrid framework to the list…

  67. 68

    I’m a big fan of Thematic, which I use on my personal site, but the latest update isn’t compatible with my child theme, so I haven’t upgraded yet. Thesis is gorgeous and if I were into buying themes, that’s the one I would buy. I’m also using Hybrid for another site, which I like less, because I have to pay to get help in the forums, unlike with Thematic.

  68. 69

    John Myrstad

    May 31, 2009 5:46 am


    You may use Hybrid totally free including its child themes in the true spirit of open source. You say you don`t like Hybrid less because you have to pay to get access to the forums.

    Well the club membership which gives you access to lots of tutorials/documentation and support in the support forum is just $25, and Justin Tadlock gives advice in the forum on a daily/hourly basis.

    You would go with Thesis you say if you were to buy. The cost of a Thesis and support board access without a Thesis without credit in the footer is $164.00 and you don`t have a chance to test the theme before buying, as you may with Hybrid and the other true WordPress theme frameworks listed in the article.

    I have payed my $25 to access Hybrid Club and the support level is the best I have experienced in WordPress theme clubs/support models. Much better than in clubs where I have paid $140, but ended up with support board staff wanting $125 an hour to answer questions of the same nature as Justin answers for the $25 support club fee.

  69. 71

    It’s good that SM put up this post

    ,making it easy for web developers to realize how important
    and powerful of the framework,

    Seem to me, all the wp frameworks are already in this post.

    As for me, I go with ThemeHybrid.

    The benefit of using ThemeHybrid ( developed by Justin Tadlock ) is that
    you will never have to worry about the upgrade issue,
    he is always one or two steps ahead.

    To support my say, here is a few evidences.

    The new body_class function had been used by “hybrid” since version 0.5.1
    ( the current version is hybrid 0.6 beta and will be official when wp2.8 is out.)

    Justin Tadlock wrote a complete tutorial on how to work with widget coding
    which is a new feature in wordpress version 2.8 while the wordpress2.8
    official release is not even happen yet.
    (the post in in his personal blog

    This should be enough to illustrate my point.

    The idea of using theme framework is great (really great)
    for people in the industry since we don’t have to invest our time
    over and over on different projects, instade we do it one time
    with the right framework and just start improvising on it.

    The only question is “what is the right framework?”


  70. 72

    Hybrid really rocks, it’s a must have in your WP arsenal.

    Thesis, lol are you serious? I found it utterly horrible to work with, and to put it bluntly i’m sick of seeing the damn thing everywhere i go. The authors claims about being “The best SEO Theme” are simply BS there’s several that are far superior.

  71. 73

    ok, enough “Hybrid” comment spamming this post already. please? we heard you.

  72. 74

    John Myrstad

    June 1, 2009 2:26 am

    @ jinx.

    Most of the comments about Hybrid is made before the article was updated including Hybrid and is not comment spam but informative feedback from the community.


    I`d like to see this topic revisited at some time from Smashing Magazine editors, maybe with a more in-depth article about what a WordPress theme framework really is – the pros and cons and in-depth reviews of the available true WordPress theme frameworks, including documentation which is essential when developing upon a theme framework.

    The feature-rich settings customizable commercial non-frameworks themes like Thesis, WP-Unlimited, WP-Remix etc may also be a nice topic for a true review looking beyond the marketing texts.

  73. 75


  74. 76

    John Myrstad

    June 4, 2009 4:18 am

    The readers of this article may find a comparison between the true frameworks Hybrid, Thematic and Carrington, written by Dan Cole, and published on WPTavern interesting:

    The comparison is presented in a table looking into 35 features of the frameworks.

  75. 77

    Jake Goldman

    June 8, 2009 5:27 am

    Wow, pretty impressive. Amazing when relatively young content platforms like WordPress actually get frameworks built on top of them.

    We just did an article providing some power tips for WordPress template developers that readers here might be interested in.

  76. 78


    You have done a great job with this post, i really like and i found my favorite wordpress theme here and i have applied on my site

    Best Regards,

  77. 79

    Frameworks and themes may be fully delineated on developers’ blog here and there, but the true beauty of this combination is lost for many non-professional coders. This article helped pull together some pieces that were strewn between a dozen or so sites; those tidbits don’t obviously connect without the help of this road map. The “hybrid” or “theme on framework” concept needs to be further proliferated to the mass WP users. (Altho, I do agree with Martin’s assessment of Thesis; it’s everywhere, but nowhere.)

    My enthusiasm comes from the quality of Tadlock’s work that allows the normal WordPress blogging limitation to transcend into a full scale a website. Just what the Doktor ordered!

    I found Ashford to be an enticing theme/concept, but as stated in the article, lacking in organized forward moving development. I hope the author pushes onward; there is good potential not yet fully realized.

    This topic should get an annual review by SmashM. I am curious to see what the copycats will do with this small niche within WP.

  78. 80

    As always I can come to smashingmagazine and with a simple search find exactly what I’m looking for. Googling blank wordpress themes gives you a bazillion sites, but you guys narrow it down to a few good ones.

  79. 81
  80. 82

    So which one do I choose? Thanks for showing that there are many options to choose from. Any chance someone could/has done a feature comparison, or provide details on which framework is more ideal for certain types of projects? Now that would be great.

  81. 84

    I have not used any frameworks for theme development so far , but can try as I read this article . Hope i can serve more clients :-)

  82. 85

    This is such an amazing list! Great references, I’m going to bookmark your site and come back often. Thanks!

  83. 86

    It’s time to update the post, isn’t it?

  84. 87

    I’d also love to see the inimitable Smashing Magazine provide a new post on this topic – with a bit of a side-by-side comparison included (blank theme against blank, commercial framework again commercial, free against free etc.). With so many to choose from and a bit of a learning curve involved for each – I’d love to hear which ones are worth the time and potentially the costs involved at the start.

    Thank you!

  85. 88

    Surprisee Dude , i love with ur site.

  86. 89

    jonathan soroko

    September 28, 2010 9:30 am

    Excellent post – – the fact that I was familiar with several made the new ones that much more interesting – even those in the comments. I urge that in future posts you consider Justin Tadlock’s themes, and also Eric Hamm’s Frugal system []

  87. 90

    I also have a site that used to be based on hybrid. Gave that up last year bcs of some bugs and lack of time to fix them on my own. Now after improvements I’ll get it back asap.

  88. 91

    Chris Raymond

    January 25, 2011 8:07 am

    I used Thematic for a site at my workplace, and I am puzzled as to how exactly it is based on the framework? Its default “column” widths and container widths don’t seem to correspond to the 960 grid dimensions as best as I can see.

  89. 94

    Adrian Florescu

    February 16, 2011 4:44 pm

    Last but not least is great! I use this every time I have a wordpress blog or website to build!

    Thank you Smashing for all the resources here! WordPress rocks!

  90. 95

    Kary Ockerman

    May 19, 2011 7:47 am

    It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d most certainly donate to this superb blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to new updates and will share this website with my Facebook group. Chat soon!

  91. 96


    There is new WordPress Theme Framework launched called rtPanel. It offers standard codes for developers to build awesome themes. Not just that it also offers Free Technical Support for developers.
    To know more visit:

  92. 97

    About three years ago as a collaboration between developers we started building a framework which we’ve released as K9 Canvas by Howling Dog Themes. We built it because we wanted something that cut our development time on client sites, but didn’t force us to pump out sites that looked like, just another WordPress site. About a year ago we realized that with some additional polish we could release it commercially. The polish took a little longer than we expected as always happens when you want something to be rock solid.

    It’s now available at

  93. 98

    You know i dont usual comment, but i actually like your blog and i thought i would introduce myself. I have been reading it for awhile but this is my initial comment.

  94. 99

    Agnel Waghela

    June 11, 2012 6:33 am

    Hey Please Update the download link to Thematic Framework.. A new version is available..

  95. 100

    Awesome List, though am not sure if any of those provide a modern and professional theme admin options panel. I recently developed one for my personal use but now have released it under GPL/MIT. Hope this one gets to the list above one day.


  96. 101

    i like smashing press quite a bit, and have bought and used many of their books and ebooks. however this post is obviously missing the thoroughness i would have expected to come from sb.
    missing in action were pagelines, catalyst, headway , genesis , thesis 2.0, elegant themes etc. I appreciated the effort, but for good posts to stay alive give more unique and unbiased and thorough information.


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