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WordPress Frameworks

  • # November 20, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    Hello All,

    I am opening this thread about WordPress Frameworks, and people’s sucessesspraise and doubtsbashing on them. Of course, there are several out there, among the most popular being Thematic, Carrington and Hybrid.

    At the time of this post, I’ve tried all three, and seem to like Hybrid the best. In learning it, I haven’t read much of the documentation, just went right ahead developing my own child themes. I’ve tried Hybrid the last of the three, and again, seem to like it the most. Now, pro-framework users will say that wow, it’s amazing. Others say its bloated. (These are for frameworks in general)

    I’m not sure where I stand, having already made several wordpress sites with Starkers, it does seem like its alot. And, I’m used to filling anything else I need in starkers with adding my own custom codepage templates and adding in plugins. Now, there is supposed to be a wealth of advantages for using these frameworks, and believe me, I’ve googled this topic.

    I guess is what I’m trying to say, because of a frameworks expandability, use for every kind of project, etc(especially Hybrid it seems) should I stick with it? Or just go back to my old ways of buffing up Starkers into my own theme? It just seems that with Hybrid, there are a zillion options, and I’m barely using any of them?

    I should note that I don’t use any of the premium themes, for free or not. I’ve only tried developing with the barebones or "skeleton" themes that these frameworks offer, as I’m interested in developing my own themes, not modifying 2-3 css tags and calling it my own work.

    Thoughts on this please… Chris, I’d especially like to know your take on this seeing as how it seems your projects are getting more and more complex. Thanks everyone!

    # November 20, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    I would have to say that in the long run, I tend to abandon frameworks just for the self satisfaction of knowing I coded the theme (or at least 95% of it) myself. With that said, I don’t see any reason to re-invent the wheel. Somebody was obviously kind enough to flesh out and debug something like the Hybrid Framework for contribution to the community…so why not use it? I would have to say that Frameworks are only good if you’re good enough at coding to design a theme yourself. Otherwise, they can become a crutch and limit your abilities in the long run.

    So for myself, I just use frameworks when the project calls for it. I’m not too proud to admit it and I would think anybody that looks down upon frameworks is a bit elitist and perhaps hypocritical, considering at some point, you’re always using someone else’s work somewhere in the project. It would akin to telling a musician he’s not a musician for using a Jazz standard as a launching point for their inspiration to create a piece of music.

    And thanks for the mention of Hybrid, I never heard of it. I’m attempting to build a very ambitious wordpress site and think this is the exact answer I’m looking for!

    # November 20, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    I guess because I can’t quite harness the awesome power that is a framework, I don’t understand and can’t see the full potentialreason to use one. I’m using Hybrid now on my company’s redesign, and I’m just make my own page templates so far. using a couple functions, but thats it really. And the function was only done just to use a non submenu wp_list_pages. I know the idea is to just use the functions so you dont mess up the framework files and your own theme files when you upgrade the framework, but it seems like its even more code to write in there….

    Maybe I need to look to a less intense Framework? The thing that keeps pulling me back is that all the framework websites say how "this is just so amazing, and once you get past the learning curve, you’ll never turn back" sort of thing. Well, it seems I was fairing fine without one before… Maybe the answer is just to create me own simple framework based off Starkers or something?

    # November 20, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    Pardon my noobishness with this question, but by frameworks you mean like a pre-template to build on?

    If that’s so, I’ve found that starting from scratch or using Starkers for a base that contains zero formatting whatsoever is by far the best way to go. It took some getting used to, but I think using templates in general restricts your control over too many elements.

    # November 20, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    Well, the word "frameworks" can be vastly interpreted… Starkers can technically be called a framework because its something to build around a pre-existing "frame." And I have quite a bit of experience working with Starkers… it wasn’t until a week ago, that I started looking into the larger, more complex "frameworks" These frameworks, like Carrington, Hybrid, and Thematic, are used as Parent themes, and have tons of hooks, widget areas, etc. Now, its learning how the framework operates, and making your own child theme starting from a barebone theme offered by relative framework, that is the learning curve. Simply because someone has said "You can take route 1-20"… With Starkers, you are pretty much told "You are at the starting point, and there are no routes.. You create your one route."

    That’s the best analogy I can come up with differentiating the two. Starkers isn’t really a parent theme, although it could be technically.

    Anyhow, I’ll stick with Hybrid for another week, I really only started working with it yesterday. I’m learning more about the child functions and the hooks, so now I have a better understanding of the overall possibilities.. nearly endless. The question I guess is, is that too much? And, would it be more beneficial just to continue using starkers and just create your own custom template pages and css. So far, I think I’m working in the middle… not taking a finished child theme and altering it(again, change 2-3 images and its your design? No thanks.) but using the "Skeleton" theme from Hybrid, which is somewhat like Starkers in that its stripped… of content and style.

    # November 20, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    I have yet to use a WP framework.

    I build out the HTML pages, and then bit by bit convert it into WP. I know the frameworks are there to help, but I find using any type of frame work is restricting and puts me in the wrong mindset. Same reason why I don’t use any CSS frameworks.

    # November 20, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    Well, you’d do the same with these frameworks.. as each of the three mentioned above, Hybrid, Thematic, and Carrington, all have "bare-bone" themes to start with.

    Here’s my thoughts after I was able to spend a couple hours away from the computer… For me personally, I may be just going back to Starkers. It works fine for me, and as today is proof, I spent more time trying to figure out the frameworks, then some things just weren’t out correctly, and the way it was, wasn’t even using the power of the frameworks, but I technique I’ve used for a while with plain ole starkers. So, it makes me wonder, why even have the framework? Now, before I give up, I’ll be giving thematic another whirl, and look at Carrington again as well. However, I bet I won’t use either, and just get back to making my design work on wordpress and adding functionality through custom page templates and plugins. Maybe eventually I can evolve Starkers into my own little framework that works for me. But thats the other problem too.. Every website is different. Just like you don’t using a CSS framework because you want complete control, thats how I feel with the framework after tinkering around with it for almost 2 days. Maybe I’m doing everything incorrectly? Hybrid is hard, because to get proper support, you need to pay for it. Well, I don’t feel like paying for something up front when I can possibly learn it just from the WordPress codex, or get the same result, with well documented, and free, support pages from Thematic. We’ll see.

    Just, after spending hours to get my new project not even looking the way I want it to, and taking forever for the layout to work correctly with the widgets.. Forget it. I’ll just go back to my simple one bar widget and custom field template. If I need a second widget area, I’ll make it myself and know exactly where its going to wind up.

    Blah.

    # November 20, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    I didn’t even know WP frameworks existed… I guess I’ll have to look into them.

    "TheDoc" wrote:
    I have yet to use a WP framework.

    I build out the HTML pages, and then bit by bit convert it into WP. I know the frameworks are there to help, but I find using any type of frame work is restricting and puts me in the wrong mindset. Same reason why I don’t use any CSS frameworks.

    Well said. I’ll have to ditto that (except the part about knowing frameworks are there…)

    # November 26, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    Right now, all I have to say is that I just haven’t dealt with them enough to have a good enough of an understanding of them to have a solid opinion.

    I’ve tried using them a couple times and ultimately became frustrated and gave up and started from a blank slate. I wasn’t liking how everything was abstracted away into their way of doing things instead of the ways I already knew. This was somewhat my fault for not learning enough about them to perhaps understand that they already had an easier method in place (perhaps).

    I think a lot of the benefits of using them relate to putting more control into the Admin area through advanced widgetry and theme options. So if those things solve particular problems for you, they can be of benefit. Although if you are already fairly good at working with WordPress (where I feel I am), I don’t really need the help.

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