3 Responses

  1. Chris Happens » Blog Archive » Framework for WordPress Theme
  2. Ian
    Ian Published |

    i made it to the end do i get a xmas present for reading it all ?

    best of luck to you for the future i do enjoy reading your thoughts and comments…

    and a happy new year to boot..

  3. Ian
    Ian Published |

    shoot i do love your sites…

  4. Small Potato
    Small Potato Published |

    @Justin – I didn’t think the old school theme could work with HF (hybrid framework), but you made it work. Now, I’m waiting on Life Collage so stop writing filler posts and release LC already.

    @Ian – Update themeshaper.com damnit!


    Happy new year to both. I’m actually going to miss the upcoming new year because my flight to vietnam is on dec 31. I’m going there to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Afterward, I’ll work on some new designs for Hybrid and Thematic if you guys are open to collab.

  5. demetris
    demetris Published |

    “The number one focus should be on the theme user’s content.”

    I absolutely agree, and I find that this is where many themes fail. Often, it seems that the no. 1 focus is showcasing the graphical skills of the designer. 🙂

    “Are theme frameworks only good for developers?”

    I agree again. The only feature in this concept that can be said to be more useful to developers than to the average WP user is the template overriding introduced in v. 2.7.


    If you override templates of the parent framework, it would be a good idea to try to keep track of changes in the overriden templates from version to version. A developer who uses a framework to build sites professionally would do that anyway, I think, but for someone using a framework just for a personal site it would be too much of a hassle.

    Other than that, child themes and parent frameworks (or, for that matter, good themes that work well as parent themes) are one of the most useful features of WordPress for *everyone*.

    You can do anything with this combination, from adding a couple of lines to the child stylesheet to change a font, or a couple of lines to functions.php to insert something extra, to completely changing the look of a site.

    All that without having to worry about changes in the main theme. You forget about it and you just enjoy the perfect upgradability and all the improvements of the parent theme from version to version. 🙂

    PS. I may take that nice line and add it to the tutorial’s page. 😀 Thanks.

    PS 2. This child theme looks *very* good on justintadlock.com!

    PS 3. Another interesting framework is Carrington, but Carrington is mainly for developers. (Its description says so.)

  6. John
    John Published |

    Excellent post on theme frameworks, Justin, especially for the unconverted. The more I play with Hybrid child theme designs the more I like it.

    I had previously hard-coded your old themes and then of course was unable to update them with your newer releases, without a mountain of re-working.

    Keep up the good work and have a great Christmas and New Year.

  7. Alister Cameron // Blogologist
    Alister Cameron // Blogologist Published |

    Great post, Justin.

    When you see my Wordcamp presentation – when it eventually is posted online – you’ll see how similar your points are to mine!!

    However, I would make a plea to avoid the terms “framework”. It’s too highfalutin for me and I’m much more satisfied with the terms “base theme”. The latter says as much as needs to be said, and no more. The term “framework” makes the whole thing very obscure and overcomplicates something that is actually quite simple.

    Hope you’re having a great Christmas, buddy!


  8. Arun
    Arun Published |

    great post, justin.

    But honestly I have to agree here for what jeff said in twitter.I agree with some of the list of things you point out as user benefits.

    But I think the end user should get more choices in selecting different layouts and designs with the help of child themes and not to choose them to get new functionality or features that doesn’t exist in base theme.

    for example, In the case of hybrid, if the end user wants to have a featured gallery , you are forcing him to use the “old school” child theme where he should change his front page to a static page to enjoy all the benifits of that showcase template included in it.

    As an end user, i want that featured gallery, showcase template and all other features you are going to introduce in feature should be in the default hybrid theme and we can have different layout like oldschool and leviathan from the child themes to choose…

    so that, the person who wants a specific feature like a featured gallery or a tabs widget or a post section can switch on them,if we doesn’t want them we can turn it off.but that should be done irrespective of the layout you are using(it may be the base theme hybrid or child themes such as oldschool or leviathan).

  9. Small Potato
    Small Potato Published |

    @Arun – Frameworks or base themes are supposed to be the starting points for their niches. Don’t expect one framework/base theme to meet all needs. That’s why there are different frameworks / base themes for galleries, portfolios, magazine, and etc. At some point, the developer has to stop and filter out the non-essentials.

  10. Arun
    Arun Published |

    @small potato
    I am not talking about any niches such as gallery theme, portfolio theme or magazine theme etc..I just talking about just the showcase template (it is not related to any niches) he added in oldschool…what if want that showcase template along with the simple look of base theme hybrid or the child theme leviathan.If the showcase template is present in the hybrid base theme i can easily use it on with hybrid or leviathan.but it is not….

  11. Soean
    Soean Published |

    Another concept of a WordPress Theme Framework from germany you can see in this first video. http://dynamicinternet.eu/blog/2008-12-01/wie-baut-man-2-blogs-in-7-minuten
    Its just under development…

  12. Today’s Delicious links - 26/12 | Links | WereWP
  13. Small Potato
    Small Potato Published |

    @Arun – That’s what I was trying to get at. You can’t keep on adding features to the base theme if it doesn’t make sense for that framework’s niche.

  14. WordPress Themes: Start With a Solid Framework « Lorelle on WordPress
  15. BoltClock
    BoltClock Published |

    Wow. You sure are devoted to theme frameworks. Perhaps Potassium, my Sandbox design, deserves more of my love…

    I should try to cook up a child theme for Hybrid too! It looks interesting, but I haven’t downloaded and tried it out yet.

  16. Arun
    Arun Published |

    @small potato
    “it doesn’t make sense for that framework’s niche” – are you telling me that justin is making this hybrid theme for just a specific niche ?.

    I don’t think so!..

    With the help of just the templates what he added in hybrid,we can create sites for any niches..I don’t think,adding a another single template to the already existing 13 templates is not that hard.If you guys are not adding it, as an user, i can assume that you are finding it hard to style that one(showcase template) for all the child themes to come.

    guys i dont want quarrel anymore…I always respect all the time, effort, work and creativity you guys put together for themes and wordpress…If my words are hurting somebody ,i am sorry.

    I just telling you guys what i think (as an user).The one reason i am feeling sad because ,i don’t know why you guys are accepting or seeing a point in the view of developer and not in a way the user thinks.

    if you think or tell me that i am wrong,but say the users(community) are going to benefit from frameworks,then

    i just say one thing…
    Run the below as an open poll to the readers in themehybrid.
    Do you want the showcase template in the base theme hybrid? yes or no.
    Do you want all the features of options in hybrid ? yes or no.

    I can say most of the users will answer yes to both question.Eventhough i know that the latter is not possible ,the people are asking for it until now.That’s because justin shows the world what can be done in a wordpress theme through “options” and “structure”.

    so that the people are interested in seeing all of them in hybrid (after justin says that “Hybrid is the future”).But i will not tell that people dislike child themes.As justin says “most” of the users (including me) are already in the child themes bandwagon but still they dont want to loose the features of options theme…

  17. dinu
    dinu Published |

    where is your search box ?

  18. Arun
    Arun Published |

    May be,you should be an exclusive member to find that search box.Just kidding.

  19. Small Potato
    Small Potato Published |

    @Arun – You didn’t quote the complete point I was trying to make. I’m not just talking about the showcase template. What I’m saying is no one theme will be the end-all theme. If you keep adding more and more features then you end up with bloat. For example, the Options theme got to a point where it was too much for the users to keep up with.

    No one wants to style 50 different templates or 100 features even if there are already 13 templates. That’s why I think every framework should focus on flexibility for its niche, not try to be the end all theme to satisfy every feature request. On the other hand for Hybrid, if enough people ask for the showcase feature to be included with the base theme and if it makes sense for Justin to add it to the base theme because it’s along the lines of what he’s trying to accomplish with Hybrid, then you’ll eventually see the showcase feature in the base theme.

    It’s the same thing WordPress itself is doing. It extends itself through plugins. When a plugin gets popular enough, the developers add it to the WordPress core files. However, they don’t add just any popular plugin. Whatever they add has to make sense for other users too.

  20. Nick
    Nick Published |

    I’ve really liked digging into making custom WordPress themes in the last few months and I can see how frameworks can give you a big head-start on a new theme project. So I’ve decided to try out a framework for my next WordPress project.

    I looked at Sandbox and that was the first time I saw the concept of “child themes”. The WordPress codex has very little information about them. There are only a couple of out-of-date paragraphs on this page:

    Demetris’ page http://op111.net/p53 has a link to a blog http://extralogical.net/2008/08/theme-inheritance/ that says child themes can now (in WordPress 2.7) add new php files or override any of the template php files which sounds great for someone like me that doesn’t want to have to muck around with functions.php. I don’t see any mention of this feature at all in the version 2.7 update notes though– http://codex.wordpress.org/Version_2.7

    Now, my question is which theme framework should I use? I’ve already spent a good amount of time looking at the added css and features of Sandbox. So what’s better or different about Hybrid or Thematic? I suppose it’s similar to asking whether you should use jQuery, Dojo, or Mootools, etc… but I’d really like to get started on my work (since I’m running behind as always) without spending several days learning all the ins and outs and advantages of each theme framework. I really do love learning everything I can about themes and WordPress coding but unfortunately I don’t always have the time.

  21. dinu
    dinu Published |

    looking at the way you have replied to these comments, I see something new being added to themes 😀 correct ?

    and …. I am using hybrid lab version now …. no issues so far .. 🙂

  22. Arun
    Arun Published |

    wishing you an advance happy new year Justin and feel sad to know you cut your fingers.how’s your finger now ?

    I am eagerly waiting for all the new themes and plugins(if any) that you are going to release the coming year.

  23. Arun
    Arun Published |

    Great to know that your fingers are healing up and also plenty of themes coming up on the next year.since you are discontinuing options, structure and visionary, what about the new themes coming up?

    1.Are all the themes will be child themes of hybrid ?

    2. if you are going to release individual themes other than the hybrid child themes ,then, can you tell me which we can expect more?

    3. Do you have any other idea of creating another framework or another base theme such as hybrid ?

  24. Parent/Child Themes in WordPress: The Future of WordPress Themes « Lorelle on WordPress
  25. Ian Stewart
    Ian Stewart Published |

    @Small Potato: Update braintied.com dammit! 😉

  26. jonathan soroko
    jonathan soroko Published |

    I’m a big fan of the work of several of the people in this discussion – and paid-up member of the Stewart and Tadlock posses. You guys are amazing – I’ve said to and about Ian that at times he channels Edward Tufte for clarity.

    I’d now like to embarass myself – but perhaps represent a segment of the combined/overlapping communities – and say that even with these briliant frameworks (and I think I prefer Alister’s “base” or Ian’s “parent”) – they’re not always easy – even for those of us who RTFM.

    An hypothesis: if we (you guys) keep producing brilliant frameworks – capable of increasingly amazing things – the instructional/explanatory infrastructure has to keep up with it.

    And perhaps beta-test features with relatively unskilled users – I’m eminently qualified as an UNqualified user – I’d volunteer.

    [I’ve omitted examples because I don’t have any interest in hurting anyone’s feelings – and the fact is that ALL of you produce beautiful, functional work. ]

    That said – I’ve got customization to get back to.

    Best to all


    P.S. The prize for reading to the end is – reading the whole thing.

  27. Cyberward.net » Blog Archive » Wordpress Themes
  28. Elliot
    Elliot Published |

    When I was beggining coding my site I met the Sandbox framework. What I learned about it is that it was tailored for an specific style, I mean, main body and sidebar, but anything you wanted to hide had to be either modified on the base theme or set to display none. Plus I found odd the dynamic classes, guess I need more time to get my feet wet on it. In the end I only used the Starkers empty theme by Elliot Jay Stocks (I could’ve easily clean the default theme up but Elliot already did) and created the specific xhtml+css struct that I needed. In my site I need some specific extra divs (for ex, to set main content background footer) that are not offered by Sandbox or other frameworks. SP is right when he points that frameworks are niche-specific but the drawback of this is that all child themes share the same structure unless you tweak the code but we would be right where we started. Frameworks are great, but I don’t think we can rely on them for every solution as Justin and SP already pointed. Frameworks are a tool. And a good one for their task.

  29. Brian Mecham
    Brian Mecham Published |

    I’ve been using your hybrid theme framework as the base for some new themes I’ve been working on. This is the first time I’ve used child themes. I am impressed and am really enjoying this. Thank You.

  30. preaxz
    preaxz Published |

    So .. that’s called framework .. hmm
    I am currently working on creating default theme for my future wordpress theme actually. Base on your description, I guess I can call my work a theme framework.

    haha … i didn’t think that far though ..

    but still, million thx for your great work!

  31. Theme Thoughts
    Theme Thoughts at |
  32. Alex Jeffreys
    Alex Jeffreys Published |

    If I have a handle on this correctly. A child theme can take advantage of the parent theme but can also have the flexibilty not to have to be identical to the parent (by changing its look) therefore offering a chance to be unique. So although there might be a central framework for projects, each project (if it is viewed as a child) could look and function differently from the parent theme.?

  33. Wordpress Theme Frameworks « Webstuff 2
    Wordpress Theme Frameworks « Webstuff 2 at |
  34. Dan
    Dan Published |

    Wouldn’t it make the most sense to use the Wordpress default theme as your “framework” since this is updated every time a new version on Wordpress is released? Just design child themes off it? Why use someone else’s?

    I guess what I am asking is, how do you choose your “framework”? What makes the ones you listed above different?

  35. Dan
    Dan Published |

    Thanks for the information, Justin. I have downloaded thematic, hybrid, wpframework, sandbox, carrington, and whiteboard and plan to work with each and evaluate them. My clients are mainly schools who run MU. They have a hard time keeping up with multiple themes every time a new version of Wordpress comes out. I thought the implementation of child themes would be beneficial to them. When updating Wordpress, they could also update the framework and thus have all their themes updated. Now I just need to find the one that seems solid, is well supported, and will be around for a while. I’ll be investing a lot of time sinking my teeth into one.

    Any issues with frameworks and child themes in MU that I need to be aware of? I have worked extensively with Wordpress, but not as much with MU. I know users do not have access to the Theme Editor in MU, but beyond that I do not know what other theme limitations there are. I just got MU loaded locally on my Macbook. Time to dig in!

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  40. Raymond Selda
    Raymond Selda Published |

    I honestly could’ve written Hybrid as a set of plugins instead of a theme, but I prefer to work within the framework of theme development rather than plugin development.

    Can you please elaborate this?

    I’m really inspired by what you have accomplished here. I’m going to try and create my own theme framework. Maybe after a year I can release a theme that will be useful to the Wordpress community. Wish me luck. 🙂

  41. Raymond Selda
    Raymond Selda Published |

    Oh ok. I just didn’t know that you could have taken the plugin approach for Hybrid. Thank you.

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  47. Hvad er et Child Theme og en Theme Framework?
  48. Keith Purkiss (Alex Jeffreys Student)

    Hi Justin,

    Anything that saves work is a good idea.
    I use the same theme for all my blogs with a few small adjustments, but it’s no where near as sophisticated as your theme framework.



  49. 8款WordPress主题框架和初学者资源 | 帕兰映像
  50. links for 2009-08-22 « sySolution
    links for 2009-08-22 « sySolution at |
  51. Arie Putranto
    Arie Putranto Published |

    Coding is an art, despite Wordpress says it’s a poetry. I like to code and laughing out loud when my code’ s not working. I’m happy with it and got drown in it. That’s why – almost the same reason as yours – I hard coded my blogs until the day when I got so tired of writing (copy pasting :] ) the same code all the time.

    Anyway, should I write another framework or just create a plugin? What do you think? Cause I think it’s hard to catching up Hybrid and Thematic .. 🙂

    Ok, always nice to read your post, Justin. Sometimes I blame myself for unable to write fluently in English. I have many thoughts in mind but I just can’t wrote it down like you do …

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  54. Kymaro
    Kymaro Published |

    Do you make your themes available for others to use?

  55. A Comparison of 6 Popular WordPress Frameworks | Pro Blog Design
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  57. секс в контакте
    секс в контакте Published |

    Yeah, do you really allow others to use your themes? Are they free/paid? If paid – how much do they cost? Mb i’ll buy pair 😉

  58. 20款 WordPress的主题框架及初始资源 | 异次元的乱七八糟
  59. xychazs
    xychazs Published |

    Hello Justin. Usefully articles to me. Thank u/ so much.

    From now, I try to developing a wp theme framework in project. Can’t I contact U/ sometimes for your help?

    Thank u again.

  60. Claudia Webb
    Claudia Webb Published |

    I’ve been using your hybrid theme framework as the base for some new themes I’ve been working on. This is the first time I’ve used child themes. I am impressed and am really enjoying this. Thank You for sharing 🙂

  61. Dan Clark — Themes and Members
    Dan Clark — Themes and Members at |
  62. Don
    Don Published |

    OK, I’m lost. I can not see any point in the child themes and can’t find a reason for it at all. If a theme is updated enough to change it all around, how would you get around not changing the child theme? If I hacked a code to pieces why would I want the “developer’s” new version? Child themes seems like a waste and a cruel joke on the amateur wordpress industry.

    I build themes, not buy them, so nothing ever comes as an update so why make a mess of a good system by throwing in child themes? For those with no code experience? To pump out tons of “almost” duplicate sites? Why ever use a theme that is not unique in the first place if you don’t want someone else’s footprint?

    Sounds like something created so part time developers can sell more stuff people don’t have a use for. And it makes a lot of billable work for me when it comes to actually making any theme SEO proper and get the client up in the engines…which is the only purpose of all of this, unless you deal in ‘vanity sites’ for rich people.

    With all of the hype, can someone provide any practical reasons for any of this? As for the framework, it is just trying to kick out duplicate themes that are not unique so developers can sell more generic junk.

    Every install of any ‘bought’ theme always takes more work than starting from scratch. What client won’t ask for so many changes that the entire ‘framework’ goes through multiple changes? I guess it’s all about pumping out tons of junk at $50 or $100 over and over. Thesis-/revolution/studiopress…I can code the look in an hour and then everything is easy to find. Everybody hides everything all over so learning another half baked framework makes no sense. I suggest making your own for yourself that reaches to your own particular limits. If that is beyond you then stay far away from it because it will be someone else’s ‘framework’ so you might as well just send your clients to them!

    Every install (over a dozen) of thesis I have done has had to be hacked to the core to get around the minimal options they give…and hide all over. Add Blogussion and you have a real mess.

    Enough! Why is wordpress so intent on dumbing all this down…so grandma can make sites?

    Maybe try Artisteer…then you can do anything and you only have one cluster f*** to learn and deal with updates. That’s the only framework I ever saw for sale worth ANYTHING.

    So, sorry, but I see child themes as beyond useless.

  63. nandupatel
    nandupatel Published |

    Thanks a lot. I just started to use your theme and it is perfect match to use for my personal blog. I was looking for it for long time. Most important thing is it is free to use. Again thanks a lot.

  64. Warum Justin Tadlock das Hybrid-Framework programmiert hat - dreitehabee
  65. Warum Justin Tadlock das Hybrid-Framework programmiert hat | dreitehabee
  66. web-developer
    web-developer Published |

    Where can I read the documentation and usage examples about Theme Hybrid?
    Other WordPress theme frameworks.

  67. About WP frameworks « Richard Allen
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  70. Mike
    Mike Published |

    I’ve been toying with the idea of making my own framework for some time now, and I think it must be done. Thanks for the final push of inspiration.

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  74. Chris Baldelomar
    Chris Baldelomar Published |

    You have good thoughts Justin. I’ve tried out so many different frameworks and was never satisfied with the code. Either it was bloated, limiting, required child themes, or all of the above. In fact, I think child themes are being completely abused as they should be used for a user wanting to customize their theme.

    Anyways, I spent a considerable amount of time developing what I think is a really good “Starter Theme”. I’ve named it WordPress Canvas. I’m trying to refrain from calling it a Framework even though some might call it that. I think Starter Theme or Base Theme would be the appropriate label. I hope the community can find it helpful. I built it for myself, originally.

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