It goes without saying that WordPress has emerged as a widely used and popular CMS. It not only excels at handling blog- and news-focused sites, but can also be tailored to accommodate any kind of online website, whether it is a directory, a real estate website, or a social network app. The easiest way to transform WordPress from a simple blog to a totally different web application experience is to leverage the countless off-the-shelf themes and plugins that are available.
If you’re looking for something more unique, then you’ll need to get your hands dirty and custom develop your own theme or plugin. WordPress exposes a lot of its publishing platform functionality through its plugin API (hooks, actions, filters) to allow you to easily tie your own code into the WordPress core code base, theme, or plugin. Unfortunately, this is not an easy task if you’re new to WordPress development—the official documentation is tricky to grasp and is known to have a slow learning curve.
The good news though is that there are a lot of development frameworks that abstract, simplify, and speed up WordPress development. These frameworks allow for rapid development of themes and plugins based on best practices. In this month’s featured article, we take a look at 12 popular frameworks to speed up your WordPress development. Our list is comprised of both plugin and theme development frameworks.
WordPress Plugin Frameworks
Piklist is a fast and concise plugin that encourages WordPress rapid development. It simplifies many of the more difficult tasks in WordPress and adds functionality not presently common in WordPress core. Piklist acts as a layer that works between you and WordPress, reducing redundant code, extending core API’s, and just plain super-charging WordPress. Whether adding simple custom fields or complex, conditionally driven forms, you can always do more in less time with Piklist.
Herbert is a WordPress plugin framework that provides a structured and standardized approach to building plugins. The framework aims to keep business logic separate from template code, so that back- and frontend developers aren’t tripping over each other. Herbert utilizes Composer to handle the framework’s dependencies. Template code is stored in views, which uses the Twig PHP templating engine.
Vafpress Framework is a powerful, flexible, and extensible options, metabox, and shortcode generator framework. It will take care of the admin side complexity in building a WordPress theme or plugin, allowing you to focus on building awesome-looking and highly customizable themes by providing an easy yet powerful way to build.
Orbit is a WordPress web development framework that will assist you in getting your site set up, configured, and deployed as quickly as possible. It bundles several other development frameworks—such as HTML5 Boilerplate, Selectivizr, Modernizr, and Roots—to allow you to create responsive sites through a basic WordPress theme setup that is stripped down and cleaned out. Several dozen functions are provided so that you can customize just about every aspect of WordPress that you would typically want for your project.
Themosis framework is a tool to help you develop websites and web applications faster using WordPress. Using an elegant and simple code syntax, Themosis framework helps you structure and organize your code and allows you to better manage and scale your WordPress websites and applications. From a technical point of view, Themosis framework is a set of API. It uses “modern” PHP features, such as anonymous functions and namespaces, and is a Composer ready mix between WordPress best practices and, let’s say, a typical MVC framework.
WordPress Theme Frameworks
HTML5 Blank WordPress Theme is an industry-leading WordPress shell—recognized by Adobe, Smashing Magazine, .NET, and more—for deploying your next WordPress project. It’s not just a clean slate to develop with, it’s also a lean foundation that includes various tools, functions, and setups to get any WordPress theme developer deployed and coding within minutes.
Built around the latest in web standards, Bones is a rock solid foundation to start any WordPress project. It follows a mobile-first approach to enable responsible design, and bundled with a unique Sass setup, it can serve minimal resources to smaller screens and scales up depending on the viewport. Bones also comes with custom post types and custom dashboard functions preloaded—these are obviously optional and can be deleted if you don’t need them.
Whiteboard Framework for WordPress allows you to speed up the development of WordPress themes. Whiteboard does so by eliminating the time spent on code common to all WordPress themes and including non-intrusive code that improves the overall WordPress theme in many ways, including SEO, speed, usability, mobile support, and multi-lingual support.
Gantry is a next-generation theme framework that allows you to develop WordPress themes quickly and efficiently while providing flexibility and ease-of-use for end users. It is fast and lightweight, comes with a visual menu editor (including support for mega menus), a layout manager (drag-n-drop based), and an AJAX admin area.
Wonderflux is a responsive open source framework for WordPress that allows you to rapidly develop highly sophisticated, custom WordPress themes that adapt to any screen size on any device. It ships with mature, well-developed code base built on many years of WordPress theme building experience. It includes some great features, such as admin options to control the layout and hundreds of filters and hooks.