As a professional web designer, it comes with the territory that one’s own site is rebuilt on a fairly routine basis. So lately I’ve been spending my nights and weekend work hours rebuilding spigotdesign.com. The focus this time was not the design, but rather the foundation on which it’s built.
Much time was spent researching WordPress frameworks, spurned on by the WordPress Theme Development Frameworks post over at Smashing Magazine. My thought at the time was to learn a system that could speed up development time – automation of some of the more tedious tasks. But what I found was worth so much more.
Starting from that Smashing Mag article, I narrowed my targets down to just the most powerful and feature rich from the list. I then ran across a comparison of three of the most popular frameworks at WordPress Tavern. The article provided a nice side by side table of features, and while the decision wasn’t easy, I ultimately settled on Hybrid.
I chose Hybrid for its overall feature list, its insistence on the use of child themes, and most of all, the robust support. There is a $25 annual subscription to the support forums, worth every cent as the developer was there to answer all my silly questions. I say silly because I came to find that before diving into this framework, I knew very little about the true power of WordPress.
Here are some of the highlights of the new system:
- Wigitized sidebar – Gives me the power of drag and drop over sidebar items.
- Widgets everywhere – Before content, after content, footer, and on and on.
- Child theme integration.
- A search function that just works.
- The ability to add pages without them showing up in the main navigation (This was always possible, but only by directly editing the theme files).
- A greatly expanded knowledge of WordPress
It also gave me a chance to do a little design reshuffling. I added some things and subtracted some things, but hopefully overall the site is easier to use, easier to read, and for me, easier to maintain.