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.