Developing WordPress themes is a lot easier these days. With the variety of theme development frameworks available to work from, we can now spend less time producing the default/standard code that WordPress needs to function, and more time designing and developing the actual website we want to create. No longer do we need to type endless lines of repetitive code, or browsing the WordPress codex for hours on end, looking for functions we require.
While it is always worth having the knowledge of building a theme from the ground up (yes, it is worth trying this, it’s the best way of learning what each WordPress function/template tag does), it’s generally accepted that using a theme framework is the best way of starting your new WordPress project.
There are a wide variety of different frameworks out there – notable frameworks include the default WordPress theme TwentyTen, the awesome blank canvas from Elliot Jay Stocks known as Starkers, and the powerful Hybrid Core.
Some developers prefer to work with a blank framework (like Starkers), or use frameworks with built in “bespoke” functionality (like Hybrid) that may suit a particular project. For the majority of my websites, I’ll begin with a blank canvas framework, with my theme of choice being Starkers.
However, with the web now ready to accept HTML5 a whole lot more, I’ve recently been on the hunt for HTML5 frameworks. Here’s a round up of the best (in no particular order)…
1. Twenty Ten Five
Despite including a HTML5 doctype, Twenty Ten doesn’t offer much HTML5 markup. Richard Shephard has made the effort to change that. Check out Twenty Ten Five for a fully HTML5 developed version of the Twenty Ten theme we know and love.
2. HTML5 Reset (WordPress)
HTML5 Reset is a clever collection of files, perfect for starting new HTML5 projects. A WordPress theme/framework is also available. It makes of awesome HTML5 markup (as you’d expect), browser specific css (e.g. “.ie body”), and both Modernizr and Analytics are built in. Sound good?
The “Roots” theme offers some lovely clean HTML5 microformat markup, a Boilerprint base, and also some cool customisation with the 960 grid system.
4. Starkers (HTML5 Version)
Like Twenty Ten, Starkers includes a HTML5 doctype, but no real HTML5 markup. Nathan Staines has taken the best blank canvas around, and introduced plenty of HTML5 goodness.
Probably my personal favourite at the moment… The Whiteboard framework’s biggest feature is it’s fully responsive layout (perfect for mobile and tablet viewing). However, it’s HTML5 markup isn’t the best, and you may find yourself redoing a fair bit of code. Your choice!
Recommended by JSEL in the comments below, this is a development theme that has somehow escaped me! Upon inspection, it looks pretty amazing. It’s been built with HTML5 boilerplate, has 960 grid compatibility, built in functions and post types have been included, and the HTML5 markup looks very tidy. I’ll be trying it out…
As you all know, I’m a big believer in HTML5, so in terms of WordPress development, these frameworks and themes are what I’m switching my attention to. If you haven’t had much experience with HTML5, I recommend you check out my previous HTML5 Template Building blog, before working with the markup in WordPress!