At first glance, it might seem counter-intuitive. Why would anyone move away from using a WordPress framework? I have used Genesis in the past and I will probably also use it for customer projects. But I have decided to go framework-less when coding pre-made themes. As a person, I like to have control and, while using frameworks like Genesis or Divi makes things faster, I noticed that I lack a whole lot of experience. I can learn so much from building a WordPress theme from scratch that no framework can replace the value of this experience.
WordPress frameworks are, of course, a great way to focus on the design aspect of creating WordPress themes. However, I like to know how things work behind the scenes. Why is that content exactly where it is? What can I do to include some dynamic content in this part of the site? And this only happens when you do all of the work on your own. It is only then that you learn exactly what the line of code does in the end-product.
I really like the stance Ashley is taking over at NoseGraze.com, saying that WordPress frameworks are a crutch. But saying that frameworks are a crutch does not mean that I don’t like frameworks. I love the Genesis Framework and I think it’s a great tool with great support and something you should definitely take into consideration when you want to create WordPress themes professionally. There are definitely advantages to using a WordPress framework and Brenda Barron over at CyberChimps.com gives some good reasons why you should consider a framework.
To move away from using Genesis was a very personal and thorough decision and it’s something that each WordPress theme designer or developer needs to decide for him or herself.
So what exactly is the effect of not using a framework?
There are several reasons why you should build at least one theme from scratch and not with a framework. A framework gives you a pre-packaged way of dealing with WordPress. If you do it on your own, you find out about all of those amazing ways you can utilize WordPress in your business.
#1: The structure of WordPress
The biggest thing for me is to get to know the structure of a WordPress theme better. Only when you create a theme from scratch do you realize how many different files make up a working theme. You realize how the files have to be structured to give you the best WordPress experience. You see all the connections between the files and where you could maybe add a file to make your theme more intuitive or more eye-catching.
#2: Built-in functions of WordPress
WordPress does have some amazing functions your theme creation that are already built into WordPress. You can easily create conditional statements to fire certain functions when the reader has a certain capability for example. This is the point where WordPress really becomes the CMS that you want to use for your business or even your blog.
#3: Complete Control
As I have mentioned above, I like to have control over the products that I offer. As soon as I use a framework, I’m giving up some of that control (or, at least, I think I do). This feeling of control is something that I like better about creating my own themes from scratch.
These three reasons alone pushed me to create my own themes. Again, this does not mean that I am completely opposed to using frameworks or even stop using Genesis. But I want to focus more on what I can do myself with regard to coding WordPress themes.