Best reasons to use Unyson are that it’s a plugin, allows modular extensions and isn’t a theme (but can integrate into almost any theme). Good for making a theme since it is a framework. It also comes with a instructional theme to illustrate use of the framework. It has a builder extension which is optional and uses shortcodes AFAIK. Themes made with it will likely not be accepted to the WordPress theme repository (at least until it’s brought up to date / Customizer compliant) because of how it currently does theme options.
Best reason to use LayersWP is because it leverages the WP customizer. It is not a framework though and shouldn’t be used to build another theme. This a builder (not a framework) and also probably is not the best choice for a paid client site especially if you want future portability. If it’s not a client site or you’re not the type to think ahead / worry about the future, it could be a fine choice. This builder uses widgets instead of shortcodes though.
To be clear, Themes are NOT frameworks. Themes are themes. To call a theme a framework is disingenuous at best IMO. Genesis IS NOT a framework as much as they would like to call themselves that or convince people who don’t know better of it. It is too old / popular to change that misnomer now though. I don’t expect to change anyone’s mind on this as there are more people misusing the terminology than not. I just prefer not to perpetuate the misinformation any further. Smarter people than me have already said as much and some even before I even knew what WP really was.http://justintadlock.com/archives/2010/08/16/frameworks-parent-child-and-grandchild-themes
Found this thought it might be useful to those reading this thread – http://wptheming.com/2015/02/page-select-customizer/
@woorockets – I’m not surprised to hear you come on out that side of the issue. Having inspected the code in your themes and plugins, they work but they’re not elegant. That’s only my take though. Redoing them would represent a significant effort on your behalf and I thank you for making them many of them available for free as well.
I like reading articles by developers that are I consider smarter / more experienced than myself. There are no shortage of those as there is all much to learn. One of my favorite older ones is the linked below. It asks a very good question IMO, “Are we writing code to be clever or are we writing code for others to understand?” I submit that you tend more towards the former than latter.
Check it out – https://tommcfarlin.com/writing-wordpress-code/
I feel there will always be a market for overcomplicated, high maintenance items like yours. People will continue to purchase them because they think they need them only to regret that decision later. They’ll learn by doing, making mistakes and learning from them. That’s life. All in one themes are such a commodity in the marketplace these days though. Maybe that changes or maybe it stays the same. I can’t say.
The way authors (especially new / less well established ones) can choose to stand out or distinguish themselves from the norm is to perhaps adopt a less is more WP customizer way of doing things. I’d to think of this new era of WordPress as a “renaissance” or “rebirth” of how people choose to build sites with WordPress.
They’ll be plenty that’ll cling to the notions of the past because it’s easier, less scary and more profitable in the short-term. That’s fine. Each to their own. It’ll leave the opportunities for the long term planners who are in it for the long haul to rise to this new standard rather than simply comply the minimum guidelines.
I enjoyed this one…http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2013/03/05/the-wordpress-theme-customizer-a-developers-guide/
Treehouse has some great video coverage on it as well…http://teamtreehouse.com/library/wordpress-customizer-api
Simple, Minimal, WooCommerce and built to the latest standards? – check out Merch by Rescue Themes
Here’s a great example of a WordPress org author who is doing an awesome job with this exact sort of thing. The theme uses the customizer well, is based on the open source underscores starter by Automattic instead of a custom / proprietary framework and Zurb’s Modular Foundation v5 (instead of Bootstrap). Yes, I’m aware some Envato authors here already use them and that’s great but we need more.
It’s outstanding free offering that can also be used as a learning resource, etc if not used by itself to build a site. Hopefully it also inspires more like it on org or perhaps even on Envato.
Check it out: https://rescuethemes.com/gateway-wordpress-theme/
@jonathan01 – Thanks!
@LeafColor – I might be inclined to agree if we were talking about WordPress v3.3 or earlier but we’re not. We’re also getting ever closer to the v4.3 release either. Every release the customizer gets better and end users get more familiar / comfortable with it. Making themes blend better with WP rather than less serms like the better approach to me.
“We need 10 tabs with 100 options for a functional theme. Only blog themes have less options :)”
It’s somewhat laughable that anyone thinks 1000 options (10 tabs x 100 options) are actually “needed” let alone themes that may exceed this number. Just think about that for a moment. You may want them or think that your customers want them but the reality may be a different story. Can average user learn about, use or remember a 1000 options?
These options should be modular. Not every user is going to use all the same options. The user should be able to choose what options (groups / sections) to add or remove via the plugin activation / deactivation process they’re already familiar with. So, the problem may not be the customizer but that certain developers are trying to make it do too much.
It’s old thinking and hopefully will change over time. The more that the customizer is used for themes outside the blogging type themes, the more core will likely adopt a more powerful “out of the box” options framework.
End users may have become used to it but we’re supposed to know better. That’s why we’re the professionals and they are the end users IMO.
Many would use a similar argument as a reason to not choose WP at all. For example, “WP may be great for blogs but it shouldn’t be used as a CMS for real sites.” We know this is an ignorant statement and it often comes from someone lacking WP experience.
Since I don’t believe in such foolishness, I’m also not inclined to agree that the customizer is only good for blog sites. There are just so many examples that have proved otherwise already being used by publicly available, free / commercial products.
@WhoaThemes – I want to understand better why anyone these days would spend any time reinventing the wheel on their own options framework? I mean aside from making it easier for the developer which usually isn’t a good enough justification by itself.
There are too many UGLY theme options panel monstrosities that are advertised as EASY AND POWERFUL. These words are subjective at best since theme’s author doesn’t have the sheer amount of users providing feedback that the WP team does. So redesigning the UI/UX is often ill-advised just embrace the WP way instead. We need less, not more abominations. Lol. I feel bad for some of the Envato reviewers that have to put up with those. They could probably save time if they didn’t have to deal with some of this craziness.
Using existing options framework is almost always better since they’re better documented, supported and moving away from them is easier too. Private (non public) Custom Option frameworks are a good way of locking users into a particular theme and that’s probably it. What are some advantages to an approach like this?
@BoldBlocks – I like your position. Yeah, even the WP Theme Reviewers are phasing it in over a 6 month period. As for authors thinking before they do, the movie quote below seems especially relevant. There would definitely seem to be a need for more thought.
“Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.” – Dr Ian Malcolm (Jurassic Park)
It just occurred to me (as I read the post above by tommusrhodus) that if your theme options panel is too big for the customizer then you may just have added too much plugin territory functionality to your theme.
Since this only applies to themes and NOT plugins, moving functionality into plugins could solve both the problem of too many options and functionality heavy themes at the same time.
If Envato wants to change the WP community’s perception that ThemeForest is the place to buy poorly coded / kitchen sink themes (though not true in several instances), it could probably do worse than implementing one or both of these.
The WP org Theme Review team will soon require this. Do you think it would be practical or even likely that Envato would also enact such a policy?https://poststatus.com/customizer-required-theme-options/
“Personally, I think the standardization of options is a great move forward. I originally started developing the Options Framework (an easy way for developers to build custom options pages) over five years ago because there was not a good solution in core. I’m now happy to report that the code I helped develop is nearly obsolete as better tools have become available.” – Devin Price – Creator of Options Framework
With plugins such as Kirki that extend the customizer, would you ever consider switching over to an entirely customizer powered theme options panel?http://kirki.org