EP22 – WordPress Child Themes or Starter Themes which is better? – WPwatercooler – February 18 2013

Today’s topic is Child Themes or Starter Themes which is better? The topic was suggested to us by our own Suzette Franck.

Steve says it “Depends”

Alex talks about Genesis and _s (Underscores)

Sé talks about the differences between Child Themes and Starter Themes

Chris asks Sé about the differences of a child theme of 2012 and something like builder or Genesis

Sé states that Genesis has it’s own code base

Chris Ford says that one is just more complicated than the other

Alex brings up a point of “fighting the framework” and just starting from scratch.

Chris brings us back to “it depends” and shes noticing a design trend of all of the child themes are looking like Genesis

Chris mentioned Bill Erickson’s Starter Theme https://github.com/jaredatch/Genesis-Starter-Theme and having total creative control

Alex brings up the poiint that using a starter theme lets him use things like bootstrap where he feels he can’t do that with Genesis.

Wes talks about a few redesigns he’s done recently when dealing with underscores. He talks about a plugin he made that holds all the functionality for that site.

Steve says that with Underscores you are not suppose to make a child theme from it rather that is the theme. He asks how you can update the “code” of that theme.

Alex says that is the problem with starter themes.

Chris brings it back to Frameworks and why they exist, Steve says that child themes

Sé mentions Theme Check http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/theme-check/ for deprecated functions.

Steve talks about bloated code, he see that a few of the starter themes have some bloated code in there and you just don’t need.

Alex talks about underscores is a blank canvas.

Steve use to use Empty Canvas http://www.simplethemes.org/empty-canvas.php

Sé mentions Starkers http://viewportindustries.com/products/starkers/

Steve says a starter theme is for developers

Alex thinks that Genesis helped him with his CSS skills and how commented and organized it is.

Chris Lema asks Cody what he is doing, Cody puts down the CoD controller and says that he uses Genesis Child Themes but he recently used Standard from 8Bit http://standardtheme.com/

Chris Ford talks about Pau Drohan http://www.d5ive.com/ at digitaria http://www.digitaria.com/

Jason asks Cody about his take on going from Genesis to Standard Theme

Cody replies about SEO and using plugins like Yoast SEO plugin to work with Standard Theme. He likes the esthetics and a fresher approach to their code.

Alex asks Cody how he felt about working with Standard vs working with Genesis

Chris Lema asked if he had to smoke a cigarette after using it.

Sé asks if Standard was made to be a Started theme or a framework, Cody and Chris Lema reply that you can create child themes with it and it can be used as a starter theme. Chris uses Catalyst on his ChrisLema.com site.

Sé talks about 2012 as a framework for child themes. It has based fonts and is responsiveness.

Alex says that these themes have best practices and he talks about theme templates and theme parts. get_template_part() is something that is used throughout.

Suzette has worked with 2011 a lot and talks about the undoing of lots of code to make it work for her. She likes 2012’s approach.

Wes talks about picking a theme and having is be well supported and secure.

Chris Ford talks about Genesis and how a client benefits from someone that sticks to one theme as a base and is able to find solutions to problems the client has quickly and easily.

Sé talks about how Genesis has a structured base.

Chris Ford talks about her attempts at doing a starter child theme for Genesis.

Wes announces is new theme framework called Mullet and how the dashboard is a party in the back end.

Chris Lema brings it back around with the merits of child themes and starter themes and when if you are starting out there may be other options such as option base frameworks or something can be configured from the back end.

Sé talks about premium themes and how a new person may want to go that route.

Chris Lema talks about the people that are having problems with spending money on a framework and they dont end up with a site like the examples show.

Jason closes the show out, thank yous all around.

Many thanks go out to the fine folks that were on this episode of WPwatercooler.


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2 responses to “EP22 – WordPress Child Themes or Starter Themes which is better? – WPwatercooler – February 18 2013”

  1. pixelyzed Avatar

    This is a great episode so far. I’m only about 9 minutes in but I would like to point out one thing that has not been discussed yet. So far, Genesis is the only “framework” example that has been used to compare against starter themes or 2010/2011/2012. For me, there are two types of frameworks that you can work with VERY differently. On one end you have Genesis along with other fremworks like Headway, Thesis and Catalyst that “black box” loop code in their own proprietary code structure and do not really use the standard WordPress templates hierarchy. Se was absolutely right about that.
    But not all frameworks are like that. iThemes Builder and WooThemes Canvas work very differently than Genesis, Headway or Catalyst.. Both have some proprietary functionality but they DO use standard WordPress templates with real loop code in them that you can copy into a child theme and modify as much as you want without relying on hooks that may or may not exist exactly where you need them. That makes ALL the difference in the world to me. Especially when you start working with Custom Post Types a lot.
    This is the main reason I gave up on Headway and why I have a very hard time getting into Genesis or Catalyst (I own all frameworks I mention here + Thesis which I hate).
    My $0.02! 😉

    1. theurbandater Avatar

      @pixelyzed I share your hatred of Thesis, sir. Lol. Pearson and that POS framework needs to take a long walk… And then keep on going. Thanks for listening in!

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