I've recently started looking for a theme or framework created for an actual developer. I'm not looking for a theme that has hundreds of options designed for the average joe to get the most out of their $50 purchase. Most companies build themes for people who know nothing about code. They sell very well on the various theme stores... but I'm not in that market.
I'm an actual developer who doesn't have 100+ hours to create a good parent theme that I can use for my client builds. Nor do I have time to worry about maintaining a parent theme for my clients. I'm hoping that the community has come across something I haven't. I know many developers would suggest WooTheme's Canvas or StudioPress' Genesis, but Canvas seems a bit bloated for my tastes and Genesis doesn't get along well with WooCommerce. I haven't seen many other popular options -- some niche solutions over the years, but most don’t stick around. I suppose that's why the bloated themes with interface builders and hundreds of options are still here.
Here's a list of what I think a good developer framework would include.
- Well maintained and built to current standards
- Audited by the developer community or open source
- Actively developed - regular updates with good support
- Paid or free - if such a thing exists, I'd love to pay for it
- Doesn't have hundreds of "options" meant for non-developers
- Doesn't include built-in plugins (plugins should be plugins, themes should be themes)
- Completely responsive with an intelligent menu system
- An array of default page (and post?) templates so I don't have to re-invent the wheel
- Breadcrumbs, pagination, schema support, etc.
- I like widgets, so a heavily widgetized theme is appealing to me
- Simple layout support like columns or blocks would be great
(I like shortcodes)
- No ridiculous interface builder (bloat is bad)
- SEO optimized, I'm currently a Yoast proponent
- Cache-ready, it needs to work with W3TC and other caching solutions
- Ecommerce compatibility, WooCommerce for example
- Compatibility with other standard plugins like BuddyPress, bbPress, etc.
- Multisite (Network) compatibility
- Full retina image compatibility with something like WP Retina 2x
I'm sure I could come up with more for this list, but most of these are just common sense to me. To me, most of the points in that list are non-negotiable and should be included with every theme. It's really just avoiding the bloat.