There is myriad of free WordPress themes all around the web. On the other hand, only a few of them are developed in the open, on GitHub. Those which are benefit from many contributions all done free of charge by many skilled WordPress developers. This weekend, I went on a mission to find the “best” one, though it’s quite subjective and depends on many factors. Nevertheless, as I browsed through GitHub repos, I stumbled upon several high-quality ones. All of them are well-supported with active developers and I would say even better than a large number of commercial themes.
My favorite. It is fast, flexible and has many options integrated directly into WordPress Customizer. The community around Make is pretty active — around 2,600 commits at the time of writing and updated no more than two weeks ago. It’s source code is well organized with satisfactory documentation and comments. It comes with a page builder that outputs HTML instead of shortcodes so switching to a different theme will be easier later on. They are using Sass for styling (CSS) the theme which I find superior to Less or other CSS preprocessors. What I don’t like about Make is that there is also a Plus version of the theme with more features and options. I know its developers have to earn some money to continue the development but there are too many mentions of “Upgrade to Make Plus” all around the WordPress dashboard for my taste. Well, I’m a WordPress dev so I’ll do something about it🙂
BTW, I’m using it on Lamosty.com so you can see it in the action.
I’ve written about Layers in another blogpost.
Minimalist theme with emphasis on speed. Too minimalist for me but definitely worth a try.
Theme frameworks and starter themes
Starter theme created for advanced WordPress developers. If you are coming from Ruby on Rails world, this one might capture your hearts. Utilizing gulp for build scripts, Sass or Less for CSS preprocessing, Bower for front-end package management, Twitter Bootstrap as design basis and helper and other goodies, Sage is my choice for custom and more advanced WordPress web applications/sites development.
Bonus: Check out Bedrock — from the creators of Sage. Awesomeness.
Seemingly the most sophisticated and extensible theme framework. I haven’t gotten to building a site with Redux yet but from what I’ve seen you can do thousands of things with it.
For complete list of WordPress frameworks, plugins and other WP-related software, see my Delicious profile.
Do you have a list of your favorite WordPress open source themes? Please share it with me in comments below; I’m still looking for the ultimate one…