Hybrid Core Framework is the dark horse when it comes to WordPress theme frameworks. The reason is quite simple: There’s no army of affiliates yelling air-tight security. If there’s no money a lot of self-proclaimed frameworks bite dust as far as pure merit is concerned. And in 2017 here’s what merit translates to: structured data / semantics, web-performance and user-experience. Everything else just falls into these three heads to make your website rank (which seems to be the ultimate goal, but not for the purpose of this article). Here are some reasons how in addition to optimal website performance, the Hybrid Core framework makes life easy for you as a WordPress developer and for your clients in addition to search performance.
A note about drag and drop
With the popularity of the drag-and-drop frameworks on the rise, WordPress is becoming consumer friendly. With Divi and other drag-and-drop solutions, anyone can start arranging a website and have a website completed in a day or two.
Made for everyone
But there are challenges. If it had to be that easy, developers would be dead. Most drag-and-drop solutions are CSS / markup builders. But that’s not the problem The real issue that they are not made for you; they are made for everyone—for everyone in every situation. Thus they are generic solutions trying to work around in every use-case scenario. So if you take a step-back and take a second look, the developers of these frameworks are putting every last bit of their energy to create solutions which will work with “all plugins”, “all themes”, “all applications” and milk the cows too. The result: the ratio of the on-page code is way too much as compared to content itself. In other words, the HTML rendered has more code then text.
Frustration & Rework
The other problem is with gargantuan marketing budgets behind them and big network lobbying they are able to penetrate large markets. But at the end of the day it is a frustrated soul who bought it and is trying to get the header right. Threads and threads filled with support requests. Once you get them to work, in a few months you realize your requirements have grown and the current site is falling short of living up to the game. Solution? Redo.
Come developer frameworks. I call them coder-friendly frameworks. These are not generic. They are minimal—a light-weight base on which you can build your website and it will continue to grow with your ever-evolving requirements. They make WordPress business-friendly as against consumer-friendly. Why? Because the site is tailored for your business, your requirements and you.
There are several WordPress theme frameworks. But the purpose and merit of a framework is in how developer-friendly it is, and how much merit it has when it comes to performance and optimization. And while there are several self-proclaimed frameworks, there really are only a few that are meant for top-grade sites. Hybrid Core is a framework that stands tall and is the gold standard demonstrating how WordPress themes should be built when it’s your money at stake.
Hybrid Core lets you build sites in a WordPress compliant way
Think WordPress templates, template hierarchy, parent-themes etc… The author is a member of the WordPress TRT (the theme review team). No wonder Hybrid Core and Theme Hybrid themes hold to golden standards of WordPress themes — both coding and architecture-wise. Code that is break-proof, adheres to WordPress coding standards, accounts for all technical nuances and is the most flexible to allow for hooking in.
It’s Your Markup—Your Design—Your Theme
Hybrid Core framework does not output a design by itself. It’s a library that you include in your theme. And the functions will allow you to programmatically plug into the code for maximum flexibility and customization of the markup and functionality.
This also means you are not restricted to any particular theme. You can use Hybrid Code in an existing theme, update the templates to use the functionality offered and voila—you’ve got a theme literally on steroids!
Cutting-edge, Developer-Friendly, Light-weight, Minimal
Hybrid Core’s is coded around practical use-cases. And there are times when a feature has to be coded in. Hybrid Core’s changelog is full of instances when such new functionality was built in to the framework. It has always kept up with user requirements and practical use-cases… those times where there were no radio buttons in the WordPress customizer etc.
I’d just quote Justin Tadlock here:
The framework was built to make it easy for developers to include (or not include) specific, pre-coded features. Themes handle all the markup, style, and scripts while the framework handles the logic.
Having a feature is not “bloat”
Hybrid Core comes with certain functionality that makes your life easy. Take for example the built-in numbered pagination or the breadcrumb trail that you can call with an `add_theme_support` call or even the `cleaner_gallery`:
Cleaner Gallery was created to clean up the invalid HTML and remove the inline styles of the default implementation of the WordPress
[gallery]shortcode. This has the obvious benefits of creating sites with clean, valid code. But, it also allows developers to more easily create custom styles for galleries within their themes.
The approach to the framework is exactly what makes this developer-friendly. But as and when these features are ported into WordPress core, they are deprecated from Hybrid Core. Take for example the
cleaner_caption functionality. It was removed as and when it became redundant. Practices like these keep the framework minimal and light-weight.
Did I say Cutting-Edge and Minimal?
That’s a very difficult balance. Keeping something that is cutting-edge typically means adding more code to achieve the functionality. And this naturally goes against keeping things light-weight and minimal. Hybrid Core’s features are a perfect example of how functionality and minimalism should be balanced. There’s functionality that makes life easier. But as and when this becomes available in WordPress core, Hybrid Core is updated in favor of minimalism. Want the latest and the lightest? You got it. Hybrid Core is also a great example of how you should be maintaining your own plugins and themes.
Metrics that matter
As I said in the beginning of this article, when it comes to real-world performance there’s no other framework that can beat Hybrid Core that I know of. Do you know of any?
Schema and Structured Data: Hybrid Core based themes have more structured data than _s (pronounced Underscores) or Genesis. I haven’t tested other frameworks since most others are drag and drop and they are simply irrelevant here.
Pagespeed Insights: _s gets 67 / 100 for mobile and 84 / 100 on desktop whereas Hybrid Base which is based on Hybrid Core gets 79 / 100 and 92 / 100 respectively.
It must be noted that Pagespeed Insights doesn’t test for site-speed but for delivery best-practices. Thus the suggestions: leverage browser cache, minify, combine etc. It’s a direct reflection of how your code is delivered, not how fast your site is (though server response time is a factor too).
I tried these results for Genesis Minimum Pro theme as well and the results were: 54 / 100 and 49 / 100. I don’t intend a show down guys. Peace.
It all boils down to your usage requirement. If you want to do your own website, go with a drag and drop framework. Chances are that money is not at stake or may be that’s not too much of a concern.
If you are sold another framework, it’s perhaps because the affiliate disclaimer is missing or the developer can’t recommend better.
If you want a rock-solid WordPress website, I wouldn’t do it on anything else than Hybrid Core. It has performance and optimization that impresses. It’s the golden standard of how WordPress themes should be coded. It’s a shining example of WordPress coding best-practices. The site will grow with the business and also from a customer stand-point it’s great investment for money. A solution tailored to your business indeed is unmatched by anything else no matter how costly, beautiful, easy or anything else.