As a former ThemeForest author and a WPTRT member, I’m intrigued by all the fuzz about parent-child theme relations, theme frameworks, premium themes using the same infrastructure, startup themes and so forth.
I remember my positive impression towards Genesis and their hooks model (even though pretty hardcore for customization in practice) and WooThemes and their internal framework, distributed flexibly within their themes.
Last month I decided to set 3 hours straight and turn the _s theme by Automattic into a regular blog theme. By default _s comes with almost no stylesheets, or rather nothing than a white board with text on it. The markup is designed properly with several layout options included as well, and placeholders for custom image header and theme options, and others. What I did for my personal pursuit was using the Color Scheme Designer to pick a color palette and build a sample (even simple) blog theme out of it.
The timing was limiting but I didn’t want to make it a premium template, having no design skills to paint backgrounds and gradiently laid images myself. In addition to the sample blog structure I added Sass support just to make some fun out of it, and also used some G fonts for frontend appearance.
The end result is already on WordPress.org – Metronome theme. Nothing special or fancy, but a real blog theme for 3 hours straight. The theme review went through two quick iterations for small issues which is remarkable taking the entire guidelines in mind.
Thinking of it, this is a good start for several clean themes built with the same layout, only different color scheme and so. My Sass styles have variables definitions on the top that allow for easy color scheme setup. Therefore this could be easily turned into a more powerful theme with backend or another sample theme with a different outlook.
Keeping that in mind, after my plans to tune up two child themes for Shell Lite my next target would be building something on the top of the Hybrid framework. I’ve read the codebase a few times but nothing really built off it, hope that I could pick a few hours to test the architecture there in a similar manner.