Frameworks have become an important part of the WordPress landscape. They add numerous features to the CMS and make life easier for WordPress developers and users alike.
In this article we would like to address the following questions:
A framework is in a way a special kind of WordPress theme or WordPress plugin, which has influence on the appearance and the functions of the website. There are different ways how such a framework can be integrated, for example as a parent theme (with own child themes), as a standalone theme (without child themes), or as a plugin (supplemented by a suitable theme). The main difference between a (starter) theme and a framework is that the former only uses the core functionality of WordPress, while the latter extends it. So if you are only looking for "visual assistance" in the development of a WordPress website, you are already served with a simple theme. Who, on the other hand, would like to extend the basic functions of WordPress, which can help themselves to the ever-growing framework gift table.
WordPress framework developers, by and large, serve two distinct areas of use:
Advantage #1: A framework can be a real kickstarter for a new WordPress project because you don't start from scratch, but can fall back on the development work of other programmers. The large community, which provides a constant stream of new themes, plugins and code snippets, especially for the most popular frameworks, makes the work much easier and the entire user community can benefit from it.
Advantage #2: Frameworks make a site very updateable and customizable. No matter if a new theme version is installed or the appearance is changed completely, the basic functions of the framework as well as the settings defined there are always preserved. For updates, most frameworks already provide a button in the backend, which is why the user does not have to deal with a manual update via FTP.
Advantage #3: Security and SEO - by using (strong) frameworks, the entire website benefits from increased security as well as improved search engine friendliness.
Unfortunately, a blanket answer to this question cannot be given, because websites and their creators/users are simply too different for that. Each developer or web designer has personal preferences, and each framework also provides different functions. Therefore, there can be no overall winner for every use case. The choice must therefore be made individually in each case. At least an overview of the currently popular WordPress frameworks (as of 2017) can be given here:
At this point a big Thank you to all contributors who make the use of great frameworks possible!
You might also be interested in my topic-relevant article "13 reasons why WordPress is the best CMS for websites".