Update: We don’t recommend Cherry Framework anymore, if you are looking for our recommendations, see our post on what the heck are WordPress frameworks. Here on WPKube, we are using Genesis Framework.
The Cherry Framework is a free WordPress theme framework developed by TemplateMonster – one of the oldest website template marketplaces since 2002. People who were into web development during that period must have heard of TemplateMonster, they are guys behind Monstroid theme.
The Cherry Framework is a new addition to their arsenal and with it, they aim to win the trust of thousands of potential buyers. But can a framework alone do this? Heck no! That’s why they have over 300 premium child themes for the framework! Yes, if you’ve re-read the first sentence – the framework is free, but the child themes aren’t.
- WordPress Revision: 3.7.1
- Cherry Framework Version: 3.0
- WordPress Environment: localhost on Windows using WAMP
- Theme Used: Default Cherry Framework Theme
- Active Plugins: Hello Dolly
Download and Installation
Deploying the Cherry Framework is pretty straightforward and here’s how to get it done:
- First off we download the free Cherry Framework from GitHub
- Extract the files in the /wp-content/themes directory and activate the theme from WP Dashboard > Theme > Appearances
- Upon activation, the theme required two plugins – Contact Form 7 and Cherry Options
- I’d recommend installing both for proper functionality or at least the Cherry Options plugin
Once the theme is activated, you’re going to see a lot of new stuff in your dashboard that includes custom post types such as Testimonial, Services, FAQs, Slides, Portfolio and the Cherry Options panel.
Menu and Widgets
The default Cherry Framework theme supports two menus – header and footer. The Widgets however, deserve a special mention. We found a couple of new widgets bundled with the framework:
- 125×125 Ads – Display upto 4 125px by 125px ads using this widget in your sidebar, footer or any other custom sidebar
- vCard – Used to display your data
- Advanced Cycle – Rotate between the custom post types
- Recent Comments – Not the one that comes with WordPress, but a new one with a lot of customization options
- Social Networks, Facebook Like Box, Flickr, etc.
Cherry Options Panel
The Cherry Options Panel is by far one of the most powerful option panels out there. It has a plethora of customization options and we’re going to explore each one of them in detail, in the following paragraphs. The Option Panel is divided into 7 tabs as follows:
The General tab lets you customize the look and feel of your site. First let’s take a look at the options available and then read a bit about them:
- The Body Styling and Header Styling allow you to change your site’s background – use a repetitive pattern or any solid color.
- You can change the site’s layout between Fluid and Fixed Width using the Layout option.
- Typography: You have the ability to customize the font, font size (in pixels), color, line height and character set of your site’s fonts. The fonts can be selected from Google Web Fonts and the elements include body text i.e. the p tag and the H1 to H6 tags.
- You could turn on/off Breadcrumbs and Search Box from their respective options
- Finally, you can also integrate any Custom CSS by entering it in the box and hit Save Options
Logo & Favicon
The logo and favicon of a site are one of the most important factors when it comes to branding. The Cherry Framework gives you versatile options in this field. You can choose between an image or a plain text logo and set the your site’s favicon under this panel.
Under this tab you have options to animate ‘mouse hover’ and menu actions and change the menu’s typography. The changed typography will be applied to all menus – custom and default, except the fo
You can turn on/off slides and slideshows and play around with a lot of options under this tab.
The Blog page of the default theme is very impressive. You have a lot of customization options such as:
- Change blog layout between Left, Right, Full Width and Masonry (tiled layout)
- Display post specifics like tags, categories, author, like, etc
- Enable or disable Post Excerpts, and Post Meta
- Change the Read More button text and a lot more
The Portfolio options panel allows you to alter similar settings (and more) for the Portfolio page.
Finally, the footer options allows you to add a Footer Copyright text, Google Analytics Code, Feedburner URL and enable or disable the footer menu with custom typography.
A fancy name for sure, but it has incredible value. Under this dashboard, you can update the Cherry Framework and backup all your settings. Suppose you have a couple of similar projects and want to give each of them a common basic look – like font sets, etc. All you have to do is backup the settings here and apply them in the respective sites.
Import and Export
Similar to Data Management, using Import and Export, you can transfer entire site data from one WordPress installation to another. Although it’s mainly used to try out the demo look of the themes, it sure comes in handy during A/B testing.
Responsive CSS Framework and Font Icons
The Cherry Framework is built on the popular Bootstrap CSS framework, which means that all the CSS that’s there in Bootstrap should be available here. This also means that all the themes are responsive. That includes a huge library of font icons by Font Awesome. Check out this tutorial on how to use Font Awesome’s wonderful set of icons. Did you know that using font icons is the first step to retina ready design? That’s because font icons are vector based images and they can be infinitely scalable! You have a lot of shortcodes available that enable you to quickly insert design elements in your posts and pages.
One of the most powerful elements of a WordPress theme – the Cherry Framework v3.0 incorporates a lot of them. They’re divided into four main categories:
- Dynamic – used for content output (posts, custom post types, tags etc.)
- Grid Columns – various columns for grid forming.
- Elements – additional elements for content forming.
- Other – additional elements for advanced/complex content forming
Incorporating the shortcodes (especially the tables) can get a bit tricky. Thus I would recommend you to look into the guide mentioned here, under Shortcodes. But here’s the deal. What you need to know is right below:
- Links to other posts in list format, grid format and a recent posts list
- Banners and tables
- Sliders and carousels
- Service boxes to display information blocks
- Hero units to display major website information and promotions
- Columns in a range of configurations including fluid columns
- Buttons, block quotes, icons, alert boxes, tabs and accordions
For example, the image of the previous table that you saw a while back was generated with the the following shortcode:
Here is how to inset a progress bar:
Taking it further – The Cherry Store
As mentioned earlier, TemplateMonster has been one of the oldest theme marketplaces since 2002. They have a plethora of themes and HTML templates. The Cherry Framework itself has over 300 premium child themes starting at 38$. But as most of you are wondering, why the low downloads? Honestly, I too don’t know. Maybe Evanto’s marketing strategy is much better, or maybe they’ve established a better brand name when it comes to WordPress themes. I wouldn’t complain about the default theme that you get with the Cherry Framework – it’s well designed with a basic look.
So far, we’ve seen the loads of stuff the Cherry Framework has to offer. Being a free framework, it has my respect. I hope developers would release a few themes based on this framework – so that TemplateMonster gets some recognition for their recent efforts.
On another note, using too many shortcodes can be harmful. Why? That’s because, if in the future you decide to switch themes, (and frameworks) then all the shortcodes embedded in the site is lost and the site’s overall structure is broken. Which is why, its is always good to plan ahead. If you want to stick to this framework, then be my guest – use as many shortcodes as you’d like – not too many to slow down the page load times though! 😛
As always, we’d love to hear from our readers. Would you try out the Cherry Framework? I have and I liked it. We’d love to hear your thoughts!