WPKube

Cherry Framework – WordPress Theme Framework Review

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.

Review Setup

Download and Installation

Deploying the Cherry Framework is pretty straightforward and here’s how to get it done:

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:

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:

General

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:

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.

Navigation

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

Slider

You can turn on/off slides and slideshows and play around with a lot of options under this tab.

Blog

The Blog page of the default theme is very impressive. You have a lot of customization options such as:

Portfolio

The Portfolio options panel allows you to alter similar settings (and more) for the Portfolio page.

Footer

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.

Data Management:

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.

Shortcodes

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:

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:

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.

Conclusion

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!