A WordPress theme framework with a twist

0.3.0 2016-09-01 12:43 UTC


Baobab is born from the frustration of not finding a lean framework to develop our themes. The closest match we found - and we borrowed quite a bit from it - is Themosis but it was very much made to develop full web applications based on WordPress.

We wanted something to help us build great WordPress themes that could be installed anywhere. And this is how Baobab started.

Configuration over code

I believe that a theme should not contain any code that is not specific to it. As much work as possible should be done using configuration files. This is what Baobab provides for all components it uses: Kirki, TGM, etc.

Clean theme architecture

Baobab not only provides lots of tools to help you build a good theme, but we also have a blank sample theme to get you started with that. Introducing Balsa starter theme.

Not reinventing the wheel

Baobab was never meant to be yet another theme development framework including all you could need to build a theme. We instead chose to build on the best libraries available in the open-source world and make them work together in a unified way.

Theme customizer

Kirki is an enhancement to the WordPress customizer. We decided to stay clear from frameworks such as Redux in order to stick with the WordPress way of providing theme settings. Kirki is very much in the spirit of Baobab in that it provides just the code missing to make the WordPress customizer a better tool.

Template engine

Blade is a template language which aims at making rendering HTML enjoyable. We did not want to have files containing all those ugly <?php echo get_the_date() ?> statements. Instead we found that writing {{ get_the_date() }} was much nicer.

So we have decided to allow you to use all this goodness, borrowed some ideas from Themosis and Mickael Mattson, throw in my own improvements and there we have a Blade engine ready to be used in our themes.


I always find it a pity when premium themes provide their own plugins for such things as integrating Google Analytics, providing a portfolio post type, a contact form, etc. These features clearly belong to plugins: what happens when you switch themes? All your analytics settings - and worse - all your portfolio items are lost too because the post type is no longer declared.

So we need a good way to declare that our theme requires or recommends the use of this and that plugin. Well, TGM Plugin Activation is a well known library that does this thing for quite some time now. And they do it well. So we integrated it to Baobab and take care of all the boiler-plate code for you. Just specify your dependencies in the corresponding configuration file.