Cherry Framework Review for WordPress

There are plenty of WordPress theme frameworks available today, and they are becoming increasingly popular with those who want lots of extra easy to use functionality, while still being able to give their site a personalised look by using a supported child theme.

One WordPress framework that has been increasing its profile lately is the Cherry Framework from TemplateMonster. This is actually a free WordPress framework, which you might be surprised to know currently has 364 child themes available for it. This means that by installing the free framework, you can then choose from over 300 themes that have been designed for it.

Cherry Framework Features

There are two main reasons why you might want to install and use a particular WordPress framework:

  • You want access to the functionality of the framework
  • You want to use one of the themes that has been built using the framework

Both are equally valid reasons, but let’s start off by looking at the features and functionality of the Cherry Framework and see if they are strong enough to persuade you to use it.

Shortcode Issue Resolved

When I’d used this framework in the past, much of the functionality of the theme was delivered using shortcodes. These shortcodes allowed you to easily insert items including:

  • Post lists, such as recent posts
  • Post elements, such as banners and hero units
  • Post and page layouts, including columns and rows
  • Elements, such as buttons, labels, icons and progress bars
  • Lists and bullet icons
  • Tabs, accordions and tables

While shortcodes are easy for users to insert into their posts and pages, they do pose problems when someone wants to change frameworks. As the shortcodes relate to parts of the framework, when the framework is deactivated, the shortcodes no longer work and the site is effectively, to varying degrees, broken for the end user.

However, with the latest version of the Cherry Framework, shortcodes and widgets have been pushed out to a plugin which is auto-installed alongside the framework. This means that should you decide to change frameworks in the future, you aren’t at risk of losing the functionality your site currently makes use of, providing you keep the plugin installed.

This is great news and means that users can now give this framework a try without worrying about being locked in, or facing the prospect of editing all their content upon exit.

Cherry Shortcodes

To use the shortcodes, simply click on the icon that the plugin adds to the post editor and then choose from the available options. If the shortcodes accept any parameters, a popup lightbox window will ask you for them.

Theme Options

Cherry Options

Once installed and activated, the framework adds its own control panel to the admin area of your site which can be accessed via the ‘Cherry Options’ menu item. From here you can customise many aspects of the theme you are using with the framework. These include the general appearance, which relates to things like the background colour and image for the site, text appearance for the different classes such as the body and headers, and you can also set the link behaviours.

With this framework, you get a real sense of control over how your site’s content will be displayed, thanks to the ability to set different fonts, sizes, line heights and colours for each class. This means if you felt it necessary, you could set each header style, H1, H2, etc., to not only be a different colour but also a different font.

Cherry Font Options

As the framework has well-developed portfolio functionality and support, the framework options area has a separate tab for this part of your site. From there you can work with the many settings available to determine exactly how your portfolio will be displayed. These settings include the layout and whether to use rows or a masonry effect and how many items to show depending on how many columns are being used.

Cherry Font Portfolio

Imports

If you are starting off with a new site, or just want to import some data into your existing WordPress site, then you will be pleased to know that the framework and its themes comes complete with sample data which can be imported via the theme option’s import sub-page.

Cherry Import

During the import process, you can also import a group of widgets for use on the sidebars of your site.

The theme I used for this review was the Consulting Responsive WordPress Theme #47225. After running the import of the included files, the theme was faithfully rebuilt to exactly resemble the demo version of the theme. This is another great aspect of the framework and the service provided, as it makes it very easy to setup a theme to look like the demo version. From there it’s just a case of editing the content to include your information.

Cherry Theme Import

Updates

The version of Cherry Framework I am reviewing is 3.0, which was released towards the end of 2013. The developers state that the framework is maintained with constant updates. Thankfully they are very easy to manage as a notification is displayed to users via their WordPress dashboard, indicating that an update is available. As the themes are delivered as child themes, your work and changes won’t be overwritten when the framework is updated. This makes it a safe choice for those who want to stay up to date, without the risk of losing their customisations and modifications.

However, for extra peace of mind, the framework comes with a Data Management feature which allows you to back and restore your site including the theme and the framework separately. This can be done at will, including before updating, and gives you peace of mind when embarking on an update or carrying out any major changes to your chosen theme. The backups can be downloaded and stored off-site for maximum protection against any loss or corruption.

Cherry Backup

Themes for Cherry Framework

No matter how good a framework’s features and user experience are, if it doesn’t have the themes to run on it, then it’s not going to be much use, unless you plan to design your own themes for it.

As mentioned early, there are over 300 themes for the Cherry Framework which is perhaps the most themes for any one particular framework. While the framework itself is free, the themes are not but with the average price listed at $38, they are competitively priced.

Cherry Themes

There a lot of different categories of WordPress theme available at the TemplateMonster store for this framework, including business, travel, animals, hotels, weddings and security to name but a few.  Some of my favourite examples include:

A lot of the themes are built using Bootstrap and are responsive, making them suitable for use on a range of devices from smartphones to desktops, and everything in between. Overall, I was very impressed with the design of the themes and with over 300 to choose from, there should be something there for most projects.

When you purchase a theme, which you can currently do for $38, you also get the option of having it installed for you at an extra charge. There is also the option of a buyout license. This option makes you the last buyer of the template, taking it off the market, as well giving you the ability to use the theme on multiple domains. This is a good option for someone who wants a unique design for their site, although it does come with quite a hefty price tag.

You can also choose from a range of ‘done for you’ theme customisation services, such as implementing your logo and changing the colour scheme. If you want a theme for your business or project, and don’t want to spend your time editing the settings, these optional extras will appeal. Unlike some other frameworks, there are no pricing plans or deals in place to give you a discount for buying multiple themes.

Installation and Setup

If you are new to WordPress frameworks then you will be pleased to know this one is very easy to setup. Simply upload the zip file containing the framework files via the WordPress theme uploader (found at Appearance > Themes > Install Themes). Then either activate and explore the framework, or upload and activate the child theme files, which can be done in the same way.

When you purchase a theme, the Cherry Framework files are included, so everything you need is there in the package, along with the import data and the shortcodes plugin.

Conclusion

You don’t often hear much about this framework, which is strange considering how many great themes there are for it. The themes themselves are the main draw though, as the framework itself, while totally competent, doesn’t really wow you with its features and user experience. It just does what it needs to do, in order to provide an easy to use framework from which to install the many WordPress themes available for it.

Now that the issue with the shortcodes has been resolved, with them having been moved to a plugin, hopefully more of the themes for Cherry Framework will start making it on to WordPress theme list roundups.

Have you used Cherry Framework before, and were you aware it had so many themes available for it?

Tags: , ,

Category: Themes

About the Author ()

Joe has been using WordPress for many years, for a number of different purposes. From personal blogs, to full-blown retail websites, and has even designed his own theme from scratch. He now enjoys using his WordPress experience to report on the latest news, and provide reviews and information on the best and worst themes and plugins on offer. Google Profile

Comments (2)

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  1. Anja Gerz says:

    Hi Joe,
    A client has a wordpress website (version 3.5.1) with a pretty CherryFrame theme. However scans show errors such as:

    Broken hyperlinks,
    Multiple canonical formats,
    Large script code
    Slow loadtime (especially mobile)

    Have you heard about these errors before? Would installing wp 3.8.2 improve the situation?

    Thx

  2. Solid? It’s one of the worst ”Frameworks” i have ever seen.

    CherryFramework is not more a framework than any other poorly coded theme that you see on certain premium theme markets.

    1. Install.
    – ”This theme requires the following plugin: Contact Form 7.”
    – This theme recommends the following plugin: MotoPress Content Editor.

    Say what? Having a framework relying on a third-party plugin (even if it’s a good one straight from the WordPress.org Plugin Directory) is not what you expect from a Framework.
    The MotoPress Content Editor plugin is a commercial plugin with a commercial license not compatible with the GPL what so ever (and by including the plugin itself in the Framework, the CherryFramework may break the GPL license which it ships with).

    It’s failing already from the beginning.

    2. Ok, installed and activated. Wait a minute. The ”Framework” has installed and activated plugins without my knowledge silently in the background. While it’s good practice to keep plugin functionality separate from a theme, it’s not good practice to do like this. You can get blacklisted for less.

    3. Oh, a everlasting nag! ”Import Sample Data – If you want to install sample data from livedemo you need to go to Import Content and follow the tips.”. Ok, where is the livedemo sample data? Looking for it in the theme folder, but nothing. Looking for it on CherryFramework site. Nothing. Looking for in the online documentation. ”Open “theme/sample_data” directory from the template package”. There is no ”theme/sample_data” directory”. Ok, so i skip this.

    4. Cherry Options. Hooray! A special Options Page for everything in a Theme Framework! At last! Yes, i’m being sarcastic. And wow! They ALSO using the WordPress Theme Customization API for SOME options (but not all).

    You have the amazing option to display a Cookie Banner!

    5. Theme Check.
    – Places without the theme text domain (for used for localizations).
    – The theme uses shortcode functionality (why then even bother to bundle a separate plugin?
    – ”Found ini_set in the file Requirements.php. Themes should not change server PHP settings.” WT*?

    – ”WARNING: Found base64_decode in the file Shortcode.php. base64_decode() is not allowed.”

    – ”WARNING: web.config Server settings file found.”

    – ”WARNING: readfile was found in the file download_backup.php File operations should use the WP_Filesystem methods instead of direct PHP filesystem calls.”

    – ”WARNING: fwrite was found in the file (a couple of files) File operations should use the WP_Filesystem methods instead of direct PHP filesystem calls.”

    – ”REQUIRED: The theme uses the register_taxonomy() function, which is plugin-territory functionality.”

    – ”REQUIRED: The theme uses the register_post_type() function, which is plugin-territory functionality.”

    – ”REQUIRED: The tags can only contain a call to wp_title(). Use the wp_title filter to modify the output”

    – ”REQUIRED: Please remove any extraneous directories like .git or .svn from the ZIP file before uploading it.”

    – ”REQUIRED: Found a Customizer setting that did not have a sanitization callback function. Every call to the add_setting() method needs to have a sanitization callback function passed.”

    – ”REQUIRED: screen_icon() found in the file motopressOptions.php. Deprecated since version 3.8.”

    – ”REQUIRED: screen_icon() found in the file class-tgm-plugin-activation.php. Deprecated since version 3.8.”

    – ”REQUIRED: (numerous of files). Themes should use add_theme_page() for adding admin pages.”

    – ”REQUIRED: image_resize() found in the file aq_resizer.php. Deprecated since version 3.5. Use wp_get_image_editor() instead.”

    – ”REQUIRED: get_theme_data() found in the file update.php. Deprecated since version 3.4. Use wp_get_theme() instead.”

    -”REQUIRED: get_bloginfo(‘url’) was found in the file update.php. Use home_url() instead.”

    – ”REQUIRED: bloginfo(‘url’) was found in the file update.php. Use echo esc_url( home_url() ) instead.”

    – ”Hard-coded links were found in the file locals.php.”

    – ”INFO: seo_settings_page.php The theme appears to use include or require. If these are being used to include separate sections of a template from independent files, then get_template_part() should be used instead.”

    It was just 32 A4 Papers of errors, warnings, notices and infos. While some of them could be ”explained”, most of them is just not looking good.

    And the Framework is using ”@import “css/style.css”;” oh lord…

    And yay! Another thing that is not GPL compatible! (elastislide). And The Framework is using a old version of aq_resizer.

    To be honest, this ”Framework” is more of a snippets cut & paste theme without no serious organization or quality. It really doesn’t matter if the ”Framework” was developed for a older version of WordPress.

    They really need to refactor the whole thing and start over again.

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