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The WordPress theme designed specifically for speed.
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Frank is an open source WordPress theme designed for speed

Build Status

README Contents

About Frank

This theme has been the personal project of P.J. Onori with the gracious help of many. The theme was designed to provide a lightweight theme focused on the reading experience. Frank is the parent theme of Frank of Some Random Dude, the theme I use on

Frank is fast

Frank's main focus is speed. The parent theme's default home page makes 9 database queries and consists of 2 requests weighing ~29Kb (9.3Kb gzipped). Frank keeps it basic—no Javascript frameworks, no unnecessary images, just a simple, no-frills, screaming fast blog.

Frank is flexible

Frank has several different layouts to choose from for your home page. Most layouts let you specify the number of posts to show and from what categories. Templates can be stacked by any amount and order to give you the structure you need. Additionally, there are plenty of well-placed widgets that will give you that extra level of customization.

Frank is forward-thinking

Frank is built on HTML5 and CSS3. The theme strives for 100% valid HTML5 templates. One way Frank is so small is that it uses CSS3's effects and transitions to avoid unneeded images and Javascript. One side effect of this approach is that Frank does not support Internet Explorer 6 and moderately supports Internet Explorer 8.

Frank fits on your phone

Frank uses a subset of Foundation to provide a responsive layout for desktops, tablets and phones. Add this to the theme's small footprint and you have a mobile-optimized blog.

Frank is for you

This theme is 100% open source and developer friendly. The parent theme (/frank) is under the GNU Public License.

Frank ain't finished

There is always more to do, but I need help. This project relies on community support, so if you find this theme helpful, please contribute.

Using Frank

Javascript Modules


By default, the defer-image-load.js script is not loaded in the theme. You'll need to add the script within the <head> tag.

<img data-defer-src="/path/to/image.png" width="300" height="300" alt="Deferred Image" />


The Frank slideshow will be replaced with Gallery CSS in the upcoming 0.9.4 release.


The Frank modal will be replaced with CSS Modal in the upcoming 0.9.4 release.

Theme Options

Frank supports all the basic WordPress theme options you expect (plus more). All basic options (Widgets, Menus, Header & Background) can be found in the Appearance section. Frank also comes with theme-specific options found under Appearance > Frank Theme Options.

General Settings

Frank's General settings allow for small site adjustments, when you don't want to open up the hood and get your hands dirty.

Custom Header Code

The Custom Header Code setting allows you to add code in the head tag. This can be useful for adding Google Analytics/TypeKit Javascript snippets.

Custom Footer Code

The Custom Footer Code setting allows you to add code above the closing body tag. This can be used for quickly adding third-party Javascript references (e.g., Google's hosted Javascript libraries).

Tweet This/Twitter Handle

The Tweet This setting adds a tweet button on the left column of the single.php template. The tweet button replicates Twitter's own button without a reliance on Javascript. The Twitter Handler setting will add via @[USERNAME] to the end of the pre-filled tweet.

Home Page Settings

The Frank homepage template is set up to have customizable, modular content sections to display your posts in different ways.

Adding Content Sections

A new content section can be added by clicking the Add New Section button. This will add a blank section to the bottom of the section list. The section will not be displayed on your home page until you save the settings.

Removing Content Sections

Any section can be deleted by clicking the × button on the top right corner of the section pane. The section will not be removed from your home page until you save the settings.

Changing the Order of Content Sections

Sections can be dragged into the desired order by dragging the handle on the top left corner of any settings pane. The order will not be changed on your home page until you save the settings.

Display Section Header

Each section can have an individual title and caption. Checking this setting will allow you to enter a title and caption to be displayed at the top of the section.

Section Header

A title for the content section.

Section Caption

A description for the content section.

Display Type

Frank has various loop types for the home page, depending on your needs.

  • Default Loop: This loop is the basic loop found in most WordPress themes. It incorporates none of the options found in other loops, such as custom post counts, category filters etc. The Default loop also displays a sidebar on the right hand side.

  • One Up (Regular): The One Up loop displays one post per column with with no sidebar. The typographic size of the header and copy closely resemble that of the Default Loop.

  • One Up (Large): The One Up Large loop displays one post per column with with no sidebar. The typographic size of the header is much larger, making it suitable for a featured section.

  • Two Up: The Two Up loop two posts per column with with no sidebar.

  • Three Up: The Three Up loop two posts per column with with no sidebar.

  • Four Up: The Four Up loop two posts per column with with no sidebar.

Number of Posts

This setting allows you to define how many posts you want displayed in the loop. Note: This setting does not work for the Default Loop as it will use the number of posts defined in by the Blog pages show at most setting in Settings > Reading.

Categories to Display

If you only want to show specific categories in a section, you can choose which to display in the checklist. Note: If no categories are selected, the section will default to displaying all categories (I know, this is a little wonky, I will be working on this in future versions). This setting will also not work for the Default Loop.

Performance Settings

Remove WordPress version meta tag

There are potential security risks associated with exposing your version of WordPress. Removing this meta tag will also shave a few bytes off of the generated HTML.

Remove version URL parameter from scripts

The version URL parameter can prevent files from caching in certain browsers. If you want more reliable caching of your scripts, turn this feature on.

Remove version URL parameter from stylesheets

The version URL parameter can prevent files from caching in certain browsers. If you want more reliable caching of your stylesheets, turn this feature on.

Theme Modification

The Frank theme was always intended to be built upon. All CSS and Javascript are compiled from pre-processor languages (SCSS & CoffeeScript). For those with less experience using pre-processor languages (especially how to compile them through the command line), For a full run-down on how to modify Frank, refer to the development setup section. It is also highly suggested that any significant modifications are built out as a child theme.


Frank uses Compass for SCSS compilation and takes advantage of its mixins and functions. Installing Compass is necessary to successfully compile the theme's SCSS, but it's quite easy. The theme includes the Compass config file to make life a little easier.

SCSS Structure

The styles for Frank are broken up by subject matter. The style.scss file is the only file you should compile. It takes all the SCSS files and builds it into the theme's style.css. All colors, typefaces, font sizes and other visual attributes can be altered in the variables.scss file. Site-wide styles can be found in the global.scss file. All template-specific styles are found in the SCSS file with its matching name.

Foundation-based Grid

Frank uses a pared-down version of Foundation v2 for its grid system. The Foundation framework was modified to remove unneeded styles and features. All Foundation code is found in stylesheets/scss/grid.scss.


Frank does not depend on Javascript, but it does include some small Javascript components if you need them. All Javascript is compiled from CoffeeScript files which can be found in javascripts/coffeescript

Theme Optimization

The Frank theme is pretty lean by default, but there's a lot you can do to make it faster. Below are some simple tips for keeping Frank fast.

Minify style.css

By default, the style.css file is not minified for legibility. Minifying your stylesheet should be the first thing you do. The easiest way to accomplish this is to change the Compass SCSS compilation setting. To do this, open the config.rb file and change the output_style variable from :expanded to :compressed.

Use Widgets Wisely

Frank has various widget spaces for you to customize your theme. Used correctly, widgets can theoretically improve performance. The Navigation widget is one way to lower the amount of database queries WordPress makes (6 -7 queries in my experience). By using a text widget in the Navigation widget section and adding an unordered list like the example below, you can save quite a few database queries.

<ul id="menu-primary" class="menu">
    <li class="menu-item"><a href="/page-1">Page 1</a></li>
    <li class="menu-item"><a href="/page-2">Page 2</a></li>
    <li class="menu-item"><a href="/page-3">Page 3</a></li>

Avoid jQuery (or any other JS framework for that matter)

Frank comes with some simple Javascript components that do not rely on jQuery. Unless your site has heavy web-app-ish features, it is strongly suggested to avoid using a framework.

Install Alternative PHP Cache (APC)

APC will provide significant performance increases if used correctly. There are plenty of guides for installing APC on Google.

Install W3 Total Cache (W3TC)

W3TC is the easiest way to take full advantage of APC. W3TC has a wide range of features, but if you build your theme correctly, you shouldn't need to use most of them.

W3 Total Cache Tips
  • Manually combine and minify your CSS/JS files. Relying on W3 Total Cache for this process will require extra CPU cycles.
  • W3TC offers the option to connect to content delivery networks (CDNs). CDNs are great, but if you keep your site small, they become unnecessary. If your site is getting serious traffic or contains a large amount of images or video, a CDN may make sense, but for the rest of you, save your time and money.

Development Setup

If you have cloned Frank from the Github repo, you will need to build the files for it to run properly. There are two different methods to do this:

Method #1: Less Steps, Less Awesomeness

Sometimes you just need the basics. If running commands in the terminal is a little too much for you, we suggest you use a tool like CodeKit to help you with the preprocessor compiling.


CodeKit will ask you to add a project. Just select the 'frank' theme folder and CodeKit should do the rest. Note: You're going to have much less control and ability to optimize the theme through with method. This approach is advisable if you just want to build Frank the quick-and-dirty way.

Method #2: More Steps, More Awesomeness

If you want to get into the nitty-gritty and really get Frank running as fast as possible, you'll need to use our Grunt tasks.


Frank's automation tools use Node.js, Ruby, Compass, SASS, CSSCSS, Composer and WebP. Phew, that's a mouthful. We're constantly working to whittle this list down, but for now, this is what's necessary.

Install Node.js

Download the installer

If you'd prefer to use a package manager, here's a full run-down on all the ways to do it.

Install Ruby 1.90+

Many of the Grunt tasks rely on Ruby gems to do some of the heavy lifting. The gems used depend on Ruby 1.90+. To see what version of Ruby you're running, run the following command in your terminal:

$ ruby -v

Install Compass

We rely on Compass to make SASS preprocessing all that more awesome. Install Compass by running:

$ gem update --system && gem install compass

Install SASS

All CSS for the theme is generated from SASS. Install SASS on your machine by running:

$ gem update --system && gem install sass

Install CSSCSS

Frank uses CSSCSS to check for CSS rule redundancy. Install CSSCSS by running:

$ gem update --system && gem install csscss

Install Composer

Frank also uses the PHP package manager []Composer for a couple of tasks. Refer to Composer's installation documentation for a detailed breakdown of all options.

Install WebP binary

The grunt-webp plugin depends on Google's WebP binary. You'll need to download the cwebp binary and install it locally.

Package Installations

Full details on getting started with Grunt

Open up a terminal window, cd into the Frank theme folder and run the following commands:

$ php composer.phar install

$ npm install

Once that's complete, you'll need to install the WordPress Coding Standard for PHP_Codesniffer.

And with that, you're finally done.


General Development

For basic compilation of SASS and CoffeeScript files, run the following command in your terminal:

$ grunt

Automatic SASS/Coffeescript Compilation

If you're modifying Frank and want your SASS and CoffeeScript to build when a file is modified, run:

$ grunt watch

Testing, Linting and Code Quality

We don't have a ton of tests running just yet, but have a lot more in store for the future. To test your files, run:

$ grunt test


Frank is all about optimization, so a lot of the magic happens here. To run all the optimization tasks, run:

$ grunt opt

Generating Documentation

To build the documentation, run:

$ grunt docs


If you'd like a clean copy of the theme without any of the files for development or preprocessor files, run:

$ grunt dist

Browser Compatibility

Frank is focused on modern desktop and mobile browser support. Frank works decently on Internet Explorer 8+. No guarantees are given for any earlier IE versions.

WordPress Compatibility

Frank was built and tested on WordPress 3.4.3. Any future development of the theme will be focused on supporting the most current version of WordPress.


This theme was built with significant help of some great folks. My sincere thanks to Felix Holmgren, Jon Christopher and Josh McDonald for their tremendous contributions.

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