Variations Template Theme is VTT: a WordPress theme and a template framework.
VTT, at its core, is a standalone theme with two variations: a light version and a dark version. The theme uses template parts (introduced in WP 3.0) such as header, footer, and sidebars with a few user-controlled settings via the Customizer.
Extending VTT with a child theme is where its real power as a framework comes into play. A child theme of VTT can introduce any number of variations that override the core template parts as well as the stylesheet. In addition, one variation can inherit the template parts and styles of a parent variation. Because of this inheritance, VTT makes grandchild theming possible and does so completely within a single theme: no plugins needed here. Administrators can also control which variations are available on a given site.
Additionally, because all variations reside within one child theme, common theme specific settings such as custom CSS, header and background images, title colors, and even widgets are preserved as you move from one variation to another. VTT allows the flexibility you want while keeping your content presentation in the theme, where it belongs.
Aaron Forsyth has been employed in various distributed IT units at UNC Charlotte for the last 10 years. In 2010 he began dabbling in web development and dove into WordPress shortly thereafter. Forsyth is currently working as the Academic Technologies Developer for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. He holds a BA in Mathematics and an MS in Information Technology from UNC Charlotte.
Alex Chapin is the executive director of Academic Technologies for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at UNC Charlotte. He has been involved with the design and development of technologies for teaching, learning and research for over 15 years at a number of institutions including Columbia University, University of Virginia, Middlebury College and UNC Charlotte.