For designer and developer that frequently work with WordPress, using theme framework is the most efficient way to create a WordPress theme. The framework allows to create theme more quickly without having to load the template down with a ton of WordPress programming or repeating writing a code and frequently checking your mark-up.

Below i provide an overview of some of the best FREE starter framework with some features itself.

Thematic

Price: Free!
Thematic
Thematic is a free, open-source, highly extensible, search-engine optimized WordPress Theme Framework featuring 13 widget-ready areas, grid-based layout samples, styling for popular plugins, and a whole community behind it. It’s perfect for beginner bloggers and WordPress development professionals.
Thematic Features
  •     Perfect to use as-is or as a blank WordPress theme for development
  •     Fully Search-Engine Optimized
  •     Extra widget-ready areas (13 in total) and more possible in your Child Theme
  •     Free and commercially supported Child Themes are available for upgrading the theme
  •     Includes a sample WordPress Child Theme for rapid development
  •     A wiki-editable guide to Thematic Customization
  •     Ready for WordPress plugins like Subscribe to Comments, WP-PageNavi, and Comment-license
  •     Fully compatible with All-In-One SEO and Platinum SEO plugins
  •     Multiple, easy to implement, bulletproof layout options for 2, or 3 column designs
  •     Modular CSS with pre-packaged resets and basic typography
  •     Dynamic post and body classes make it a hyper-canvas for CSS artists
  •     Editable footer text—remove the theme credit without harming the theme
  •     Options for multi-author blogs

Whiteboard

Price: Free!
 
Whiteboard
Whiteboard is not like most other WordPress Frameworks out there. While most other WordPress Frameworks include a mess of styles, functions, and content areas that have to be cleaned out for nearly every project, Whiteboard remains a true WordPress Framework. Whiteboard includes only the core WordPress structure and does not get fancy with unnecessary functions. While Whiteboard does include Less Framework and a minimal theme, these can be easily removed with the exclusion of a line of HTML each.
Whiteboard Framework Features
  •     A completely Free and Open Source framework
  •     Reduces WordPress development time
  •     Multi-lingual compatible
  •     Built with Less Framework and CSS3 for an instant mobile website
  •     Comes with a minimalist design to build off of, but easy to remove to build from scratch
  •     Strong and flexible div structure
  •     Lightweight and well-noted code
  •     Strong Search Engine Optimization
  •     Compatible with WordPress 3.0 and up with fallbacks for older versions of WordPress
  •     More dynamic Classes and IDs than any other WordPress framework
  •     Supports many awesome WordPress features such as manageable menus, background, and header image as well as featured images, several widget areas, and more
  •     Follows the Web Accessibility Initiative
  •     HTML5 with graceful degradation
  •     CSS3 Animations with graceful degradation
  •     Follows WordPress’ CSS Coding Standards
  •     Cross browser compatible

Hybrid

Price: Free!
 
hybrid
Hybrid Core is a WordPress theme development framework for creating solid parent themes. It allows theme developers to forget about all the complex functionality and dive straight into coding their theme’s HTMLCSS, and JavaScript.
Hybrid Features
  • A breadcrumbs script that works on any type of page WordPress throws at it, even custom post types and taxonomies.
  • A cleaner version of the shortcode that fixes the invalid HTML and provides full control over gallery design.
  • Creates paginated links for blog, search, and archive pages that look more beautiful than the standard previous/next links.
  • A feature that allows you to create multiple layouts as well as provide per-post (any post type) control over the layout.
  • Featured images on steroids. This script works alongside WordPress’ featured images and provides many extra options.
  • An settings extension built on top of the WordPress Settings API that creates a slick UI with meta boxes.
  • Hybrid Core was built with translating in mind. Plus, it auto-loads translations for both the parent and child themes.
  • The framework is pre-packaged with the Superfish jQuery plugin as well as base CSS to handle drop-downs.
  • A feature that allows you to create and use custom templates for any post type. You’re not just limited to page templates anymore.
  • more info

Gantry

Price: Free!
 
gantry
Gantry is a powerful framework that RocketTheme uses as the basis for all of its Joomla and WordPress theme designs, and we have made it available to you via the GPL license. You are free to use it in your theme development projects. Please check out the Documentation for full details and information on how to implement Gantry in your own projects.
 
Key Features
  • Responsive grid system
  • WordPress 3.2+ support
  • Stunning new administrator interface
  • XML driven with overrides for unprecedented levels of customization
  • Powerful built-in fields
  • Per override level control over any configuration parameter
  • Preset any combination of configuration parameters, and save custom presets
  • Built-in extensible AJAX communication layer
  • RTL language support
  • Flexible grid layout system for unparalleled control over block sizes
  • Optimized codebase with speed, size, and reuse core tenets of the framework design
  • Growl-style event notifications
  • Responsive HTML5 base template
  • 65 base widget positions
  • 38 possible layout combinations for mainbody and sidebars
  • 4 Column Mainbody
  • Many built-in widgets and gizmos such as font-sizer, Google PrettyPrint, Google Analytics, to-top smooth slider, etc.
  • Ability to force ‘blank’ widget positions for even more advanced layout customization
  • Flexible parameter system with ability to set parameters via URL, Cookie, Session, Presets, etc.
  • Advanced typography
  • WordPress base styling
  • Automatic per-browser-level CSS and JS control
  • more info
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