There are quite a bunch of frameworks for WordPress. Hybrid, Thematic and Carrington to name the most well known. Most of them could be used right away as themes, but the fact of the inclusion of many new hooks and filters makes them suitable for re-utilization of the theme. The Elastic theme was born like a WordPress framework but recently its author started calling it a theme engine. Why? read on.
Daryl Koopersmith is the author of the Elastic theme engine and he states that the difference between a theme engine and a theme framework is that
a theme framework is a theme that serves as a starting point for other themes.
A theme engine is a theme or plugin that changes the way WordPress renders themes.
As such, Elastic is provided as a plugin for WordPress (although I’m sure you will agree that WordPress themes are somehow, plugins). This would be a nice solution for multiple blogs to provide control on content loading. David also says that with Elastic, templates are based on modules instead of pages.
Elastic is also a theme generator that you can use right within the WordPress admin interface. The following video displays how to create a brand new WordPress theme using the Elastic visual editor.
The generated themes however, require the theme engine to work, so you can’t built a theme and dismiss the Elastic theme engine. On the other hand, I haven’t tested it, but I don’t think you can’t edit other themes using the Elastic visual editor. All in all, looks very promising for multiple blogs installations and novice users will be delighted with a visual editor that, while far away, follows the steps of the Blogger visual editor.