The Sparky Framework is another template framework for Joomla! However, we did our best to make it differently from the others. The slogan of Sparky Framework is the only framework that won't make you feel framed. You could guess from the slogan that our aim when making this framework was to make something that can be used for development of literally any kind of template, without any restrictions in layout, number of modules, their sizes, etc.
All existing Joomla template frameworks that we have tried gives you a pre-defined layout which you can modify more or less for your needs. In Sparky Framework, you are starting from a blank page. Actually, you are starting from the Layout Builder which allows you to set your future site width (full screen 100% is also supported). Next, from the same place you can add rows for your future template and to fill these rows with module positions of your selection. Sparky uses 12-column grid. The grid is flexible, so beside the width, you can set the grid's gutter size (paddings and margins of grid elements). All these tasks are done using graphical drag and drop interface, so you can accomplish your layout in less than a minute (if you know how your layout should look).
In the Layout Builder, while all available module positions are colored gray, you will notice some elements are colored red. The most important of these elements is Content which represents the main content of your Joomla template. The second is Logo which is similar to regular module positions, but it represents logo as per settings from the Features tab (see below). There are some more, but those two are the most important.
The layout you created with Sparky will be responsive with 3 trigger widths, for screen resolutions over 980px, between 768px and 979px and less than 768px. For the first two, layout will be narrowed to fit the screen size better. For the smallest screens (like mobile phones), layout will show all the cells (module positions) as full width (100%) elements. The top menu will be switched to a button for mobile screens. Trigger resolution is also parametrized. The responsive feature of Sparky can be disabled, if you don't need to make a responsive website.
Sparky Framework allows you to control typography, but of course, it doesn't include all text parameters that CSS has. However, the most commonly used parameters (font-family, color, size, style, width...) for the most commonly used tags (h1-h4, p, links...) can be controlled entirely through Sparky. All these settings, and also detailed settings for template's background color or image, can be found under Style Designer tab.
The next tab with several sub-tabs is Features. There you can set your template's logo as image or textual logo with slogan. Top Panel can "hide" the first row of your modules and make them available on a button click (open/close). Font resizer, Google Analytics and Scroll to Top are handy features that you may add to your site, if you find them useful. Between them, you can see the Google Web Fonts sub-tab where you can add fonts from this popular web service. Later, you can use these fonts from the Style Designer.
Since we already know how important are the menus for all Joomla sites, we developed the Menus Settings tab which allows you full control over all menus that you created in your Joomla Menu Manager. When you open this tab for the first time, you will see all your menus listed and next to each there's a select box with None selected. This means that Sparky doesn't control that menu. However, when you click the select box, one from 4 menu options can be selected: drop-down menu (usually used for top menus with drop-down sub-menus), horizontal menu (similar to top menu, but the second level is shown horizontally), accordion menu, etc. After selecting a menu type, various options related to this menu type will be opened. More menu types might be added in future easily because Sparky Framework has a modular structure. To show the menu on site, you would just need to publish an instance of core Joomla menu module into the module position of you preference.
There are 2 versions of Sparky Framework, FREE and PRO. In free version you can enjoy almost all features of the framework. A feature available only in PRO version is Export. After you finish development of your site with Sparky, you can export your work. As result, you will get a new template with name that you selected. All traces of Sparky Framework name will be changed with your new template name. This feature might be useful for professional Joomla template developers.
Additional information can be found on the Sparky Framework main page. There are also some tutorial videos that might help you to get started. FREE version of Sparky can be downloaded from here. PRO version (beside all other templates and modules) is available for all HotThemes Joomla template club members.
Last but not least, we would like to mention that we are still working on Sparky Framework development and on development of its drag and drop user interface to make it more usable and easier to use. We are using it for all our Joomla templates and with each new release, we are thinking about features that might be added to Sparky (or that might be removed as rarely used). If you have any feedback, please don't hesitate to contact us or post on our support forum.