Full Disclosure: I am just a general user of the application, and have no connection with "the company". I was an early adopter, and have a lifetime license. I have never used Atahualpa.
The Purpose of this Post: In my opinion, there is a general lack of information available to those interested in Themeframe. I don't think that this lack of information is "on purpose" or "malicious"; it is just lacking. If anything about this post is thought to be untrue, or objectionable, please let me know, as that is not my intent.
What is it: Themeframe is an application designed to allow folks that are not too comfortable with html, css, and php to visually build a WordPress theme.
Themeframe is a php based application. And, php is a server-based scripting language. So, what that means is that Themeframe (TF) lives on a server (more about this in a second) and the user uses TF with a browser.
The server I mention is not the remote server of your web hosting company, although some users do use it that way. TF is meant to be run on a "local server" running on your pc or mac. There are a few local server "packages" that are available for free online. You can search for "Xampp", "Mamp" "Wamp" "Easy php", "Ampps" for more information about these packages. What they all have in common, is that you install a web server on your local machine which is able to run php scripting, which is required to use TF. Most TF users have installed one or more of these packages without too many problems; But others have had some issues of one kind or another.
I would note here that installing a local server package is a great tool for testing your WordPress site locally, and you can do that (if you have not already) right now, without TF. The added benefit if you are considering TF, is that you will already have this component in place.
Also note that earlier in the development of TF, it was stated that the goal would be to rewrite the code of TF in a programming language that would allow it to run as a "typical" computer application without the additional requirement of the local server. But, this has not happened, and I would not expect it to any time soon.
How Does it Work?: How TF works is fairly straight forward. In the workspace, you see a rendered version of a webpage, and each of the elements in the page are able to be selected, which opens an editor where you can change the style of the element's css selector. The page in the workspace is updated with your changes so you can see the result. When you're all done editing, you generate/publish the theme. You then use it like any other WordPress theme.
Does it Work In short, Yes. Lots of nice themes have been built using Themeframe. After becoming comfortable (ok, how soon one becomes "comfortable" is somewhat subjective) with the application, users can knock out custom themes in fairly short order. If you have even a little html and css knowledge, and can use a browser's web development utility, e.g. Firebug, then the process will be even more productive.
Are there Problems?: The short answer here is also Yes.
First, as stated, TF is reliant on the local server package. If you run into problems setting it up, you will no doubt be frustrated.
Next, because TF uses a browser as an interface, it is also reliant on yet another piece of software. When a new version of a browser is released, it is possible that TF will not work with it. This is rare, but it has happened.
Both of these issues will be possible until TF is ported away from being php based.
As the TF application tries to do more and more, with layouts and responsive grids, sometimes php is not up to the task. And so the user must manually make changes relating to updating to newer versions, etc. Not that you cannot be successful, just that there are things that generally you don't expect to have to do with an application.
TF lacks "polish". Once again, I think this is mostly related to it's roots in php. The developer has a bunch of variables that he is trying to make play nice together, and sometimes there are "wrinkles".
Will TF be worth the money to you? There is no way for me to answer this one. If you are someone that is not happy with using a prebuilt theme, and are willing to accept that TF is not yet a typical computer application, then it could be your tool.
If you have tried a program like Artisteer, for example, don't expect TF to be on the same level as far as an application look and feel. You will have more issues with TF.
But, on the other hand, you will have more control over the design of your theme than a program like Artisteer affords. (Yes, I own and have used Artisteer)
In conclusion I think it is too bad that the powers here have decided that you must purchase TF in order to read the Themeframe Members section of the fourm. Other than distributing the software, (which could be handled another way) I don't see why it would not be beneficial for perspective purchasers to both see the successful results of TF as well as it's shortfalls before laying down the money. There is nothing secret on there that I can tell.
While this is just meant as a summary, if you are a TF user, and want to add something, have at it.
I hope that this will shine a little more light on TF for those in the dark about it.