Chapter 17. Templates

Some Web designers handcraft sites with loving care, changing layouts, colors, fonts, banners, and navigation from page to page. But that approach isn’t always practical—or desirable. Consistency is a good thing. Web pages that look and act similarly reassure visitors; when only important material changes from page to page, readers can concentrate on finding the information they want. Even more importantly, a handcrafted approach is often unrealistic when you’re designing on a deadline.

Here’s where templates come in. Frequently, the underlying design of many pages on many Web sites is identical (see Figure 17-1). For instance, a company Web site with an employee directory may dedicate a single Web page to each employee. Each employee page probably has the same navigation bar, banner, footer, and layout. Only a few particulars differ, like the employee name, photo, and contact information.

Template Basics

Templates let you build pages that share a similar structure and graphic identity, quickly and without having to worry about accidentally deleting or changing elements. Templates come in very handy when you’re designing a site for which other, less Dreamweaver-savvy individuals are responsible for adding new pages. If you use a template, these underlings can modify only the areas of a page that you, the godlike Dreamweaver guru, define.


Tip: Macromedia Contribute, a simple, word processor–like program for updating Web sites, works very well with sites built ...

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