Chapter 21. Templates

Some web designers handcraft their sites with loving care, changing layouts, colors, fonts, banners, and navigation page by page. But that approach isn’t always practical—or desirable.

Consistency from page to page is a good thing. Web pages that look and act similarly reassure visitors; they can concentrate on each page’s unique content when the navigation bar and left sidebar stay the same. But even more important, a handcrafted approach to web design is often unrealistic when you need to crank out content on a deadline.

That’s where templates come in. Frequently, the underlying design of many website pages is identical (see Figure 21-1). An employee directory at a company site, for instance, may consist of individual pages dedicated to each employee. Each page has the same navigation bar, banner, footer, and layout. Only a few particulars change from page to page, like the employee’s name, photograph, and contact information. This is a perfect case for templates. This chapter shows you how templates can make quick work of building pages where most, if not all, of the pages use repetitive elements.

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 design a site where other, less Dreamweaver-savvy, individuals will build the individual pages. By using a template, you, the godlike Dreamweaver ...

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