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 18-1). 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.
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. They 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 will be able to modify only the areas of a page that you, the godlike Dreamweaver guru, define.
Macromedia Contribute, a simple, word processor—like program for updating Web sites, works very well with sites built ...