You should treat a Windows SharePoint Services or SharePoint Server application solution as any other project and have a planning and requirements gathering phase, create standards, and then prototype, build, test, and deploy your solutions.
There is no visible difference between using site templates and using site definitions.
Site and list templates are methods of packaging solutions so that you can use them again, and are stored in the SQL Server database.
Site definitions and Features are also methods of packaging solutions, but require the skills of a developer and access to a Web server. They are files in the 12 hive.
Site and list templates can contain content and, by default, the limit to the size of a template file is 10 MB, which ...