[Seaside] importance of templates?

Cees de Groot cg@cdegroot.com
20 May 2002 12:08:34 +0200

Avi Bryant <avi@beta4.com> said:
>One of the major goals of a lot of the work I've done with web tools has
>been to allow the HTML templates to be as clean and decoupled from the
>code as possible, so that they can be maintained by a designer
>independently of the development of the logic.
I usually let my design guy do his thing in FrontPage, and then take
the end result and refactor it in headers, footers, etcetera (all in
VisualWorks SSP). I'm not happy with that, though, because every time my
marketing-oriented colleagues decide for a new look, I have a lot of work.

On the other hand, one of the things we in particular are offering is
complete customization for affiliates - they can point to our site in their
own look-and-feel (which also has all pointers removed to our own site, so
that we don't appear as a competitor to them). There are two ways to achieve
- Generate components including L&F parameters from a database;
- Generate components and use stylesheets (be it CSS or XSL). 
As 100% of our affiliates is not stylesheet-savvy, we just decided to move
away from SSP files and generate all the stuff from Smalltalk.

On the other hand, we host Zope and we do a lot of product development
in Zope.  For example, we have the "Targeted Marketing Tool", which
is an expensive name for an opt-in mailing list manager with lots of
bells'n'whistles. The typical integration work here is that you have 1
"front-office" page, where users are pointed to from the main website
or other marketing materials; this page has the subscription form
and usually must be in the site's look-and-feel. There are a number of
backoffice pages that customers are happy to have tweaked only w.r.t. the
color scheme. So you have 1 or 2 pages in which our code must appear,
for a relatively low-end product the whole refactoring thing is too
expensive. It would be extremely useful here to have the customer deliver
one or two templates.

Generally speaking, I think there are two main classes of websites:
- Content with code embedded;
- Software.
Templates seem to be useful to me for the first category.

Cees de Groot               http://www.cdegroot.com     <cg@cdegroot.com>
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