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#1 Ninjakreborn

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 06:49 PM

Do you consider templates good to use or not.  How many people on here use templates all the time, or just for a few websites.  Should I use one just for my personal site, I seem to do allright when it's for a client, but when it's for me I always get stuck, any advice?

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#2 jcombs_31

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 06:59 PM

haven't you asked this already?  Templates are for people that really just can't create their own site from scratch. 

#3 Ninjakreborn

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 07:15 PM

yes but 5-10 people on here said to use template, 5-10 people on here said not to use templates, it's confusing sort of.

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#4 neylitalo

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 07:24 PM

Well, if you haven't got the time, money, resources, etc., to create your own, then templates are a good way to go. However, there are downsides. They can be very expensive (so expensive as to justify spending the money to have someone create one for you), and don't usually follow good design techniques. Sure, they look good - but they're usually exclusively tables and images, so they can be rather hard to work with.
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#5 dbrimlow

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 08:57 PM

>>Templates are for people that really just can't create their own site from scratch.<<

Oh come on, guys, don't be snobs. How many of you ALWAYS start every single page, tag, code from scratch and don't recycle even one snippet?

There are some good, free, validated css-xhtml templates out there for you start from to either reverse engineer or modify - for the layouts, not the design and style.

If I use a pre-made template, I do it because the layout is stable, the code is clean and it looks like the author used some good techniques (like floating cross-browser/IE layout without any hacks or rounded corners using css and no graphics).

Any that have some background graphics, I will be changing in photoshop to suit my own project as well as the actual styles, anyway.

If you look at some of the xhtml-css (only) templates here, you will find submissions by quite a few amazing css gurus. http://www.ex-designz.net/template/ But stay away from the other templates (like Dreamweaver, flash, etc.) there, because they are indeed graphic heavy tag bloated table based stuff.

In particular, look for the template "a bit liquid". It is a brilliant design that is completely fluid and stable in all IEs and doesn't use a single hack.


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#6 redbullmarky

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 09:22 PM

>>Templates are for people that really just can't create their own site from scratch.<<

Oh come on, guys, don't be snobs. How many of you ALWAYS start every single page, tag, code from scratch and don't recycle even one snippet?


i'm with jcombs on this one, 100%. and theres nothing snobby about that comment.

pages in many ways are like code - a collection of reusable elements. in terms of a web page, reusing parts of a page (panels, nav, etc) keeps consistency. so taking this into account, once youve designed part of a page, much of the rest kinda falls into shape.
even on some of my busiest sites, there are only essentially a handful of elements other than the header/footer - things like the nav, maybe a container, a form, etc. these are then duplicated to keep a flow of consistency going. having said all that, i definitely will spend no less than a full day, more often two or 3, designing and putting together these elements. then i let the PHP deal with the rest.

the thing that scares me about templates is the idea of having my site looking pretty much identical to someone elses. also the fact that i never get any sense of achievement from using other peoples work, although this is my own preference rather than the norm.

there's nothing wrong with templates as such - they help many get started quickly - but i just think its relatively impossible to have full control over your site when youre pretty much bound to a certain look/layout. designing a proper site to me means having full control over everything that goes on the page. its also part of the fun.

on a final note, you'll also notice similarities between sites written by the same developer/company/person. i like to think of this as a person's "tag" or "individuality", and that to me is key.

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#7 dbrimlow

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 11:47 PM

My point was to try the variety of css general layout templates for layout ideas, not to use the same exact design "styles - colors, graphic, etc".

Most of the templates I've used look nothing like the original whatsoever - apart from the container structures - and even then I end up messing with them to allow for dynamic content.

Coming up with a totally new "look" idea from scratch for every project is rough - particularly for us full-time salaried guys trying to get some side web jobs. I don't WANT all my sites to look similar.

Judging from other posts, businessman332211 is looking for some shortcuts to help get him started ... been there, done that and want to help the same way I wanted help when starting to break out of the bad quirks mode coder I had become (and rarely got it) ... except here with php code.
Dave

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#8 redbullmarky

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Posted 30 September 2006 - 12:09 AM

some good points made well.
however, another of my big issues with 3rd party stuff is there is always still a learning curve involved when trying to "get to know it" properly, not to mention finding a template in the first place that matches requirements exactly. in which time you could have your own all done and dusted, and have the benefit of knowing exactly whats going on.
i'm not actually a full time developer myself so i understand where youre coming from in that respect, but i also think that the whole "find as many 3rd party scripts and templates" mentality is pretty detremental for everyone involved. If I was to pay a client £5k or something for a fully dynamic site, i'd be pretty miffed if i found out that it was nothing more than a collection of 3rd party stuff lumped together.
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#9 jcombs_31

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Posted 30 September 2006 - 12:58 AM

My point was to try the variety of css general layout templates for layout ideas, not to use the same exact design "styles - colors, graphic, etc".

Most of the templates I've used look nothing like the original whatsoever - apart from the container structures - and even then I end up messing with them to allow for dynamic content.

Coming up with a totally new "look" idea from scratch for every project is rough - particularly for us full-time salaried guys trying to get some side web jobs. I don't WANT all my sites to look similar.

Judging from other posts, businessman332211 is looking for some shortcuts to help get him started ... been there, done that and want to help the same way I wanted help when starting to break out of the bad quirks mode coder I had become (and rarely got it) ... except here with php code.


I think you need to think about what you're saying.  Considering a design from basic layout is not using a template.

Going to templatemonster.com and downloading a template and tossing in content is what I call using a template.

Reusable code is something completely different.

But, since you asked, I generally change everything from site to site with the exception of certain things, for example an event calendar.

#10 dbrimlow

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Posted 30 September 2006 - 11:47 PM

I think you need to think about what you're saying.  Considering a design from basic layout is not using a template.


Yeah, actually that's true. It isn't really "using" a template. It is getting ideas fromthem to create my own. Thinking about it further, I basically do it just to give me a broader range of design "ideas" and to start with a conceptual representation phase time saving shortcut.

It still takes me almost as long to modify and personalize the css "templates" I've downloaded, and I only look at the graphic ideas included, then make my own on top of them in photoshop to keep the size to the original before really personalizing it all.

But, again, I think that's what businessman332211 is looking for, as well. A creative ideas jumpstart.

For me, what it all comes down to, as well, is that I always want to learn new ways to do old things. Not having the time or money to read all the books on the subjects, I prefer the reverse engineering technique. Taking it apart to see how something was done, then putting it back together my own way.

Graphics, for instance, is a real rough point for me because for years I was required to translate our "art director's" Photoshop conceptions to the web. This made for very heavy pages with little to no text. So I always look for simpler ways to make small snips of the graphic repeat. It was rough in the Quirks mode table only Dreamweaver days. But for the past 2 years amazing things are done with css (thanks to sites like csszengarden and alistapart).

As an example, on these two designs I used techniques and css from a few sheets I have downloaded including some of the old csszengarden for text header tags to work at tag level behind a graphic; I even kept the same names they used (though I should change them since the css is 99% my own now anyway). They look nothing whatsoever like the original designs and the graphics are all new:

http://www.jhrenovat....com/about.html

http://bluesmandelux...idexchange.html

As a matter of fact, the above gave me the idea to try an animated gif from the external css as a div background, instead of the flash my friends wanted me to use.

So USING templates is certainly not what I do, or recommend ... but downloading them, learning from them and getting ideas for your own design schemes I certainly recommend.






Dave

I am always amazed by no matter how much I know, I know I don't know as much as I thought I knew.  - D. Brimlow.

#11 Daniel0

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Posted 01 October 2006 - 09:09 AM

What kind of templates are we talking about? Do you mean download a pre-made template (layout) or do you mean using a template system in your code?

#12 Ninjakreborn

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Posted 01 October 2006 - 02:39 PM

Well, if you haven't got the time, money, resources, etc., to create your own, then templates are a good way to go. However, there are downsides. They can be very expensive (so expensive as to justify spending the money to have someone create one for you), and don't usually follow good design techniques. Sure, they look good - but they're usually exclusively tables and images, so they can be rather hard to work with.

Css only templates, and yes they seem to take a long time to set up.

Oh come on, guys, don't be snobs. How many of you ALWAYS start every single page, tag, code from scratch and don't recycle even one snippet?

There are some good, free, validated css-xhtml templates out there for you start from to either reverse engineer or modify - for the layouts, not the design and style.

If I use a pre-made template, I do it because the layout is stable, the code is clean and it looks like the author used some good techniques (like floating cross-browser/IE layout without any hacks or rounded corners using css and no graphics).

Any that have some background graphics, I will be changing in photoshop to suit my own project as well as the actual styles, anyway.

If you look at some of the xhtml-css (only) templates here, you will find submissions by quite a few amazing css gurus. http://www.ex-designz.net/template/ But stay away from the other templates (like Dreamweaver, flash, etc.) there, because they are indeed graphic heavy tag bloated table based stuff.

In particular, look for the template "a bit liquid". It is a brilliant design that is completely fluid and stable in all IEs and doesn't use a single hack.


No-one so far has been snobs, some people like being original.  For me it's programming, all of my programming is custom, I reuse my own code, but that's it.

I think you need to think about what you're saying.  Considering a design from basic layout is not using a template.

Going to templatemonster.com and downloading a template and tossing in content is what I call using a template.

Reusable code is something completely different.

But, since you asked, I generally change everything from site to site with the exception of certain things, for example an event calendar.


For a template I mean something different.  Get a template, for the general design itself, color scheme and everything.  Then taking, recoding the css/xhtml, like that.  I would even consider a template, just getting a layout in photoshop, that I can do all the coding for.  Just like a logo, and a layout in a psd file, that would be a good template to me.

Yeah, actually that's true. It isn't really "using" a template. It is getting ideas fromthem to create my own. Thinking about it further, I basically do it just to give me a broader range of design "ideas" and to start with a conceptual representation phase time saving shortcut.

It still takes me almost as long to modify and personalize the css "templates" I've downloaded, and I only look at the graphic ideas included, then make my own on top of them in photoshop to keep the size to the original before really personalizing it all.

But, again, I think that's what businessman332211 is looking for, as well. A creative ideas jumpstart.

For me, what it all comes down to, as well, is that I always want to learn new ways to do old things. Not having the time or money to read all the books on the subjects, I prefer the reverse engineering technique. Taking it apart to see how something was done, then putting it back together my own way.

Graphics, for instance, is a real rough point for me because for years I was required to translate our "art director's" Photoshop conceptions to the web. This made for very heavy pages with little to no text. So I always look for simpler ways to make small snips of the graphic repeat. It was rough in the Quirks mode table only Dreamweaver days. But for the past 2 years amazing things are done with css (thanks to sites like csszengarden and alistapart).

As an example, on these two designs I used techniques and css from a few sheets I have downloaded including some of the old csszengarden for text header tags to work at tag level behind a graphic; I even kept the same names they used (though I should change them since the css is 99% my own now anyway). They look nothing whatsoever like the original designs and the graphics are all new:

http://www.jhrenovat....com/about.html

http://bluesmandelux...idexchange.html

As a matter of fact, the above gave me the idea to try an animated gif from the external css as a div background, instead of the flash my friends wanted me to use.

So USING templates is certainly not what I do, or recommend ... but downloading them, learning from them and getting ideas for your own design schemes I certainly recommend



It's a little bit different than that.  I take the template, and change the graphics of course, and recode it.
What I just wanted, as I mentioned above, is nothing but a psd, to help me avoid the creative process itself.


What kind of templates are we talking about? Do you mean download a pre-made template (layout) or do you mean using a template system in your code?


SEe I always have more fun just coding the layout, and coming up with ideas.  I wish I knew someone really good at graphic design, who could create layout ideas, and logo's in photoshop that actually looked good, sort of like a partner.  I can create the layouts/logo's but I want to be able to learn the graphic design, design elements at my own pace, over a longer period of time than being orce to learn it all at once, and with a partner, or a collection of good templates, I could continue on my process, just learning as I want, and just give people free/cheap prices, when I am working on something for them I don't know that well, to stimulate my learning more.

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#13 yonta

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Posted 01 October 2006 - 03:37 PM

Well, since i'm a developer and have no illusion of being - or ever becoming - a really good designer, i always work with a designer. I do what i'm best at, the designer does what she's best at, and the overall result is much better and unique than it would have been if the designer had done the code and the design, or if i had done the code and the design.

The trick is, of course, finding someone who's easy and trustworthy to work with.

My 2 cents :)
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#14 Daniel0

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Posted 01 October 2006 - 03:47 PM

I suck at designing, I can code a layout, but I can't come up with some that looks good.

#15 Ninjakreborn

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Posted 01 October 2006 - 03:52 PM

That's actually what I have been wanting to do the most lately.  Someone to do 2 things

1. Make the logo's
2. Make the layouts in photoshop cs2.

THat is what I have been wanting, then when I get projects, I can "try" and learn some about doing the design, and logo, then when I run into walls turn it over to my guy.  Over time I leanr, and still get the stuff done, which is what I want, but I haven't found anyone yet, and I don't know if I will, but I am trying.

It has to be someone I get along with, someoen who is so good at design and logo's that he doesn't mind working for me for cheaper, than normal.  Maybe even occassionally doing me personal favors, I have other people who will.  OR someone who I can promise to help programming work for free, and for him to return the favor sometimes.

I haven't found anyone yet, your advice isn't being discarded, I am trying my hardest to follow that advice, a few people have told me that on here, and I would like to find someone, that would be nice.

Until then I have to struggle to do my own designs, and use templates when I have too.

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