Templates – Who Cares?

… everyone, it seems!

Those with some years of experience in the software business know: the implementation or decision upon a template engine is always good for flame wars.

Why? Templates are such a basic technology of a CMS, a must-have and not really something sexy. Those who hoped to make templates sexy, invented XSLT.

So why? Because it is a basic technology!

These are the flame war factors:

You can’t get Tempates out of Your Way

Every developer or Web designer building a Web site on top of a CMS, has to cope with the integrated template system, sooner or later. You will have a love-and-hate-relationship, because on the one side they help you, on the other side, every implementation has its pros and cons.

Love-and-hate-relationships are not really something that makes the involved parties calm and relaxed.

Who Takes Over the Bridge?

Templates are supposed to build a bridge between the programmers, who care about the business logic of a solution, and the designers who care about the user experience aka GUI. Thus, there are two groups with diverging interests affected by templates: programmers and Web designers. Every experienced how different their thinking can be? OK, then you clearly see the potential for conflict.

Love, Peace – and Common Sense

The discussion about the new template language for eZ publish, implemented as a library in the realm of the
eZ components, has of course been long, and is still ongoing – but there’s light.

It was interesting to observe, how the eZ components team will fight the fight and I must say, they did a good job.

So, what was it that created love and peace in eZ templates land? It was pragmatism: whenever a discussion becomes lengthy and and unfocused, bring it down to the facts, for example with a summary of past input and suggestions for solutions.

Doesn’t sound sexy? No, it doesn’t. Tempates are not sexy, they are basic technology, so let’s be pragmatic and treat it like that, so let’s cool down discussions and go back to work.

Sounds simple? It does, but is hard work, because you need to focus on the result!

You love such discussions? Jump in, you got time until Monday, 12:00.

PS: Did you find any irony in this text? Let me know :)

About Sandro Groganz

Sandro Groganz is an expert in the field of marketing open-source products. He co-founded Age of Peers, a global communications agency for organizations in Open Source. He served as Head of Marketing at Magnolia, creator of the open web content management system Magnolia CMS, Vice President of Marketing at Mindquarry, an open source startup financed by Hasso Plattner Ventures, and Vice President of Communication at eZ Systems, the creator of the open source content management system eZ Publish.

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