Moving from html to a template site

So Halfdeck and I are using this as a test site for me, I built the main part of Halfdeck consulting just using HTML and CSS.  One of the reasons platforms like Word Press are so popular is that  the site owner can focus on building content and not have to worry so much about how the site will look.  So after putting up a basic site using html and CSS unless there is a template or wrapper, all of the the links on the sidebar, navigation, footer, etc. need to be changed on each page.

Creating a basic template using php is not that complex – I’m sure I’m presenting a simplistic view however, this is all one needs to do to create a simple template.  By breaking out the main repeatable elements in the site into different areas, typically header, footer, sidebar navigation content and navigation you can put these elements in each page and then make changes once and it will change these elements throughout the site.  These elements are typically put in a folder called includes.  With just adding a single line of php code, everything from that related includes file will be added to the main page.  No matter who you hire to help you with web development or if you are planning on doing it yourself – ask them if they focus on reusable code and what steps do they take to plan for expansion of the site in the future.

I think this important to point out that while this is something very basic, not every single web developer takes the time to make a template, especially if a site starts out with only 5 or six pages.  Then when the site owner wants to expand sometime later a template format makes it easier for either the site owner or the web developer to add unlimited number of new pages.

December 5, 2010 at 5:38 pm | Uncategorized | 1 comment


Welcome to Halfdeck Consulting.  Right now this site is my little playground, but that’s likely to change soon.  The main site is just a simple skin that I made some minor modifications to and the blog skin is free template that I saw and liked because of it’s minimal design.

I’ve been spending a lot of time working on photoshop tutorials but I’ve also started working on PSD (photoshop designs) to HTML as well.  Since the skin of the main site right now is pure HTML I’ve decided to play around with Cake PHP so I’m in the process of installing it on the server and learning how to make a template out of this site.

I had installed a Joomla template on the site last year and while I still like the design, I’ve grown to understand the flexibility of working with PHP and other custom template systems.  It’s not that I don’t like Word Press or Joomla and for many businesses customizing one of those platforms is enough, but there aren’t a ton of corporate sites that are running just Word Press or Joomla.  I have several blog based sites and I know I will have more in the future but sometimes a site owner feels like they need something more.  Anyway, I know this site can use improvements – watch how far and fast I can take this.

Future plans for this site:

  • Wider size
  • Complete custom site that is template based
  • Blog that matches the rest of the site
  • Forum area
  • Large portfolio area of completed designs
  • Product pages

While both Halfdeck and I are more interested in working on our own sites right now but if you are interested in working with us,  let us know.   We’re picky about who we work with but we are available when the right projects come along.

December 2, 2010 at 4:03 am | Web Development | No comment