Updated ACC Web Templates

Recently I updated the IRT Resource website for Web Development. Along with this updated I released the updated ACC web templates. These web templates use PHP include statements instead of the full html markup as I referenced in my previous post about Adobe Contribute. Currently, the IRT domain and the CE website deploy a type of  these templates with success, so I decided to go ahead and release them for common ACC tempalte pages as they have been in beta for quite some time.

There are a couple of reasons I set up the templates this way. I thought about why users here at ACC used Dreamweaver, and more specifically Dreamweaver templates that contained proprietary markup. I wondered why a template was even used at all, and to what extent of success. I could only think of a couple of reasons:

1. Folks wanted a starter page, but wanted the latest starter page at any one point in time.
2. Users that currently used ACC web templates often asked “Are there any updates to the web template code?”
3. If using ACC web templates, the sole purpose of Dreamweaver’s templating function was to handle menu changes.

So taking these factors into account, the PHP include based template handles these issues and more:

1. A file created from the ACC web template is a fully functioning webpage with all of the features that currently exist in the distributed code.
2. Utilizing PHP includes, users that maintain files that use this code automatically receive updates from the core files…in their sleep.
3. The ACC web template utilize a PHP include statement for the menu. The menu is a simple unordered list that is pulled into the page. Multiple menus within one website are now possible, whereas with Dremweaver, multiple .dwt files would have been needed to be set up to achieve this.
4. You can put the file anywhere in a website, on any website, and name it anything a user sees fit (ending in .php) and it will function just the same. Users can now unconcern themselves with Dreamweaver template paths, updating templates, and then updating the pages that are hooked into those templates and so forth.If a user wants to add, delete, or rename a link in a particular menu, simply edit the menu.php file. Done and done.

Overall I believe the templates handle everything I need them to do maintainability-wise, while giving users the features that they need as well. Over the next few months I will be converting as many websites to the updated code as possible, and I will sure to post a tutorial so users can accomplish this themselves. I can’t wait to develop a new look and feel for the college’s template pages and deploy them in this manner.

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