Sorry for bringing this topic up yet again, but I'm having a real problem
with the details of implementing a templates system. I'm read all the
tutorials, articles, emails etc, but was hoping others on this list with the
same problems could share how they solved them.

Now I understand the basic logic of a template system: separate the client
side code (html, javascript) from the PHP. That way I can write my PHP
modules then hand them off to the HTML programmers and designers to
implement in their webpages.

Two ways to do this (that I can think of at the moment) would be to use PHP
functions <?php create_main_menu(); ?>, or to use include files <?php
include("main_menu.php3"); ?>.

The problem is that I use PHP throughout my webpages and find it very
difficult to elegantly separate the HTML and PHP code. I use it for main
menus, sub menus, titles, page listings, article listings, next-page links,
random image generation, etc etc. 

As an example lets look at a menu. There are a lot of ways that menu could
be designed. The designer could have a little icon in front of each menu
item, or behind each menu item, or have a special background colour, or
special font colour, etc etc etc. The list is endless. The PHP code is going
to have to loop through that menu array, display each menu item, then add
the appropriate html for that menu item. How the heck do I separate the HTML
and PHP here? One option I thought of was to create a PHP function with the
HTML design components making up the function's arguments. Ie, argument one
would be the name of the mouse-over image in front of each  menu item,
argument two would be it's height, argument three would be it's width. etc
etc ad infinitem. What a mess! You would end up with an insane number of

How do users of template systems deal with these problems? 

I work in a very small tech department (there are four of us, and I do all
the PHP coding) and found it was easiest in the long run to just divide up
the webpages into components and turn these components into include files.
For example, the main menu component, sub menu component, page list
component, page contents component, etc etc. Each component is a full
autonomous table that can can easily pop into the basic table structure of a
website. (I've found that dividing up one table into two or more files is
just confusing!) 

Others in the department who are designing a webpage to which I'll be adding
PHP components just use sample data for menus, page content, etc. I take a
look at it then, make sure the design is "database-driven content friendly",
then add the php bits. 

When you use template driven websites, do you find there are certain
projects they work better for. Are they more appropriate for larger websites
with larger groups of people working on them?

I'd really be interested in other people's solutions and experiences!

Thanks, Rita.

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