A template is a special type of page (document) that shares layout from page to page. Dreamweaver MX templates won't make you a more creative web designer, but they will increase your efficiency and make your job easier. Think of a template as a shell that contains site-level design qualities and behaviors, but little content. For instance, your template might contain a company logo, menu links, and other basic elements. When you're ready to add a new page to your site, you begin with the template instead of a blank page and avoid the repetitive task of re-creating those elements each time you add a new page-all the ingredients are already in the template.
Using templates has several benefits:
Templates help new Dreamweaver developers get up and running faster. Macromedia provides a number of ready-to-go design templates you can use with your own site. You can download them at www.macromedia.com/ software/dreamweaver/ download/templates/. Even the experienced developer can get a head start on a design using one of these templates. (You must have a valid Dreamweaver MX license to use these templates.)
They reduce construction time by eliminating repetitive design tasks. Place shared design elements in a template, and start each new document from the template instead of from scratch.
They let you update multiple pages at once. When the design changes, there's no need to modify each page. Simply open the template and make the necessary modifications once. Dreamweaver MX will update all the linked documents accordingly (unless you purposely disconnected the document when you created it).
They let the site designer standardize the design, controlling the elements that individual page authors will be able to edit by including noneditable and editable sections in the template. Content in a noneditable section can't be modified anywhere but in the template.
Templates also permit groups of developers to work on a website and not have to worry about page style and layout. All developers can work from a central template pool in a convenient place on the company intranet.
The database programmer is not in many cases a web designer and has limited knowledge of web page design. Using templates, the programmer needs to know little about the actual page design.
Templates significantly aid the construction process and make the finished site easier to maintain. The consistent design qualities and behaviors in the template provide continuity between pages, making your site easier to use. In addition, you can quickly update your entire site by making changes to just the template.
Dreamweaver MX refers to design pages as documents. We'll refer to such a document as a page. The term template-based page refers to a new page you base on a template. Web design usually refers to the creator of a page as an author. A template author is the person creating the template; a page author, within the context of templates, is the person creating a template-based page.