Question about Dreamweaver templates

I’ve been asked to build a Web site for a local business. A couple of days ago, they informed me that they had “a designer” working on the layout, which had me picturing photoshop or something similar. Today, they inform me that the designer “can produce the template for you to follow on with in Dreamweaver.” I understand that to mean the designer will produce a Dreamweaver template. As I don’t use Dreamweaver, would I be right in thinking I won’t be able to open the template?

I’ve never worked from templates and I’m a bit dubious about this. (The business hasn’t sorted out text/photos etc. for the site yet, so I’m unsure how anyone can produce a usable template without knowing what the content will be.) So

  1. Can I use a Dreamweaver template without Dreamweaver?
  2. Will it be more trouble than it’s worth?
  3. Should I run, screaming, for the hills?

Your advice and opinions would be most welcome.

It’s been a long time since I had used DW templates (only because I was forced to do for a stupid formal exam) but basically they were just text files with proprietary editable/locked regions that work when loaded in DW otherwise plain text HTML files and fully editable outside of DW.

<!-- InstanceBeginEditable name=“head” –>
<!-- InstanceEndEditable –>

Think of them like crude server-side include instructions other files probably will also accompany them but that’s the basic overview of the markup diffrence,

Regarding both; two and three most likely… YES! Do yourself a favour and enter the “SPF Pink for October” competition it won’t make you scream. :wink:

That no-one seems to have considered it wise for the two of you to communicate about the project gives cause for concern. It’s as if the client regards the template provider as The Architect and you as the wee chap in the woolly hat who pours concrete. If so, then it’s unfortunate but understandable. It’s not their job to know how a web development project is managed.

If the designer is skilled enough to produce a template, why is he/she not building the site? This leads me to suspect a Photoshop slice scenario.

There’s a risk that, if problems arise, the designer may say it was your responsibility to state requirements. “Everyone uses Dreamweaver, it’s the industry standard” etc.

Take the initiative and seek to make contact with the designer to find out exactly what is going on. Inform the client that you need to be given an input into deciding whether the design is fit for purpose, and ensure all parties understand what that purpose is.

Thanks, xhtmlcoder - that information was very helpful.

Yes, that was my first thought, too.

I hadn’t thought of that. However, when I agreed to take on the job, there was no mention of a “designer”. (Apart from me. :slight_smile: )

The position is a bit unusual, in that I originally agreed to do the site as a favour for a previous client, who is now a friend. Because of this, the arrangements have been more informal and there’s no contract signed as yet. The idea to hire a designer came from her boss at a later stage. I think in this instance, my best course of action is probably to wait and see what the designer comes up with and decide whether I can work with it. (I don’t know who or where the designer is, so I can’t contact them myself.) After that, I’ll discuss matters with the client and if I’m not happy, I’ll just walk away from it. I know there’s a recession on and I can’t really afford to turn down work, but I’d rather have my sanity.

I expect their designer can knock out a complete site in Dreamweaver for a lot more than I proposed charging them. :x

The downside of walking away is that it can harm your reputation (even if the fault is anothers), and may not reflect well on your friend either.

Clearly there’s some delicacy required, given the informal nature of your involvement, but as a client I’d be encouraged for a freelancer to be keen about the smooth running of a project. Just ask for their details “to discuss some technical matters”. You never know, the designer may even welcome some input.

If it doesn’t work out, pin the blame on an interfering Sassenach on Sitepoint :slight_smile:

Good luck with it, anyway.

Yes, that’s a problem. However, I feel that producing a lousy site would also damage my reputation, so I’m in a bit of a cleft stick here.

Or I could be pleasantly surprised, and they’ll turn out a well-coded, accessible and attractive design.

I may very well take you up on that suggestion. :lol:

Thank you.

You are probably being optimistic about the accessible aspect if it’s been designed by WYSIWYG methodology in DW, which is the case with many of those templates. However, you might be able to alter things to make it more robust. Perhaps you might not want to put your name to it (visibly to the outside world) if you are a little “iffy” on how the final results will appear at at later date. The template will be the ‘master’ by which other pages are cloned from.

I’ll do my best, if I’m allowed.

It wouldn’t be the first time! One of my first clients had designed leaflets (badly) to promote his business, using MS Publisher - and demanded that I reproduce these as the pages of his site. I explained several times why this was a lousy idea (not least because his keywords largely didn’t appear anywhere in the text), but he was adamant. I decided that as he was intent on paying for rubbish, he might as well pay me as anybody else - but my name appeared nowhere on his site. :wink: Still, it was an interesting exercise, and at least he ended up with well-built rubbish - valid html, valid css and accessible.