The pros and cons of ready-made templates

ready-made-templatesMost of the time, using a ready-made template is a good choice and provide you with great value and time-saving functionality.  However, there are times when I curse the day I downloaded the glossy, shiny, all-bells-and-whistles template and installed it on my Joomla site.

When I'm developing sites for my own use, using a template from RocketTheme, Yootheme or another company is a great choice. I have the 100% creative control of the project, and can decide if a functionality is needed or just "nice to have".

However, if I'm developing a site for a client, the case might be another. The client may have wishes that at first sight can look easy to implement, but when I start adding new functionality to the template I sometimes experience odd results.

Most of the time, modules, extensions and plug-ins work perfectly on the templates you buy. The problems may arise when you install something which needs special Javascript solutions, advanced CSS modifications or other tweaking of the original template. For instance, installing an image rotator from one company might break the layout in a template provided by another.

Some of the read-made templates have an enormous amount of functionality. This is great most of the time, but can be a pain if you need to customize for instance column width etc. A change in CSS can give result which breaks the layout in Legacy browsers like IE6. I've experienced problems with column width in a few templates. Because the CSS was so complex, changes took a long time to apply and browser check. And your client might not be ready to pay for this additional work...

What to watch out for before using a template for client work

  • Check out how the support for the template is handled by the company
  • Be aware of the complexity of the CSS and other functionality
  • Avoid using brand new templates for your client work - they are often updated several times with bug fixes
  • Find out wha's easy to change in the template settings and CSS, and what calls for heavier customization
  • Be clear with the client about what's included in the template and what needs customization

Pros of using a ready made template:

  • Most of the time, everything works out just fine
  • You can get great and rapid support if the people are serious and committed to their user
  • You get a lot of styling and module variations included
  • Many templates have advanced parameters, making it easy to change width, colors etc

Cons of using a ready made template:

  • You have to pay for them (well, most of the time)
  • Sometimes, your modifications break the whole template
  • Changes might mean you will have to do extra browser checking and customization for legacy browsers (especially IE6)
  • Support can be lousy if the programmers don't have the time
  • The HTML and CSS can be so overly complex that it takes a long time just to find out how everything is built
Read 6463 times Originally published on Tuesday, 19 May 2009 20:55
Last modified on Monday, 27 June 2011 10:13
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