inessential by Brent Simmons

Why Skepticism About Templated and Scripted Sites?

As mentioned in my previous post, back in the ’90s many people were skeptical about using templates and scripts to build websites.

I wasn’t among them, and I didn’t understand them. I’m still trying to figure it out.

One possibility is this: desktop publishing was still a really big deal. The web hadn’t overtaken print. And the way many people made pages was to fire up PageMaker or QuarkXpress and start laying things out, page by page.

There were some people who used templates and automated systems to create publications. But I think those people were viewed as jerks who just pumped out content without regard for design and for what the content actually was. The only artistically credible way to create publications — print and on the web — was to make each page its own special snowflake. (Perhaps with a style guide and design language, maybe even a super-minimal template, but not more than that. No scripting, for sure.)

I don’t know. I’m just guessing. But it’s the best theory I have right now.