Why start with a template, instead of a custom design? Print
Ed Eusebio Blog - Web Development
Written by Ed Eusebio   
Monday, 29 August 2011 12:01

Prince William & Kate's Wedding Cake Would you rather eat cake or a picture of cake?

I ran into someone on a gigs board, looking to hire a designer to build a custom Joomla template for them. It got me to thinking about the 90% of my clients who call me in to fix their messed up "custom" templates, because they can't make content changes in Joomla Administration, that immediately translate to changes on the site. And isn't that the point of a good CMS? To let the client (who knows how to use a word processing program), engage in the daily management of their own site? To let non-technical people manage daily content and basic changes?  Isn't that the point of Web 2.0, to remove the barriers to interaction and web publishing? To tear down the walls?

I'm a busy and easily bored web developer! I don't want to have to manage daily content in a clients site. That's old school, 90's stuff.  Now, if I want to obligate them into paying me a monthly fee because I engineer it so they can't make changes themselves, that's a different story. But that's frankly not what floats my boat.

What I've found is that web designers don't know how to properly integrate their designs with Joomla functionality. (There I said it! Let the hate comments begin!) What they do is akin to dropping a photo of icing on a wedding cake, instead of spreading icing on it and between the layers. Big difference in functionality and flavor right? They both look pretty, but only deep integration works, when there's work to be done.

Here's my caveat: Yes, you can take a web design built in Photoshop, Dreamweaver, whatever, and cut it apart into a Joomla template, but it won't be precise. It WILL look different.  It takes a visual designer, who is fluent in Joomla to make it work. I  personally haven't run into one of those. Have you? If so, send them my way, and I'll give them several dozen clients. But chances are, they already work for one of the big template building houses like RocketTheme.com

Here's my response to the gig poster:

"You don't need to hire a designer. You should probably just use a Joomla Template site like this, www.RocketTheme.com.
Easily customizable by you (if you know Joomla CMS). Choose a template that uses Gantry, for best flexibility. Multiple color schemes available for each (light, dark, multi colors).

Most "custom templates" built by individuals (using Dreamweaver or Photoshop) don't work well with Joomla CMS. They are merely built to float on top. 90% of the sites I'm called in to fix are like this.  I end up having to redeploy sites like these, which look good, but lack true integration with Joomla.

RocketTheme.com templates are built to synch with all Joomla features.  

BTW: I don't get paid by RocketTheme. I just like how well they work with Joomla."