PixelMill Web Template Specs

We’ve been working on a document called the PixelMill Web Template Product Specs for Middle-Level Templates, and are ready to release the first draft of this document (v 0.4). Our goal is to use this blog as a forum to discuss the specs and release an official version 1 by August 1, 2006.
Some of you may have already viewed the specs, and you can skip past to see the latest updates below.
Purpose of the Specs
The document itself has a purpose statement, but I think it is worth explaining the purpose to those of you who are hearing about this for the first time. As the template market broadens, we think it is important to establish a minimum set of quality guidelines, or specifications, for how web templates are put together and packaged.
Our initial goal for putting together these specs was to “standardize” certain aspects of the templates so that repeat customers know what to expect – for example, they will know to look for a readme file in the package, or they will know where to look for included source files. By doing this, we will also minimize customer support: Not only will much of the basic info that customers need to know come within the template itself, but PixelMill staff will be able to find the necessary support materials within the template and direct customers appropriately.
As we developed the specs, we began to also develop a vision for pushing template development to the next level – to not only provide easy-to-access instructions, but to incorporate industry standards as well. To this effect, we also include specs that address validated HTML/XHTML, CSS, accessibility, etc., so that templates sold at PixelMill will come to be known as truly high-quality templates that are coded to meet today’s web standards and that are easy to use by customers’ standards.
I should say right away that these specs are not meant to change the look or feel of the template or hamper your creativity in that sense. These specs are focused on the “structure” of the template and template package — how to structure the readme file, what industry standards to meet, what source files to include, among other things.
We are excited about these specs and the direction that PixelMill is heading towards. But we recognize that these specs are probably not complete, and so we want to take this chance to open up the specs before the official release date in order to get your perspective and feedback.
What’s new in v 0.4?

  • Converted to numbered outline format for easier discussion
  • Added SwishMax under Software Compatiblity
  • Added Section 6.1.2 – Software Specific Tools – to address use of Dynamic Web Templates, Include Pages, Libraries, etc.
  • Updated 6.1.4.1 regarding fonts.
  • Updated 6.1.6 regarding dynamic Flash to include use of dynamically loading jpegs

Starting the discussion:
Download version 0.4 of the Web Template Product specs
To help keep this organized, please go ahead and post your QUESTIONS as a comment to this blog. I will then address the questions in other blogs as they come and try to consolidate related questions.

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