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Template Basics

Understand the basics of templates, web pages, and how the CMS glues content to the templates

Last updated on 6/17/2013

All Tasks > Web Site > Template Manager

This article provides information everyone should read to learn how to make or modify LVSYS web templates.

Content, Pages, and Templates

In its simplest form, a CMS (Content Management System) is software that organizes content into one or more databases, and presents it to visitors through web pages configured via templates.

This section defines what Content, Pages, and Templates are in the LVSYS CMS.

Content: editable text and photos

Content is text, articles, photos, products or events stored in a database. The Admin Panel, which is the back end of the LVSYS CMS, allows users to add, edit, or delete content.

Each type of content, such as articles, is organized in a table. Your data is organized in rows and columns, where each row represents a content item (Ex.: an article) and each column presents the item's properties, or fields, such as  id, date, headline,  summary, sku, title, description, etc.

Every content item has a unique ID that the system is able to reference. Some types of content can additionally be referenced by a unique name, as in Categories which are often given an internal name (Ex.: news) to make it easier for administrators to manage and lookup.

Templates: content placeholders

Templates are the blueprint of a web page. Each template is a file that contains page layout without content. Templates work exactly like an office building blueprint. There are designated areas for walls, windows, doors, hallways, and rooms. The architects of the building define the areas where everyone should walk, work, wait, and meet. People are the content. 

Templates work the same way; they define background colors, links, text size, and the position of menus, articles, photos and text on a web page, but they don't contain content. 

Templates are content placeholders.

This section discusses how to program and style these content placeholders so they display logos, articles, menus, products, product lists, search boxes, and other common website elements, in the way you wish.

Pages: glue that connects content to templates

Pages are assigned to a template and allow administrators to direct specific content to each content placeholder. The result will be a working web page with an accessible URL. We call these pages template pages.

The Home page, for example, is a unique template that all websites contain.

All template pages have an accessible URL, but oftentimes the URL pulls incomplete pages because the template expects some kind of additional dynamic content configuration, such as an article to display (referenced by id or name), or a category to list. Template pages are often used as the destination of a page redirect.

Programming Templates & Content Placeholders

All template programming is executed within the Template Manager by going to All Tasks >Web Site > Template Manager.

All CSS styling you wish to use in conjunction with the templates is created in Styles by going to All Tasks > Web Site > Styles.

Next article: Creating Your First Template