Understanding the Difference between Template And Framework

In the last week or so, I am writing articles on templates and frameworks. They are mainly targeted at web developers and web designers, who want to make their work refined. With templates and framework terminology, it’s quite natural for beginners to get confused. Today, we will explore the difference between template and framework.

Understanding the Difference between Template And Framework

My last few articles were mainly focused on listing the best resources for web development. For example, recently, I wrote about 6 Best HTML5 Starter Templates for Web Developers and 5 Best CSS Frameworks for Web Designers. They both are targeted at the different audience, for example, the templates are more inclined towards the web designers or developers, whereas the frameworks are more inclined to programmers, who love to code and build things.

Don’t get me wrong as templates are also useful for creating powerful websites or act as a starting point for an amazing web app. But, there are differences which need to be understood by beginners.

FrameWork vs. Templates

Frameworks are notions, conventions, configuration, collections of functions(methods), control embedded into one tool/structure. Frameworks can also be cited as a collection of tools or libraries(which can be combined in uncountable ways) to create something of value.

Templates, on the other hand, are more focused on pre-destined functionality or output. Templates can be used as starting point or ending point(depends on where you use it) and be done with it. With fewer customization options, there is not much you can do with it. But, that does not mean they are useless. HTML5 BoilerPlate, for example, is a great piece of software engineering at work, developed by more than hundred developers, all over the world.

Framework Vs. Templates(In web world)

According to Wikipedia, a web framework is defined as

A web application framework (WAF) is a software framework that is designed to support the development of dynamic websites, web applications, web services and web resources. The framework aims to alleviate the overhead associated with common activities performed in web development. For example, many frameworks provide libraries for database access, templating frameworks and session management, and they often promote code reuse.

The use of frameworks can be easily understood by the definition itself. In other words, frameworks enable the programmers to use tools, techniques, conventions, configuration to develop their application.

With functions, pre-defined modules and libraries to use, anyone can easily use the framework to create a basic web application. The usage depends on your requirements.

On the other hand, templates are more like reusable boxes that can be used  with less tweak(or no tweak at all). The best example, I can think of the footer or header template of any website. If you can grab a header, footer or other components, you can just combine them to create a working website.

A great example would be HTML5 Template, Boilerplate,  a starting point for any web project. It might not be enough for creating a world-class application, but is can act as the starting point for creating one. Whereas, templates are highly reusable components and can be used in most of the projects.

With HTML5, the language of the web the HTML5 Boilerplate can be used to create a web application. The inclusion of .htaccess file and important server controls, web optimization and other forms of small code that can help you build an amazing web application, all starting with a simple working template.

Frameworks offer a more controlled approach of building valuable pieces of the web.

Frameworks and Templates also differ in few other aspects. Let’s discuss some of them.

Granular Control

Frameworks provide much granular control compared to templates and can be used to create complex projects. Templates are not so powerful.

Learning Time

Frameworks are complex in nature; they require practice and patience to master, which can take time. Templates, on the other hand, are not complex and can be learned in significantly less time. Mastering them also takes less time compared to using frameworks.

When Framework and Templates meet?

Even though, both of them signify different meaning, they are interchangeably used by developers and engineers in their work environment. Frameworks and templates are an integral part of any project and you can use both of them in a single project.

Creating a web application in python, for example, can use the Jinja templating system with Django framework.

There are other combinations that work for different programming languages and their application type.

Wrap Up

With the web world becoming more complex as each day passes by, it is necessary to understand the basic terminology. Understanding Templates Vs. Frameworks is necessary for any beginner and I hope, some of your doubts are cleared through the explanation.

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