Web page templates without CSS
May 4, 2009 2:55 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a stylish free webpage template that doesn't use CSS.

Here's the story: I'm taking a terrible, terrible web page design class; one where the teacher said on the first day "No one uses code anymore." So I'm stuck using Dreamweaver, and now I'm assigned a project in which I need to modify a template to make a webpage. However, all the free templates I can find are either:

a) much more simplistic than the teacher wants
b) heavily use CSS, which we aren't allowed to use

Essentially, she wants us to use an outdated template that relies on HTML tables. So, to deal with this impossible handicap, I turn to Metafilter. Is there anything out there that would actually work for my purposes?
posted by Bleusman to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Wait, you're not allowed to use CSS for layout, or for style, or both?

(Setting aside the insanity of that, the distinction will make a difference.)
posted by miss tea at 2:56 PM on May 4, 2009

Word save as html? Frontpage?

And I would question the value of this class and this teacher.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:56 PM on May 4, 2009

I'm not sure what you mean by "template".

I would simply create a layout in Photoshop, slice it up in Imageready*, export it as tables, and call it a template.

*Since Imageready is discontinued, I think you can use Photoshop, but I can't confirm that right now.
posted by kidbritish at 3:06 PM on May 4, 2009

Believe me, even with my personally limited web design knowledge, I'm aware how useless this class is to me.

miss tea: I'm not quite sure myself. All the pages are made by using the WYSIWYG features of Dreamweaver. Those features aren't very conductive towards CSS, giving you the option "Use CSS" which requires some basic knowledge of CSS. When I asked her how to use this, she looked utterly perplexed, said she had no idea, then announced to the class "If your website has something called "CSS", don't use that, it's too confusing." Ugh.
posted by Bleusman at 3:10 PM on May 4, 2009

kidbritish: The point of this assignment is to find a premade web page template online and use this.
posted by Bleusman at 3:11 PM on May 4, 2009

If your website has something called 'CSS,' don't use that, it's too confusing.


Have you looked into free email template sites? Most of those templates could be used on the web as well, and they usually contain very little CSS or none at all so as to work with as many email clients/services as possible without triggering spam filters. Here's a site I just found. A quick peek at some of their templates showed that the tables contained in them were styled with CSS, but you could probably just erase all the styles at the top of the document and style the tables with Dreamweaver. Or not style them at all - they would probably look decent, though very plain.

If your teacher doesn't even know what CSS is, though, I wonder if she'd figure out that you used it?
posted by katillathehun at 3:34 PM on May 4, 2009

Miss Tea's distinction is important. There are table-based layouts that use CSS for style, such as this one. That will probably work for your purposes; you can ignore the CSS and you can still adjust the layout using tables. In fact, you could remove the CSS entirely and still have the layout.
To find more of these, I would search for "table based layout".

Then there are "tableless" layouts that use CSS for layout. If you tried to use one of these, you wouldn't be able to modify it without using CSS.
posted by kidbritish at 3:36 PM on May 4, 2009

So are you using images or just going for a plain white and black Times New Roman look?
posted by MattMangels at 3:59 PM on May 4, 2009

I'll second katillathehun: find html e-mail templates. This is a topic about which I've had to learn more than I care to know recently. This doesn't so much have to do with spam triggering as it with the fact that html renderers in e-mail apps (and web-based e-mail interfaces as well, a whole 'nother layer of complication) tend to have really brain-dead rendering, so only vintage '95 html will be interpreted more-or-less correctly. Most of these do use some CSS for color and typography, but for layout and metrics, it's all tables. In addition to campaignmonitor, mailchimp has some templates, and I ran across this, the holy mail template. Again, these use some CSS. You'll have to whip out your FONT tags if you want to avoid that entirely.

Some spelunking at archive.org might result in some interesting finds.

And, it needs to be said, this teacher has no business teaching this class.
posted by adamrice at 4:23 PM on May 4, 2009

As much as I hate to suggest this: depending on how the assignment is marked, is it possible for you to link to an external style sheet? Your instructor sounds like enough of an idiot to not know what CSS is, and would likely be none the wiser if you did use it. You could also argue you're being innovative. :-)

I'm very sorry for the quandary you're in. If it's any help or consolation, I have seven years worth of XHTML / CSS web development material (about 60 pages) that I use for classes due to go behind a password-protected wall sometime in the next six weeks, as soon as I gain the time to review, rewrite and make some additions. I'd be happy to add you to the subscriber list when it's complete. From the sounds of things, the content would completely contradict what your instructor is saying; that being said, do drop me a MeFi mail if you feel it would help.

One other suggestion - if you know PhotoShop at all, CS4 still has (I think) a tables-only no-CSS HTML export option for page designs.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 4:35 PM on May 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yeah, what you see here isn't the worst of it. An assignment one day was "picking apart the 'earl'" in which we were supposed to label parts of a URL and name what each part was called. I have a correction on my paper saying that "horoscopes" in http://horoscopes.astrology.com/ is a "location" and not a subdomain. Also, apparently the webpage extension ".asp" always means "Astound Presentation." Instead of learning to use CSS we spend a day talking about the gopher protocol. (This is a high school class, by the way, which I suppose offers her some slack, but definitely doesn't excuse all of it.)

I can probably slip the stuff by her, as long as I can use it myself. I'm no CSS guru, personally, and I'm relying on her instruction and my vast reserve of common sense. The email templates should work great for my purposes. I will be using images in this page, and it does need to look somewhat attractive.
posted by Bleusman at 5:21 PM on May 4, 2009

I'm pretty sure Dreamweaver has built in templates you can use, and there might even be sites out there that can supply you with more. While it is hardly the best practices in web design, this might just be a case where giving the teacher what they want is easier than doing it the right way.
posted by sophist at 5:21 PM on May 4, 2009

I found these free templates that are be table-based layouts but do link to external stylesheets for some text styling.

I am appalled at your descriptions of the instructor's ignorance, though. This class seems not just useless but actually harmful to your education in modern web design. Seriously, I believe you would be better off not taking this class. At least then you won't have to unlearn anything later on.

I would also recommend bringing this up the instructor's level of unpreparedness to the principal/dean/whoever, just as you would if your chemistry teacher was trying to get you to capture a jar of phlogiston.
posted by camcgee at 5:30 PM on May 4, 2009 [2 favorites]

Maybe these?
posted by limon at 7:54 PM on May 4, 2009

I was going to suggest you try Open Source Design because you can search for designs and as I remember you can specify that you do not want CSS. Their search is "down for repairs" right now though so I don't know if this is helpful to you. However his site has been incredibly helpful and a great resource for me in the past. I wish you luck unteaching and then re-teaching yourself.
posted by amethysts at 10:09 PM on May 4, 2009

I would also recommend bringing this up the instructor's level of unpreparedness to the principal/dean/whoever,

Agreed. Maybe even ask to help him/her. You would benefit greatly from that experience.
posted by Vaike at 10:38 AM on May 6, 2009

« Older Sushi near Ricoh Coliseum in TO   |   Why does the $ go before ($9.99) and ¢ behind (99¢... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.