Re: Will a template engine be used (e.g. smarty)?
You know, I think about this everyday, but between you and me (and everyone else reading) I’m convinced more and more that no one really has any idea how to code XHTML, or what kind of object should rightfully be used to encapsulate content.
For the first 20 years of the modern web, everything was done in tables. For the last 5 years of the modern web, everything is being done in lists, divs, and paragraphs. Half the time things are marked up as paragraphs even though they aren’t actually blocks of text. The other half things are marked up as lists even though they contain 1 link. (WordPress and bbPress both suffer from this type of issue, specifically in the pagination and previous/next functions.)
One thing that the Smarty engine does promote, is keeping ALL of the XHTML out of the source code, allowing “template designers” to focus ONLY on the mark-up and then inserting the Smarty tags where the dynamic content belongs.
I’ve noticed that Automattic products tend to really try to think ahead in terms of a typical layout and what their audiences want, and that’s not a bad idea usually… But when the audience changes their mind and wants to go from UL’s to DL’s, inserting a DT becomes impossible and the function is immediately flawed by design. A Smarty type of engine avoids this all together.
Smarty is way too big and fat to include in either WP or BBP in my opinion. We’d be better off with a slimmed down version that’s used in CHBB, which I would LOVE to see implemented personally…