Very nicely and succinctly put Sir,
in reply to Re5: pulling content from db - is it a good idea?
in thread pulling content from db - is it a good idea?
I too am a great exponent of HTML::Template for pretty much all the reasons you have pointed out above. Theres another chap here that waxes lyrical about it and I always read their H::T posts with glee as I learn more and useful ways to extend the possibilities that it is capable of covering.
I also agree that the other 'tools' out there have their uses in the right place (or right job) as well.
Update: Added link to referenced node