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++ to you!
I can't agree with you enough. While the various technoloies you mention have their strengths, and work fine, the fact that they mix HTML and code like PHP or JSP makes them in my view impure, impracticle and unscaleable.
Screamer in this thread, I am about to write my very own templating module.., raises many of the same issues. I agreed then, and I agree now, that mixed code and markup is bad, and should not be done.
I have built my own application that delivers XSLT like templating, and it does separate code from HTML, you can use any XML aware HTML editor to work on the HTML. It can make calls to any scripting language - though naturally I mostly make calls to Perl. It's designed to be simple, and I'm evaluating if it's worth keeping or upgrading to AxKit which may be a more sensible long term solution.
My humble 2p
In reply to Re: rant on = qw(HTML::Mason Embperl Template etc) ;