[thelist] Designer vs. Coder

Bob Davis bobd at members.evolt.org
Mon Feb 26 15:20:07 CST 2001

Call me old-school, but I am both a designer and coder - though I have
formal training in neither.  I've done the IA, database, graphics, layout,
templates, ColdFusion, PHP, JS, CSS, copy writing, etc., etc., etc. for
about every site I've done.  I know I'm not the only one on the list who
lives this life.

I have used PC's, Macs, and *nix machines to make pages, and I learned HTML
using emacs and the O'Reilly books (the emacs book and the html book).  I
don't care too much which machine my employer gives me (got one to give me
one of each...:), but I buy macs for myself.

That being said, I don't think that it's fair to say that 'x will do this,
while y will do the other' in all cases.

My normal workflow is :
    Do the AI/requirements/etc.
    Prototype in Photoshop
    Move to Dreamweaver for initial layout
    Switch to BBEdit to clean it all up
    Use BBEdit for maintenance and new stuff.

Some comments:

on 2/26/01 2:53 PM, Jeana at kumquat at sckans.edu wrote:
> With all of this talk about using wysiwyg's and coding by hand..  I
> propose the question I've been struggling with...  Can someone be very
> good at both?  Designers I think will tend to drift towards dreamweaver..
> it's faster, its easier, and they can see the designs.. pretty.. *poof*
> there it is.  

Well, some people find DW faster, but I'm not one of them. Maybe I need to
learn the tool better, but I find using BBEdit and doing it by hand to be
faster.  Granted, I haven't upgraded to DW4, but that's mostly because I
don't use it a lot.  Maybe the layout stuff in DW4 more accurately mimics
what I might see in a browser than 3 does.

For me, it's faster to look at the HTML, CSS, whatever in raw text for doing
all of the fine tuning and (once templates are made) maintenance.
Dreamweaver is very useful for getting the initial layout and everything
going though and I use it a lot for that.

> Coders are interested in back-end...  how it loads, how it's
> handled on different systems/browsers/etc, getting the most done in
> least amount of lines of correct code...

I know more than one 'Designer' who would take umbrage with that
distinction. They are designers in the truest sense, but they care deeply
about all of the geekier aspects of web site design.  They see no
distinction at all. (you know who you are)

> If we seperate content and design, are we also seperating the jobs?

In larger scale sites, this is done all the time.  There are content
specialists, information architects, graphics designers, application
developers, copy writers, etc. that all make up the team.  The larger the
site, the more necessary it is to have specialists.  http://www.evolt.org
itself was built by many people, each exercising their area of expertise.

Now, I've always been in a position that required at least a fundamental
understanding of all of the aspects of web design - for large and small
sites - so I have found that specialization doesn't work well for me.  I
like it that way.  

I think what it boils down to is what is the right tool for the job at hand.
If you can work faster in DW and get the same results in the same time as I
do with BBEdit, who's right?  We're both right. I use what I like, so do

I do agree with aardvark though that not being able to (as opposed to
choosing not to) code it all up by hand limits one's understanding of the
medium.  Depending on what profession within the increasingly wider realm of
'web development/design' you are in, this may or may not prove to be a
limiting factor in one's professional growth.    It's a call that only you
can make for yourself though.



bob davis
bobd at members.evolt.org

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