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developer and designer conversation

In the rapidly changing world of web development, more and more career fields come together to get a perfectly polished product. One bond occurring in almost every office/building is the love-hate relationship between programmer and designer. This relationship has occurred since the dawn of the windows system (meaning X windowing and not Microsoft Windows) and will continue to evolve over time. For today though; enter the mind of one programmer and visualize an almost perfect world.

Whenever I work with a designer, I like to know the granularity to which they want to style my output from the start. While I like to keep this information in my head, it is definitely not as important as what kind of data I am going to be dealing with. If the designer wants users and events, I am thinking data structures and fields. From a developer standpoint (mine), getting all this information organized should happen before touching a keyboard. Part of what makes a love-hate relationship quickly turn to hate is when new content needs to be added to an object, which requires the programmer to completely alter their plan of attack.

Deserving its own paragraph, I like to see insanely functional mockups. Not functional enough for me to lose my job, but definitely functional enough for me to work alone for a while. Constant communication is great, but a little limiting. Great mockups can help prevent working solo for a while and then finding out that everything but the title has to be changed.

But what of this near perfect world, you say? The near perfect world to me requires a few definitions. The aforementioned designer is now called the Graphic Designer. Putting pencil to paper and hand to mouse, the Graphic Designer creates mockups of the complete website design. Leaving the hows to the other members of the team, the Graphic Designer is only concerned with top-level results. The previously titled programmer now joins the ranks as a Web Developer. Jumping from database to database and function to function with a single keystroke (okay, a few). The Web Developer creates the functionality of the site. No data escapes the data mining and manipulation wizardry. Only concerned with putting the right data on the right page (with some concern for page layout), the Web Developer gets the data job done.

A new title now enters the field. Some say it was Web Developers wanting to play with crayons and some say it was Graphic Designers wanting to play with vim. The Web Designer is the glue that keeps it all together. Where previously, the Web Developer and Graphic Designer had to enter the coliseum to resolve certain issues, the Web Designer keeps things from going too medieval. Taking the Graphic Designer’s mockups in one hand and the Web Developer’s data in the other, the Web Designer slaps together one website sandwich of awesome.

Too many people on one project, you say? For a small project with low backend or frontend needs, yes. Otherwise, this tag-team trio defines the nearly picture perfect world of at least one programmer. Until next time…

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