Web Developer vs Web Designer

by cdwise 9. September 2010 19:25

I have a Google alert set up for when Expression Web & web design. Today I received an interesting blurb and link that I followed to the blog it originated in. While the blog post turned out to be interlaced with spam links (so I won’t link to it) it did have some commentary that I felt needed to be addressed on the topic of what is a web developer and what is a web designer.

I basically agree with the definition presented of a web developer:

Quite simply, a web developer is a kind of software engineer, one that conceives, develops and runs applications that support the operation of the World Wide Web. Generally speaking, these types of programs deliver a particular server’s content to a client or end-user through a web browser.

Though I do not agree with the part of the author’s definition that claims that web developers have major industry certifications from from Novell, Cisco, Microsoft and Oracle. Since the vast majority of web developers I know do not have such certifications and certainly not from Novell or Cisco which are primarily network infrastructure certifications. You will find a very small minority of web developers are Microsoft Certified Solution Developers, MS SQL, Oracle DBA or MySQL DBA but that you really don’t see too many DBA (Database Administrators) actually working as web developers.

The author did have a good definition of web designer but he omitted the graphics skills that go along with his definition:

Web designers need to understand the behavior of the various pieces that go into a page, site and domain, not from an infrastructure level, but the perceptual level. A designer needs to put herself in the place of Internet surfers and understand how they “see” and navigate their way around the web. This understanding will inform her choices as to how she puts together the pages, links them to others and creates the overall environment, making disparate parts into one coherent whole.

Which is part of what was in the blurb Google sent me that made me follow the original link.

Web developers are not designers, as pointed out previously, but often are familiar with the high-end web design software programs like Front Page, Adobe Dreamweaver and Expression Web 2. Web designers, of course, are not only familiar with these, but have the full range of creative applications in their toolboxes-Photoshop, paint programs, Illustrator, word processors, the whole chi straightening irons collection. They need to manipulate images, colors, text and other elements to create the look, feel and actions that web visitors expect on the Internet.

Dreamweaver & Expression Web 4 are tools not web development tools even though each has some limited amount of back-end coding support. In the case of Dreamweaver that is PHP & ColdFusion while for Expression Web that is ASP.NET and PHP. No real web developer would use either one for web development on the back-end. Instead they would use a PHP IDE, Eclipse or PHP (depending on their preferred language).

Dreamweaver & Expression Web are used by web designers who need to understand how browsers work and work with front-end code by which I mean HTML, CSS & JavaScript. The web designer has to work with the visual elements of the page which means they also have to understand graphics, design and usability. This is what differentiates a web designer from a graphics designer who needs many of the same graphics skills but also needs the skills for print which is a completely different media.


Dreamweaver | Expression Web | Web Design

Arrogance & Ignorance

by cdwise 23. April 2010 04:35

I followed a link tweeted by Smashing Magazine today to be greeted with:

arrogance “You’re using old, unsafe and very slow browser, use Firefox/Chrome/Safari instead.”

Don’t you just love folks who spell out their biases so clearly?

Since IE 8 runs considerably faster than Firefox 3.x on my Windows 7 computer I don’t think the person really knows what he’s talking about. (Note I don’t know if the person behind that site is male or female so my “he” is used to include both.) Besides, I use a tablet PC and Firefox doesn’t properly register the system caret so I my input panel isn’t triggered for me to use things like forms on web pages. That’s also a problem for many assistive device users who would might want to use Firefox. So while it is on my computer and I use it regularly for testing and troubleshooting websites it isn’t my primary browser and cannot be until that issue is fixed. (Back in the early days there was an extensions that enabled pen use but the code has changed too much for the folks who created that extension to keep it functioning in FF 3.x.)

Apple has a history of creating pretty crappy software for Windows computers so Safari is only installed on my Mac. Besides it is the first browser to fall in hacking contests lifehacker.com.au safari falls first and everything falls eventually in browser hacking competition

Not being a fan of Google’s privacy policies my company doesn’t allow Google apps and that includes Chrome on computers they pay for unless they are isolated in a virtual machine w/o access to material stored on the hard drive.

Ironically, the article goes on to say that the CSS 3 effect used won’t work in Firefox until 3.7 is released. So until then you need to use jQuery to get the effect in Firefox which is exactly the same way you get it to work in Internet Explorer.


Web Design

Testing BlogEngine.net

by cdwise 3. August 2009 22:39

  Okay, I'm trying to figure out if this will work as a replacement for community Server. So far I've been able to migrate most of the tutorials but I still have to set up redirects.


Web Design

Meta Data

by cdwise 22. July 2009 23:14

Today in my Google Alert on web design topics I saw reference to a post that made me think how clueless some “so called” experts can be. There was a post that lead me to a thread where one of the “experts” was ranting

“If the external css file already exists, you don't have to worry about it. I created one for him and he doesn't change it. He used Dreamweaver in the past and it added style code in the head of the page that was not consistent with other pages and would override the external css files. We got annoyed with that. Microsoft Expressions is just another Front Page with extra files that are not necessary. I still edit his files in Notepad and they work fine.”

The person hasn’t a clue, especially since the issue I see in this comment isn’t the application whether Dreamweaver or Expression Web but in failing to educate the person about how to use CSS – both external stylesheets and when to use head section or even inline styles.

The reason people use a program like Dreamweaver or Expression Web is so that they are more productive. One really good example of this is that when you change the name or file path of a page, image or other file in the site all of the links in the site are updated to reflect this change without you having to do a find/replace (and make sure that what you do doesn’t mess up any document relative paths. To do this both of the programs use meta data. Neither will publish the meta data to your server by default.  If you don’t use meta data (which you can choose not to do but is a dumb thing to do) then those links won’t update. You lose the advantage of using DWTs (Dreamweaver Web Templates or Dynamic Web Templates depending on which program you are using) so why would you want to turn off meta data?

Oh and another reason to use Dreamweaver, Expression Web or TopStyle – you write the CSS and choose where it goes BUT you get code completion/intellisense and you don’t get typos like you do (if you are anything like me) with notepad. Think about it.


Web Design


by cdwise 8. July 2009 22:17

I subscribe to a Google Alert for Expression Web. Today I saw a forum post that I wished to respond to on “which is better FrontPage or Dreamweaver” over at the talkfreelance.com forum. Like most forums in order to post you have to register and this one included a scrambled letter CAPCHA. Okay, pretty standard stuff right?

Except that the images were so low contrast that this was the easiest to read of the five ‘refresh” images that I saw:


So I passed on creating an account and answering the question. In case anyone is interested here’s what I would have said will be in the blog post following this one.

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