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.

Tags:

Dreamweaver | Expression Web | Web Design

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