Responsibilities as Designers/Developers

This post was prompted by reading a feature by Andy Rutledge in .net magazine. First let me start by saying – it was an excellent column. If you haven’t read it already I suggest picking up a copy of .net as it’s a particularly good issue this month.

I digress, the article discussed Back end Developers not keeping to standards or producing poor quality work. He suggested that developers that do not understand semantics and correct use of html and css should be fired! The entire article was very strong, but I think this was necessary to get the point across.

What I wanted to comment on was the admonition for front-end designers to report bad programmers to the boss if they are producing bad code or messing up your standards compliant code because they don’t understand correct mark-up. In fact Andy said we were obligated to do so.

While I understand that just allowing people to put more and more poor quality work out onto the web for an employer who is oblivious to it, this may not be the only alternative.

When I produce the front end pages I make extensive use of comments and logically labelled IDs and Classes making it child’s play for the back end developer to insert their code without interfering with my mark-up.

Fortunately, I currently work with skilled developers that understand what their doing but this wasn’t always the case. I remember vividly one developer email me “what’s a div? Where are the table columns and rows?”. With a little explanation the project still went ahead and years later this same developer who had been so ignorant of non-table based designs is my first choice when it comes to any back end projects I need doing. I’m not going to name them as unlike Molly I can’t get away with embarrassing a colleague (not charming enough).

In conclusion I’d like to commend Andy for his strong message and hope it motivates some less pro-active developers to pic up a css book or read up on webstandards on WASP or listen to one of Paul Boag’s webstandards podcasts.

Speaking of podcasts I will be recording my first podcast/interview on Wednesday. This should be launched here on Saturday.

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