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  1. #1
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    Web Designer v.s. Web Programmer

    Web Designer v.s. Web Programmer
    Whats the difference between the two? I'm a web designer does that mean I need to know any mark-up languages? Should I know html, xhtml or java script?

    How much should a web programmer be expected to design? Should he know how to manipulate photos in PhotoShop and be able to create an appealing layout that will direct the viewers eye through a page?

    I understand that the more you know the better off you are, but how much really should one be expected to know?
    I enjoy designing for the web and I do think a little on how my design will work. But I'm a designer I don't want to learn java script I want to focus on design, Am I wrong?

    Incas you were wondering here are my credentials
    http://www.itracedesigns.com/

  2. #2
    SitePoint Addict dotancohen's Avatar
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    They should both know a little abotuthe other's job. The designer is, of course, the guy who makes what you see and how you see it. But it's the programers job to make sure that it displays correctly. If the designer doesn't know any HTML, then he might make all sorts of designs that aren't possible.
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  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard LiquidReflex's Avatar
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    In the simplest of explanations:

    Web Designer creates the front-end
    Web Programmer creates the back-end

    However, in my opinion a Web Designer needs to know a little about programming to be able to design properly. Designing a website isn't all about the "looks", it's also about functionality. A designer needs to know how the site is going to navigate, the structure of the pages and what types of "features" the page is going to need. If the designer doesn't know these things, they may create a look that is great alone but once you work in the back-end processes (the power of the website) if the design doesn't work well with it, you haven't succeeded at meeting your goal of a well designed website.

    I'm not saying you need to know how to code a database, but you should understand how best to set up navigation, what modules or sections are going to be necessary on the page and what the programmer is going to require to show up within the design. That way, when you both finish, they mesh well together with little re-working necessary.
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  4. #4
    Robert Wellock silver trophybronze trophy xhtmlcoder's Avatar
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    The designer should at least understand the limitations and basics of CSS and HTML.

  5. #5
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    The designer should at least understand the limitations and basics of CSS and HTML.
    Define understanding? Do you mean a designer should know how to produce a css based layout with <div>'s on his own? Or just be able to read the source code of a site to get the gist of it, but not be able to create it?

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard trampt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dotancohen
    If the designer doesn't know any HTML, then he might make all sorts of designs that aren't possible.
    Every design is possible one way or another.

    Personally I code all my designs, can rewrite someone else's JavaScript and PHP but can't write my own from scratch, and I know what the current technological limitations are given what I want to do.

    Although honestly a lot of "designers" can't even code out a basic design well.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Addict dotancohen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trampt
    Every design is possible one way or another.
    A swirling text news ticker would be tough!

    And that's why the designer need to know the limitations of CSS and XHTML. Just like a bridge designer needs to know the limitations or steel and cement so that he won't design something that can't be built.
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  8. #8
    Working on it... Contrid's Avatar
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    First things first...
    This is my first post on Sitepoint, so I would like to say hi to everyone on the forums. I am sure we will get along well.

    I started out as a graphic designer, but now i develop full websites with php/mysql backends from scratch. See, you can specialize in either design or coding, and at the same time source the other part of your work from someone else.

    If you are a web developer, it is always good to be able to keep most of the work on your own hands. But it doesn't really matter what situation you are in right now, for sooner or later you will be learning a bit of both.

    Happy designing and coding guys!
    Best,
    Contrid

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard trampt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dotancohen
    A swirling text news ticker would be tough!
    Not with Flash and XML. Everything is possible.

  10. #10
    I'm a splitzer's Avatar
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    My defination for web designer who makes the simple layouts and websites on regular basis.

    Web programmer than would be who makes dynamic applications. Web programmer has liitle bit of designing information but better at making applications.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by LiquidReflex
    In the simplest of explanations:

    Web Designer creates the front-end
    Web Programmer creates the back-end

    However, in my opinion a Web Designer needs to know a little about programming to be able to design properly. Designing a website isn't all about the "looks", it's also about functionality. A designer needs to know how the site is going to navigate, the structure of the pages and what types of "features" the page is going to need. If the designer doesn't know these things, they may create a look that is great alone but once you work in the back-end processes (the power of the website) if the design doesn't work well with it, you haven't succeeded at meeting your goal of a well designed website.

    I'm not saying you need to know how to code a database, but you should understand how best to set up navigation, what modules or sections are going to be necessary on the page and what the programmer is going to require to show up within the design. That way, when you both finish, they mesh well together with little re-working necessary.
    I thought:
    Front End: HTML, CSS, Browser Parsed code.
    Back End: PHP, MySQL

  12. #12
    is craving 'the potato' slayerment's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LiquidReflex
    In the simplest of explanations:

    Web Designer creates the front-end
    Web Programmer creates the back-end

    However, in my opinion a Web Designer needs to know a little about programming to be able to design properly. Designing a website isn't all about the "looks", it's also about functionality. A designer needs to know how the site is going to navigate, the structure of the pages and what types of "features" the page is going to need. If the designer doesn't know these things, they may create a look that is great alone but once you work in the back-end processes (the power of the website) if the design doesn't work well with it, you haven't succeeded at meeting your goal of a well designed website.

    I'm not saying you need to know how to code a database, but you should understand how best to set up navigation, what modules or sections are going to be necessary on the page and what the programmer is going to require to show up within the design. That way, when you both finish, they mesh well together with little re-working necessary.
    That's exactly correct.

  13. #13
    SitePoint Guru Majglow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XiLLiON
    I thought:
    Front End: HTML, CSS, Browser Parsed code.
    Back End: PHP, MySQL
    Um yeah.. I think web designers include the creation of the HTML and CSS. Those markup languages, not programming languages.

    The person creating the dynamic backend is the programmer.

    I mean, if a person's only skilset is to be able to create HTML and CSS without being able to make an esthetic design, that person is quite limited.
    Ohai!

  14. #14
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Quote Originally Posted by XiLLiON
    I thought:
    Front End: HTML, CSS, Browser Parsed code.
    Back End: PHP, MySQL
    I agree. Doesn't stop me doing them all of course...
    (with varying degrees of skill)


    But there is another class of web person - the graphics artist sort of designer.
    Someone who builds a pretty picture in Photoshop, and has it sliced and diced to produce a web page. They might recognise html, but to my mind they are graphic artists. Doesn't stop them producing very pretty web sites. But understanding how to make it load faster or accessibility or information architecture or programming languages like javascript and php are not part of their way of working.

    Incidentally, for the O.P. writing html is not programming, and as XiLLiON says, a web designer SHOULD know about the mark-up code.

  15. #15
    SitePoint Addict proph3t's Avatar
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    Designer: Photoshop/graphics, layout/semantics, CSS/XHTML, Javascript/AJAX (at least a basic understanding or the ability to apply frameworks), and an understanding of the limitations and needs for the backend programming so they can design the site with those in mind.

    Developer: A programming language (the more the better), database design, basic HTML (for integration), and the skillset to properly code a backend based on the scale of the project.

  16. #16
    SitePoint Zealot
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    My job within web development is to ready a PSD for backend (coding it to xhtml/css).

    Designers who take their work seriously and get a lot of clients do know quite a bit of html/css. 1 could turn design into a tableless layout (would take him some time and not be as clean), another can edit my css to change fonts and now I've taught him, spacing. The last doesn't know much can he can tell the difference between decent and awful code.

  17. #17
    SitePoint Guru glenngould's Avatar
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    Here is my assumption: A designer needs to know how to surf on the net (many of us know that for sure) but not necessarily what is an anchor tag (many of us know that for sure).
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  18. #18
    I Never Give Up roosevelt's Avatar
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    Here is what I think and really things should be:

    Web Designer
    - Know HTML, XHTML, CSS
    - How certain type of CMS's template system works, because now people rely on CMS for their website works,
    - Know the importance of W3C Validation

    Web Programmer
    - Knows HTML, XHTML, CSS
    - Knows dynamic language like Perl/PHP/ASP/ColdFusion or any others
    - Makes things easier for designers (template system part)

    I do both things. Like I make custom PHP Scripts, web designs and much more. And I noticed the only difference is it takes less time to do the job of a web designer. And as a web designer you don't have to worry about customizing an existing PHP script or create a new one.

  19. #19
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Designer = Does Graphics
    Programmer = Dosen't

    "I need a web designer" - I need my designed to be created. Including the Template, Content, Etc.

    "I am a [web] programmer" - I know advanced langauges in which persue the creation of some cool aspects to a website.

    Web Designers are sometimes both.

    Therefore, a web designer should be expected to Develop the Idea, Content, etc. in my personal opinion/experience.

  20. #20
    SitePoint Enthusiast forum-index.com's Avatar
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    Webdesigner must have more knowledge as a webprogrammer.
    Webdesigner must know about all thing. Not more but a little.
    What is Flash, how work Flash, What can PHP what not, What can css, what can js, how can i use graphics on my page, how can i embed flash or php code ....
    Webprogrammer make her/his job. Writing codes/scripts for a websites, like php,asp,.NET,js,cf ...
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  21. #21
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    So does web designer + web programmer = web developer?

  22. #22
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    Depends on who's doing the recruiting

    It's a grey area indeed, alot of graphic designers call themselves web designers, yet as a web designer in a corporate environment I barely ever touch graphics. I find that the recruiters are the ones that often blur the lines in an effort to get an individual that can do all roles

  23. #23
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    My opinion out of observation in the real world:

    Web designer:
    He can design outstanding "wow" effect layouts. He can or cannot handcode HTML properly. He cares or don't care about standards. He slices or do not slice his layouts (as oppose to pure css layouts). He knows Flash, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and whatnot graphic tools. He "cannot" do any server side scripting. He may know a little client side scripting like javascript.

    Web programmer:
    He is an expert in a server side language like PHP, ASP, etc. He may be an expert as well with a client side language like javascript. He knows some HTML but he "cannot" design wow effect layouts. He can do "skeleton/plain" layouts that a designer may later work on. He may care or not care about web standards.

    Web developer:
    He is a combination of a web designer and web programmer. He may not be a total expert in both fields but he knows a substantial amount of knowledge in each of them and he can "do" things on his own. Most importantly, he cares about standards, clean code, best practices, and latest trends in general web development.

  24. #24
    Non-Member Egor's Avatar
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  25. #25
    SitePoint Addict Mong's Avatar
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    Web designing and web programming are complete jobs in itself.
    Web designers work on Front End.
    And Web programmers work on Back End.

    But there is a Middle End as well in the complete scene.
    So it is equal duty of web designer and web programmer to know the middle end.

    And what you are asking about is called "Middle End".
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