Designer Seeks Coder

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2008-06-20 Print this article Print


Meanwhile, Skidgel, who shared the stage for the May 28 presentation titled "Engaging User Experiences with Google App Engine," displayed his own ad giving what he looks for in a developer.

Skidgel's ad, which was titled "Designer Seeks Coder," said, "Seeking a sane, customer-focused coding powerhouse with decent communication skills."

"As a designer, you really want to find someone who is sane and customer-focused," Skidgel said, adding, "As a developer you should have crocodile skin."

Skidgel said he seeks the following qualities in a coder: "takes suggestions without going ballistic, appreciates aesthetics, deep and broad understanding of front-end and back-end technology, and not afraid to express himself visually-he can draw [or] chicken-scratch flows."

He concluded, "It's a collaboration. You shouldn't feel that your designer has full reign over the design."

For his part, Simon said, "Most designers are very competent with CSS [Cascading Style Sheets], even better than some developers-so this is where you want them to help you."

Simon said Google App Engine supports workflow and is "a great environment for collaboration." In addition, local testing and deployment are easy and consistent, there is no compilation, the App Engine Launcher provides Mac OS X ease of use for developers, and the SDK (software development kit) auto-update keeps the development environment current, Skidgel said.

Simon said, "The designers I see where I work, they are all Mac people, and they aren't typically people who love the command-line approach." However, with Google App Engine, "getting set up and getting started and having your designer with the same environment you have" is a plus, he said.

Skidgel said things like design flows are important to do with both the designer and developer working together. "It's iterative and can be informal and quick," he said, noting that the team should capture revisions with a digital camera or cell phone camera to document the design.

"Two heads are better than one when you do this," Simon said. "My inclination is to just go start programming it, but that's not always the best way to do stuff. It's much better to get together with someone and talk it through."

In addition, design and coding should be done concurrently, Skidgel said. The designer works in Adobe Photoshop or Fireworks, and the developer begins writing handlers, he said.

"I go out and start writing all the assets-the mocks, the logos and everything else-and Lindsey is starting to write Python," he said.


Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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