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The implication that designers are not "big boys" is offensive. I will parry with: "big boys" often wield power they don't understand to theirs and everyone else's detriment. More importantly, if all the big boys get hit by a machismo bus who will be around to cook the spaghetti?

I think the parent's use of "big boy" was ironic; if someone is patronizing me, I might say "Listen, I'm a big boy, I can handle it." I don't see it as, necessarily, saying I'm in a class above others. Just that I can handle the responsibility someone else thinks I can't.

Yeah, I wasn't trying to suggest that I'm above designers or anything. In fact, I really respect good designers, because I'm not a great designer and I know how hard it is. However, the article is basically saying "Look, you shouldn't even be writing CSS, you're a coder! Coders code! You should hire someone else to do that!" This just seems a bit naive to me.

That's always confused me about template languages. They require knowledge of coding but don't include the full power of a traditional language. In a way it's the worst of both worlds. If you're designer is a only a Frontpage or Dreamweaver jocky, you're still hosed. If they grasp coding, why limit them?

The point isn't to limit the designer, but to constrain complexity creep.

Additionally, a good template language does not require knowledge of coding. I've had considerable success with providing front-end HTML writers with templates based on purely declarative custom HTML/XML tags.

Programmers write and document the tag libraries, HTML developers use them, and the HTML templates themselves are simple, easy to read, and generally declarative.

> Additionally, a good template language does not require knowledge of coding

I don't think I ever saw an effective template language that doesn't require programming knowledge. The only exception is when you move all logic in tags, but even then logic gets mixed with presentation (just not in the main template), and the downside is that a tag is like a black-box ... if the scope is not clear, you have no way of knowing what it produces by not looking over its code (CSS files in ASP.NET end up containing general classes in most cases because of that).

That's because the presentation layer requires logic, for example ... if this happens, then show this, else show that. Or to show the breadcrumb, iterate through this list. Or is this DateTime value in UTC? Then show it in the user's locale. That's logic and it's a lot more then a template with holes in it to fill.

And where is this logic supposed to go if not in the presentation layer?

All the designers I worked with also knew a programming language (at a superficial level at least) and where quite capable of coding complex logic in Javascript (which is also part of the presentation layer). Our fear is that designers don't understand a more complex language, but how many of you worked with such people? (since web-design is all about the end-product, I can't imagine a good designer that can't handle logic). And even if the language guards against shooting yourself in the foot you can always find creative ways to fuck up.

Good designers seem to think that it is perfectly reasonable:


I thought this was meant to disagree with my statement. This status message doesn't say Programmers = Big Boys, Designers = (What would you call it? little boys, girls, hobos?).

There is power in a template paradigm. Much like MVC is for people who "can't handle" hacking their entire program into a single executable, convention (guided suggestions or limitations) can do a lot for a group of developers even if they aren't collaborating with designers. If they don't recognize that, so be it (they will) but calling convention a softball for the less manly application developer is a crudely un-meditated suggestion.

I think the point you're missing is that no one was calling convention a "softball for the less manly application developer."

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