Tom Lauck’s

It’s the Age of the Deseloper


Having a non-conventional title to this journal has been somewhat of an interesting journey.  The responses regarding the title always vary and are at times, very amusing.  Surprisingly enough, about three (3) times out of ten (10), informal interviewees cannot decipher the meaning of deseloper within a reasonable 30 seconds.  Ironically, the percentage of users that did not immediately grasp the word deseloper is about 30%.  This is in fact roughly the same percentage of users that still use IE 6.  While I blatantly discriminate against IE 6 and its users, I do not and will not discriminate against users who not understand the word deseloper.  So to add a portion of understanding to all of my readers and for general education purposes, I thought it would be beneficial to examine what exactly a deseloper is in today’s workplace and if they truly have value.

Definition of Deseloper:
  • one who has the ability to produce both web design and development at high fidelity.

To dive a little deeper, deselopers can go one of three ways in there area of focus, either favoring the left side of the brain, the right, or more of a balanced approach.  Typically, these individuals can do it all.

How do you go about creating the design (look & feel, user experience, information architecture) of your applications?

  • I do it myself 58.6%


As one can imagine, this is extremely valuable in small or freelance settings.  In a larger corporate setting is there still value?

At first pass the answer may be no.  Typically large corporate environments have two sides of the house, design and development or IT.  A designer or developer having an understanding of the other side becomes more of a bonus rather than a requirement.  However, with the emergence of sophisticated UI technologies such as Flex, Silverlight, AJAX, should leveraging these technologies be left to the designer or developer?

I would argue to say both.  Take for instance the continual drive to allow better separation of logic and presentation in Silverlight. Flex, or AJAX.  This is evident by the many Microsoft developers exited over Sliverlight, but are not ready to be Silverlight developers. If there is a Silverlight developer, they are faced with the serious lack of Silverlight designers. Therefore, in order to execute on a Silverlight app, either a designer has to learn XAML and C# or the developer has to try be a designer. And we all know how that usually turns out. So, we find ourselves in an area where the true separation of developers and designers for these front end or UI technologies has not happened yet.  Enter the deseloper.

Until an adoption of these front end technologies happens for application developers around the world, or designers learn how to effectively use the other side of their brain and produce rock solid code, there is a valuable niche for the deseloper.  Because customers, clients, or management is always looking for the latest and greatest, deselopers are willing and ready to execute.  So perhaps the deseloper may someday in the near or far future be a rich internet application developer or rich internet application designer (as opposed to web designer or web developer).

On estimating value in the workplace :

A skilled, quick professional stands out these days. The people who shine are the people who get the new world – a no nonsense approach, courtesy, and most importantly, speed.


The deseloper gets the new world.  And with a full grasp of all the tools on hand from both a design and development standpoint, the deseloper can strike like lightning.  Yes, in whatever title or role the deseloper is morphed into, the deseloper is certainly here to stay.

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Mar 16 2009