Welcome to the Fight of Fights of Designer vs. Coder, the biggest sparring match since Bush vs. Kerry! Or Coke vs. Pepsi. Or Kirk vs. Piccard. Or whatever. You get the drift.

Crouching in one corner you will see well equipped with his IBM, his honed HTML, ASP and PHP skills and utter lack of taste and style, the ultimate number-cruncher and parse-juggler: The Coder! Give him a big “Live Long and Prosper” everyone! May the force be with him!

And pillowing in the other corner, groomed, styled and GQ-ed, readying himself with a Latte (artificial sweetener and soy), armed with his Photoshop 8, his Mac and an impeccable taste in Jazz: The Designer! Can I hear an “Inconceivable!” from the crowd? As you wish!

This is the fight of the eons and only one can win! It has been going on since the foundation of the World Wide Web (approx. 10 years) and is certain to continue well into the future! But who should prevail? The Coder seeks all that matters on the net: function, functionality, usability and function, while The Designer seeks all that matters in his (or her) opinion: truth, beauty, freedom and love. And we all know that truth, beauty, freedom and especially love have no function whatsoever. And yet, all these elements must coexist if a web site is to be created!

The match begins!

The Coder waddles forward and proposes point-click-cash for a business website. The Designer glides into posture and advises pretty-pretty-click-click-ahhh! The crowd goes wild. Those that applauded the Coder’s minimalism now swoon in awe at the Designer’s colors and glosses. The judge votes in favor of the Coder, because his proposition resulted in the much desired ‘cash’, but hands the Designer a door prize for originality.

Second round announced by the click-click of a mouse.

The Designer has gathered new strength after flipping through a House and Garden and refilled his Latte-warmer with a double-strength espresso and a Bailey’s chaser. The Coder doesn’t need such drivel. He has been IV’d to a Red Bull dispenser for the past few hours and has been feeling high as a kite. He coughs a few brackets and utters some insults in ASCII because he’s been having that Pi daydream again.

This time the Designer attempt to compromise, and offers up a hybrid: pretty-click-ahhh-cash. A nod from the judges. Subdued applause from the crowd. The Coder rages, lunges forward on all four and fires of click-cash, because it rimes with quick-cash. Someone in the crowd claps ecstatically, then stops as nobody joins in. Quiet. Someone coughs in the stillness. Could have been the Coder. Dang brackets. The judge is ambivalent and decides that it’s a tie.

And so the battle rages on, layout after layout, coded line after coded line. Both parties grow tired with every round. The Designer is close to a burn-out, the Coder to a burn-up. The judge soon wishes he had stuck with the prefabricated sites available for a-buck-n-a-half at some dubious site from India. The crowd has gotten bored and is reading theonion.com and the entertainment section of CNN.com and downloading illegal music.

But a verdict must be reached! Only one can win!

Resolutions are proposed. Sack the Designer, let the Coder learn Photoshop. Sack the Coder, let the Designer learn HTML. Sack the judge, sack the Coder, sack the Designer, sack the crowd, and let’s get back to pen and paper. But the decision ultimately rests heavily upon the judge, the person who ordered the site, or whoever has the responsibility to get the job done.

Here are the two possible endings to this debate:

1. The Designer and Coder humbly agree that neither can take the decision and call upon a third party, the judge. He decided which road to choose and which design to use and both the Coder as well as the Designer must follow that decision.

2. The Designer, according to natural selection the wisest of the lot, chooses to settle the issue once and for all. He floats past the Coder–who is on the floor on his back blabbering and salivating something about brackets and //W3C//DTD HTML 8.01 Transitional//EN with wide Red Bullified eyes–and uses a trick he learned from the Coder known as OPC (other people’s codes) and duplicates a proven site both parties have agreed they liked, changes the colors, images and text and slips it to the judge, good taste be dammed… or at least bridled. Since it is impossible to agree with a Coder one must sometimes let good taste be good taste and choose a path more minimalistic in nature.


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