. The Talking Moose waded out of the mud and into the fire with his piece yesterday. It’s the most ridiculous thing the Moose, who has otherwise been a very interesting read, has ever published.
The poor Moose clearly doesn’t understand what web designers, as opposed to code monkeys or integrators, do for a living. He seems to think they need or want to code every page or something inane like that. On personal sites that may be true, but that’s just for fun.
You can’t do content management properly – or even do it at all – without a damn good designer figuring out how to make it look, and with a damn good coder to make that design work with the content management system, and without a damn good architect to make sure that it fits together well through time.
I’m just old school enough to think that all of those roles – designer, coder, and architect – are best done by a single person. But none of those interests are antithetical to using a content management system to actually make it all happen on a day-to-day basis. In fact, a CMS can’t be implemented efficiently unless those folks do good work first – otherwise, the benefit of the CMS is lost in a miasma of snippets and included code and exception-fixing.
Of course the irony is that the Talking Moose site itself is a good example of this fact. Bryan Bell couldn’t have casually changed the design of the Moose had his code (made up of HTML and CSS) not been clean and useful to begin with. Likewise, had Dave and the gang at Userland not built a weblog architecture whose function enabled the weblog form (with the calendar-based navigation etc.), Bell’s work would have been useless. And the “design” (defined strictly) would be a secondary concern had both of those things not been done well for the task at hand.
It’s absolutely about design and the kind of work people like Zeldman do and it’s all about integrating content management systems as closely as possible to the writers and other “content people” who are doing the publishing. There’s no fight here, though the Moose seems to have wanted to stir one up.