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Real World WPF : Designers and Developers working together?!

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The UK MCS User Experience team and a number of UK partners have been working on WPF for over 12 months and this Real World WPF series is intended to show some of their work and capture/share some of their learnings. Nick Page talks to Martin Grayson and Paul Tallett from the UK MCS User Experience team about their experiences working on real world WPF applications and specifically how Designers and Developers have worked together on these projects.

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  • Nice video. Where can I find that wallpaper?
  • This is an interesting video, and great to see something from Microsoft UK. I have to say, i've never quite understood the general animosity between designers and developers. The words 'chalk and cheese' spring to mind, but I think a lot of it stems from bruised egos and misplaced confidence on both sides of the fence.
    Most programmers fancy themselves as a bit of a designer too, most of us having done more than enough UI design in our time, and a lot of us being given total freedom over it on smaller projects.
    This leads to something which often seems to cause upset, namely programmers fiddling with the designers ideas on the quiet as we see fit during the implementation. I have to say, on reflection, I dont think i've seen designers fiddle with the code.

    Having a good team is adsolutely critical, you should be able to get to the situation where the programmer trusts the designer's understanding enough to implement his or her designs as laid out, as he or she probably knows much more about design that you do, a fact which is difficult to accept sometimes. It's like putting on your best smartest clothes to impress, only to be shot down and bluntly told your style is awfully 90's.

    I'm not saying that there should be a chasm dividing the them, far from it, thrashing these things out together is by definition 'working together', but there has to be a level of respect for each others role and judgement.

    It's also very interesting, coming from an ASP.NET development side, that windows development is moving so closely towards a similar idea of the separation of code and layout. I mean, thats been happening the web development world for a long time. Web Development agencies who make a business of providing only layout and graphics are commonplace, but UI development agencies? I haven't heard of many, except for the excellent thirteen23 and frog design who seem to have quickly taken up WPF for use in real projects. This separation, i think, will open up a huge new market, the same way we have 'We'll do the xhtml and graphics, you do the coding' kind of agencies now, except this time it'll be 'You do the C#, we'll do the xaml'. This is even more apparent when you consider the market positioning of applications such as Blend and Interactive Designer. A good example of what can be done with this kind of approach is the new Yahoo! Messenger for Vista , a taste of things to come, or so I hope.
  • Zian Choyzian Exploding heads since 1988
    It was very nice to see a comparison of the various approaches. I'll have to archive the video for later if/when I start using WPF.

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