This article was written in 2012. It might or it might not be outdated. And it could be that the layout breaks. If that’s the case please let me know.

Spread our knowledge

Developer relations teams do great jobs. The people from Mozilla, Opera, Chrome and others who travel around the world showing – mostly to front-end – developers what’s possible with our amazing new web technologies are an important part in spreading the knowledge. But I always wonder why the focus is on developers only. Why don’t browser-evangelists* focus on designers, marketers and UX-people instead? Traditionally these are the people who decide what’s being built, not the developers. If these people don’t know that new exciting things are possible, how can we expect them to create new exciting things? Adaption will be much quicker when we influence the decision makers directly.

The focus on front-end developers is understandable, they need to know how things work. But we should really start looking at back-end developers as well. I did a workshop about responsive design and progressive enhancement for back-end developers a while ago and I was shocked by the complete lack of knowledge about HTML and CSS. These people build the backend for websites and web apps, yet they have no idea about the underlying principles. They don’t know how people actually see and use their work.

I think the web would benefit much more right now if we didn’t just focus on ourselves but started spreading our knowledge to other disciplines as well.

I’ve been doing this for years in the company I work at, I’ve been explaining the web to clients and colleagues. I think it’s time to explain these things to others, outside my company as well. So here it is: do you need somebody who can explain how the web works, technically, on your non-technical event or conference? Don’t hesitate to contact me.

UPDATE: Ron Kersic shuffled some words around from my post above which reminded me of the fact that I am extremely front-end focused myself. Now if somebody could do the same with design, UX and marketing…

UPDATE: Christian Heilmann answered that Mozilla doesn’t just focus on one group and he also jokingly pointed out that you can’t focus on 5 groups. Which is true for a person, of course, but it’s probably not impossible for a team.

* Can we please choose another word instead of evangelist? It sounds religious. UPDATE: Joost de Valk explained that in principle evangelist is not a religious word.