This article highlights how the resources and tools built on top of Webflow's Designer is expanding the range of specialised roles within the platform. As a result, a distinction is emerging: implementers and developers, signifying diverse responsibilities and skill sets within Webflow. Furthermore, the new Quick Stack element also influences this distinction.
A few days ago, I saw a tweet asking for a WordPress freelance, financed to help an agency alleviate their workload. In the tweet it was highlighted that the person needed to be a WordPress developer, and not an implementer. I was very surprised because until that day I used the term development and implementation indistinctly.
Curious about the difference, I asked the author. The reply taught me something. A WordPress implementer is someone who relies on WordPress builders such as Elementor, Divi or Oxygen to create the site they are working on. They rely heavily on plug-ins to meet the requirements of a specific project. But they do not have a deep understanding of the underlying code that powers the site and his functionalities. This means that, in front of a complex project, a WordPress implementer will probably make an overuse of plugins, creating an underperforming and hard to maintain and scale build. On the other hand, a WordPress implementer can be really quick, delivering simple sites with the right set of the plugins.
At first sight, my perspective was that is such a differentiation didn’t exist in the Webflow space, given that in our loved tool, there is no option to go into the backend and alter how page are served into the browser. Meaning, all of us creating with Webflow are developers.
This idea of implementer vs. developer kept revolving in my mind. And analysing how the Webflow space has been evolving, I believe we are moving towards these two terms having different meanings and involving different set of skills.
Let me explain.
Since the early beginnings, I’ve heard from multiple people how they learned HTML and CSS thanks to Webflow. This happens because when using Webflow, we are directly creating HTML elements and styling them through CSS, visually. This pushes us to understand the logic of what it means to build for the web. While this has been the norm since Webflow launched, as the tool evolves into a mature market state, we keep seeing resources that create its own environment on top of the blank canvas in the Designer, allowing us to build from pre-defined blocks. While this is great for speed and simplicity, it pushes us away from understanding the principles of HTML and CSS.
These resources involved Relume and similar component libraries, a huge collection of Webflow templates and a continuously growing directory of clonable projects. With this vast amount of materials, we can launch a Webflow by just together a set of blocks and styling them accordingly. While this brings a lot of power to non-developers and people outside the web industry, if not done right, it can bring a lot of problems when maintaining and scaling a given project.
Similar to the WordPress example, a Webflow implementer con easily launch a site with the right set of tools. But when faced with a complex large build, a clear understanding of Webflow and its intricacies is key. Not only for launch, but for the healthy scalability and maintainability of the site for the upcoming months and years.
On the previous paragraph I covered how set of resources are built on top of the Designer to facilitate the creation of sites in Webflow. While all of these tools and resources are created by people and teams outside Webflow, there is one recent move from the Webflow team that also creates an abstraction layer on top of the Designer. This new move is Quick Stack.
Quick Stack is a new layout element in the Designer to facilitate building layouts, specifically created to make the life easier for those who have recently started using Webflow. Quick Stack creates a set of divs where the parent is set to display grid and its children to display flex.
The idea is not to dive into the technical details of this specific element. The intention is to highlight how this element makes a series of decisions that help creating layouts in Webflow. The same as stated before, this makes building faster but separates us from understanding the underlying logic of what we are building.
Let me emphasize I’m not by any means against Quick Stack. Seeing Webflow innovating in the Elements panel is huge, setting the stage for future improvements on this part of the UI. But it’s good to keep an eye on how Webflow keeps evolving how it empowers us to build for the web.
Making the distinction between a Webflow implementer and a Webflow developer shows us the spectrum of Webflow specialities keep growing. As Webflow professionals, especially if we manage or work alongside other Webflowers, naming what each team member does is a key to understanding and categorizing their capabilities.
Are you a Webflow Implementer or a Webflow developer?