Last night, several of us were treated to a dinner as a part of this year’s Microsoft Web Developer Summit (great dinner, by the way – Anthony’s in Kirkland, WA). Seems like there was just about a one-to-one ratio at one point of MS employees to PHP developers attending. It was interesting to see how this played out in conversations and in the general flow of the evening.
At the table I was sitting at there was a MS rep from the Windows team, Ani, who was pleasant, engaging and genuinely seemed interested in what “this PHP thing” was all about. Some of her questions could have been answered by a few trips to Google, but overall it was good to see the interest level from someone not in the usual web bubble PHP normally operates in. There were a few great debates that came out of her questions with the most memorable being about SEO. She had asked about our take on it and if it even played a part in the work that we did. Most at the table were of the opinion that, if it’s going to happen, it was someone else’s job – the responsibility of the front end folks as a part of making the site “pretty”.
This and another comment about application structure got me thinking…with a lot of the sites out there going with an MVC pattern for their structure, does this mean a sort of SEO-friendliness is already built in? I’m not talking that black magic, voodoo stuff that lots of firms pass off as SEO consulting. I mean the good placement of data, good content and a well though out site structure. By default, MVC makes this last one super simple. For most frameworks, it’s just a built in part of their routing to make search-engine friendly URLs. Of course, it’s still up to you to fill those URLs with good meaningful content, but it’s a start.
So, do we as developers still have a responsibility to create an application that will, in the end, make more sense to the outside world and to the major search engines? Should we step outside of our bubble and branch out into the wider ecosystem of the application, making sure that what we’re doing fits with the whole?