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skinz

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W3Schools An Intervention

W3Fools

We are passionate about the web, learning, and craftsmanship. We want you, as web designers and developers, to be successful in your careers. We feel, though, that W3Schools is harming the community with inaccurate information. Like any other authoritative educational resource, W3Schools should both hold itself to, and be held to, the highest standards.

We hope we can illuminate why W3Schools is a troublesome resource, why their faulty information is a detriment to the web, and what you (and they) can do about it.

~ members of the Front-end Dev Community, January 14th, 2011
W3Schools is trouble

W3Schools.com is not affiliated with the W3C in any way. Members of the W3C have asked W3Schools to explicitly disavow any connection in the past, and they have refused to do so.
W3Schools offers certifications whose value is highly debatable… No employers recognize or respect W3Schools certificates. Unlike Microsoft’s MCP or Cisco’s CCC, W3Schools has absolutely no authority over the technologies for which they claim to provide certification. Unlike CompTIA’s ANSI/ISO accredited certifications, W3Schools has no support from governing standards bodies.
W3Schools frequently publishes inaccurate or misleading content. We have collected several examples illustrating this problem below.

We believe w3schools is harmful to the web. Web developers deserve better.
Why does it matter?
Bad education hurts.

Being badly educated hampers your ability to score a good job.
Inaccurate references slow development and cause costly QA loops.
Learning key web development idioms slowly or incorrectly puts you years behind your own colleagues.

What should be done

W3Schools should consider wikifying their content so the community could self-correct and keep the information up-to-date. Today, they do not even allow you to submit corrections on a page. They should.
You should learn from (and recommend) these more reputable sources:
WebPlatform.org is an open community of developers building resources for a better web, regardless of brand, browser or platform.
Opera Web Standards Curriculum covers the basics of web standards-based design in HTML and CSS.
Google's HTML, CSS, and Javascript from the Ground Up presents the basics of web development with video tutorials presented by Google's expert web developers.
SitePoint is a pretty good reference for HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Their documentation always mentions feature support across different browsers, and describes known browser bugs.
The W3C, itself, has a wiki-based general Learn page as well as an HTML element reference.

The MDN (Mozilla's Developer Network) takes over at intermediate CSS and covers JavaScript better than anyone.

The MDN is also a wiki (little known fact), which means we, as knowledgeable web developers, can add or change information so the pages are as effective and comprehensive as possible.

“Build One Yourself”

An oft-repeated mantra in OSS (and a critique we've already received) is that you shouldn't criticise something unless you're willing to put your money where your mouth is and build something better. It's an admirable ethos, but not really applicable here.

W3Schools has put a lot of effort into positioning itself at the top of search results and, despite our efforts (such as the PromoteJS initiative), appears to be there to stay. Other, better resources already exist, but none of them are capable of overcoming the inertia that W3Schools has built up over the years.

We believe it is W3Schools's responsibility to disseminate accurate information—and if they refuse, we hope that this document will help dissuade others from promoting or linking to W3Schools as an authoritative source of information.
 
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