An Ode To W3Schools

As a young developer, I still distinctly remember the learning process. I remember feeling confused – very confused.

Every once in a while, I’d have a great victory. But as the old adage goes, the more I learned the less I knew. It was always:

Where do I paste that?

What’s a library?

What does a database look like?

Enter W3School – My Personal Savior

It seemed as though no matter what I was stuck on, W3Schools had the answer.

Ode to w3schools

It’s really quite incredible. The website covers introductory tutorials on almost every web language. The tutorials are brief, interactive and easy to follow.

I probably spent more time on than any other website during my first 6 months of web development.

So, Why All The Hatred?

Years have gone by, and I don’t spend so much ( or any ) time on their website anymore. Somewhere along the way, I picked up on the common theme of W3Schools bashing. I think a lot of the mentality can be summed up at the pointedly named W3Fools website.

It’s clear there are a lot of criticisms being made against the website, so let’s just talk about the main three.

There are inaccuracies on the website, and they won’t fix them. They appear affiliated with the W3C, which they are not. They will not wikify their content.

Some Stuff Is Wrong And They Won’t Correct It.

This one is pretty straightforward. I don’t care so much that there are inaccuracies on the website, but if people really have sent in emails and fixes and been ignored that is a problem.

It appears to me that W3Schools is run by a single person. The fact that a small amount of the information is incorrect is really not a big deal when you think about how much content there is. Again though, if he(they) is refusing to fix the problems when they are pointed out, that is too bad.

They Appear Affiliated With The W3C

For those in the know the W3C is the World Wide Web Consortium, it is an international organization that governs the web. W3Schools rides off the notoriety of that name despite being unaffiliated. Is that really a complaint? How many JavaScript developers are out there that think this is an issue?

They Will Not Wikify

While I admire the idea of Wikify’ing websites for the good of the community, it’s a pretty large demand. W3Schools is a wildly successful website ( with a good amount of ads ). It’s a valuable resource to be sure, but that doesn’t mean it should be public property. Again, I’d love to see it happen – but that doesn’t mean it should happen.

Still A Fan

I’ve read a lot of the criticism against the site, but all-in-all I think it’s an amazing resource and we could all appreciate it a bit more.

© 2014 Jon Kuperman