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Who are the W3Fools?


I started learning web designing through w3schools.com. Like me many others have also used this website to refer when they had a doubt about details related to web. That is the reason w3schools.com has been a top site among web developers and designers since 2000.

With great power comes great responsibilities.

w3schools.com had a huge responsibility of keeping its information upto date and informing the right details. Unfortunately they have failed. Though I regularly visit the website I did not notice these mistakes until I came across the website W3Fools.com. I know that like me a lot of other readers too visit this website and hence I thought of sharing this knowledge and letting you about the incorrectness of the information passed by W3Schools.

W3Fools.com was started by the members of the Front-end Dev Community. You can see the list of the members on their website. It’s name rhymes with W3Schools but says who they actually are. W3Fools.com addresses the problems with W3Schools.com. They have listed all the issues with the website and also provided some solutions to it.

Here are a few notable points that I think you should know:

  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • From W3Schools’s own footer: We do not warrant the correctness of [W3Schools] content. The risk from using it lies entirely with the user.
  • 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.

What once started to be a great resource of information because of lack of maintenance and update has lost its value. What’s worse is no one from W3Schools seem to be not taking care of it even after repeated reporting. The following quote from W3Fools.com confirms it.

Although we haven’t heard from W3Schools directly, we have noticed that W3Schools has started to correct errors we’ve spotted. These have been noted here with strikethrough. Although we’d appreciate some communication, we’re elated they’ve taken steps to improve their information.

W3Fools.com also quotes some the deliberate and obnoxious mistakes given in the information from w3schools.com

Here are some of the mistakes:

  • w3schools: The latest versions of Safari, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera support some HTML5 features. Internet Explorer 9 will support some HTML5 features.
    w3fools: This is misleading. Many features that have existed for years in IE are just now being standardized by HTML5, e.g. contenteditable. IE8 also already supports localStorage, which is an HTML5 feature.
  • w3schools: Most browsers will display HTML correctly even if you forget the end tag
    w3fools: Most browsers try to correct your markup but there will probably be unintended consequences. There are a few elements, such as paragraph tag, which are explicitly stated in the HTML spec to have an optional close tag, but most elements are not this way.
  • w3fools: There is no such thing as a subject attribute, but W3Schools claims there is. Furthermore, many HTML5 standard attributes such as dir and dropzone are conspicuously absent. In HTML-dialect HTML5, the values of boolean attributes like hidden are not relevant to how the attribute is processed. Finally, instead of listing all five microdata attributes, only “item” and “itemprop” are provided—and they don’t give a reasonable explanation of how they should be used, leaving the visitor clueless.

You can read a whole list here.

The Remedy

As members of the web community it is our job to correct if something goes wrong in the web world. W3Fools.com have taken up the initiative to do just that. We also belong to the same community and we can help our descendants and colleagues. Many students still visit this w3schools.com for information and their fundamental knowledge is supposed to be quenched by false information. This should be stopped or else quality work will not be possible.

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.

We need YOU to STOP IT – and here’s how you can do it.

Filter out w3schools from your searches, add -w3schools. Meanwhile, to get results from the Mozilla Dev Network, just prepend mdn.

If you have a Google account you can permanently filter w3schools out of your search results by visting http://www.google.com/reviews/t and blocking w3schools.com (leaving out “www” in order to cover all its subdomains). This can be undone at any time by revisiting the same page. Google reportedly analyses the blocking statstics from this extension and may act upon it if they see a pattern forming. (If you are using Google’s Chrome browser, you can achieve the same effect by installing the official Personal Blocklist extension).

“Spread this message. If you spot someone using or referencing w3schools.com on blog comments, stackoverflow, etc… Send them to W3Fools.com website.
Always keep pushing yourself to learn and create. Deliver delight. Excel in your craft.”

I am crazy about web technologies and this is part of my duty to let you all know about this. Please share this message to everyone you know and to all those who are being misinformed. Thanks to W3Fools.com for putting up this online and thank you for reading.

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