Www.w3schools.com - Good for a reference?


I am new to Web Development, I am currently learning HTML,CSS and JavaScript. I find the reference at www.w3schools.com to be very good, it’s complete with examples and a try-it yourself plug-in on the website itself…

However, I came across this website www.w3fools.com, and now I am a bit worried about the authenticity and accurateness of the content at www.w3schools.com.

What should I do?

I would describe w3schools as “basically OK if you aren’t looking for anything complicated and don’t mind some details being wrong”. For simple syntax and checking what values you can use, it’s usually fine – but as you’ll have seen on w3fools, it does have a fair few mistakes in it.

Another great resource is http://reference.sitepoint.com/, which has HTML, CSS and JavaScript references. While I can’t promise it’s 100% accurate, if you do find any mistakes in it then let us know and we should be able to get them corrected!

w3schools has been criticised in the past over the accuracy of its JavaScript content, but I’m not sure if the site has been updated since then. As Stevie D points out, there are other good references out there. In addition to the SitePoint one, I’d recommend the Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) - I’ve found their JS section particularly useful.

WebPlatform is also emerging as a great resource for learning about these topics.

While all of the sections of the w3schools site are somewhat dated (two guys can only do so much when they have a site trying to cover so many different topics), the JavaScript section is particularly dated with the introductory section demonstrating almost exclusively obsolete JavaScript that should never be used in a live web page. Because many people look on this site as an official resource just because the owners got lucky with their choice of domain name, there are many JavaScript courses out there that use this as their basis for teaching JavaScript - which is why you see so many new web sites written using JavaScript that is better suited to Netscape 4 than it is to more modern browsers such as IE5.

The easiest way to tell if a site teaching JavaScript is likely to be teaching how to write for 21st century browsers is where they suggest you place the script. Almost all JavaScript should be attached just before the </body> tag - there are only a very few situations where it needs to go in the head (I know of exactly two scripts that need to go there) and it certainly doesn’t need to be jumbled with the rest of the page. Also if you look at the code and see references to document.write, alert, document.all or see JavaScript jumbled with the HTML tags instead of being in a script attached to the bottom of the page then that tutorial is out of date.

It was because w3schools JavaScript section and other JavaScript tutorials are so antiquated that I created my own site to use when I run JavaScript classes at the local college. I didn’t create a reference because the Sitepoint and ECMAScript sites already provide that (although the examples on my tutorial site do cover much of the same material, just laid out as tutorial examples rather than as a reference).

I’m hoping that you meant IE9 or IE10 :shifty:

No I meant that the JavaScript people are being taught to write became obsolete when all the browsers prior to IE5 diesd out - most of the JavaScript I see is still written for Netscape 4 which was the last browser to require document.write(), alert() etc because of that browser not understanding document.getElementById().

When Internet Explorer Five was the oldest browser still in current use most of the JavaScript that people are still mostly being taught today became obsolete as a completely new approach to JavaScript became possible at that time (about eight or so years ago).

There is another whole range of JavaScript code that will become obsolete once IE8 dies out - perhaps in a few year’s time. That isn’t going to influence most JavaScript writers though as they are still writing code for Netscape 4 because that’s what sites such as w3schools are still teaching.

Gotcha. I didn’t understand quite what you meant at first glance.

If you are talking about Web Development and Web Development learning process. Then W3Schools is best website for reference. 90% Trainer and teacher refer this website. I have Good experience using this. It is best.

Where did you get this statistic?

As seen in the responses above, it is not “the best” according to web development professionals. It’s inaccurate and outdated in many cases.

By “best” you presumably really mean worst. The two guys who created that site decided to take on way too much and have not been able to keep all of the pages up to date. Just how outdated each section is depends on how much the individual languages have changed since they created the site. The most popular browser at the time the site was created was Netscape 4 and much of the site content is still better suited to that browser than anything more modern. This is most noticeable with the JavaScript section as JavaScript now is almost a completely different language than what it was back then and how it is still presented on that site.

Too many people seem to somehow think that site has some sort of official standing just because the two guys who created it got lucky with their choice of domain name. They are responsible for many people wasting money on JavaScript courses that teach a history of how JavaScript was written in the 20th Century and which just make it harder for the people taking the course to learn how to write JavaScript properly for modern browsers.

I started off with w3schools.com to learn HTML & CSS, but I admit that I haven’t learned much. I learned both on the side, whenever I had to edit an HTML or CSS document and either made sense to me or I just used Google.
I suggest using a more fun method of learning how to code as a front-end developer. Go through the courses on Tuts+ for example. HTML, CSS and jQuery are all free to learn there and Jeffrey Way is a pretty good tutor:

http://www.codecademy.com/ also seems to be decent and has plenty of interaction involved. Although I haven’t tried it yet.

I agree with you that Now a days it is going updated and Development rules are changing rapidly. But we are just talking on as reference. In Educations Departments, Teachers have 20+ years experience in teaching and they are still teaching what they know. They are not updated with currently rules of development. They are stilling referring out dated websites and rules.

I agree that Above statics are not accurate. It is just general idea base on observation. I didn’t conduct research on this. Yes, its worst.

I too started early on at w3schools (13+ years ago). I guess the site is OK as long as you understand it’s outdated. You can can get an idea for the terminology and syntax and play with the “change and see” pages.

One of the main problems I had however, was needing to unlearn a lot of what I had learned. IMHO it would be better for newbies to go to a more current reference site.

And yes, I understand that edcucational institutions can be behind the times, sad but all too true.

I think w3schools are very good reference for a beginner to get through all concepts but when you become experienced you need a bit higher level than this.

I would also endorse w3schools for a beginner. Once you get into complicated stuff, there will be other references that you would be able to use ( stackoverflow etc ). But to get started I would highly recommend it.

Guys, you’re not reading the responses that have already been made.

There are better up-to-date reference sites out there, regardless of your skill level.

Off Topic:

Stackoverflow isn’t a reference site. It’s a Q&A site.