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W3Fools Takes on W3Schools

W3Schools is one of the oldest and most popular web development tutorial sites on the Web. But it has its share of critics. Today, 46 of those critics launched W3Fools, a site dedicated to criticizing W3Schools. W3Fools lists a number of mistakes, inaccuracies and pieces of outdated information in W3Schools’ tutorials, especially the HTML and JavaScript tutorials. The site points out W3Schools’ own disclaimer as evidence that the site is badly flawed. The disclaimer reads: “We do not warrant the correctness of [W3Schools] content. The risk from using it lies entirely with the user.”

The site’s authors note that although there are resources they believe are better, “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.” Since the site went up, several issues have already been fixed and W3Fools notes those with strikethrough.

Here are the resources W3Fools recommends as alternatives:

I linked to W3Schools’ JavaScript tutorial in our 6 Free JavaScript E-Books and Tutorials post. I never came across the tutorials from Google, Mozilla or PromoteJS while doing my research for that post. I just checked, and although W3Schools’ JavaScript tutorial still comes up as the top search result for “JavaScript Tutorial” none of the sites W3Fools lists were found in the first 10 pages of results for a search for “JavaScript Tutorial.” This shows the uphill battle other tutorial writers face when competing with W3Schools.

W3Fools is calling on W3Schools to wikify its tutorials so that readers can fix mistakes. W3Schools does have an e-mail address for corrections. When asked whether W3Fools had contacted W3Schools, co-author Boaz Sender replied “Yes, and I believe a number of them have been made.” Update: Another of the authors, Paul Irish says the authors did not contact W3Schools ahead of time.

There is a thread on the W3Schools forum discussing W3Fools. One commenter takes issue with some of W3Fools’ critiques, especially those relating to HTML5.

W3Schools did not respond to our request for comment. The company is based in Norway and the request would have arrived in the late Friday afternoon there, which may explain the lack of response.

Update:W3Schools has responded.

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