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Tech Tips, Tricks & Trivia

by 'Anil' Radhakrishna
An architect's notes, experiments, discoveries and annotated bookmarks.

Search from over a hundred HOW TO articles, Tips and Tricks


A rant on WebPlatform.org


Yesterday W3C announced the creation of a new website WebPlatform.org as a "place to come for answers to your trickiest (and simplest) development and design questions about the Open Web Platform."

Microsoft, Opera, Google, Facebook, Mozilla, Nokia, Adobe and W3C will contribute content.

The Web Platform Docs (WPD) Getting Started page loftily announces that "Anyone can contribute to WPD. To get started, you'll first need to register and verify your email address....The community is friendly and welcoming to newcomers..."

When I tried to register this is the message I see -

Account creation from this IP address (199.27.75.20) has been blocked by Cmills.

The reason given by Cmills is Autoblocked because your IP address has been recently used by "Ella". The reason given for Ella's block is "Inserting nonsense/gibberish into pages: Seems to be a bot, or a troublemaker"

My Internet service provider is Airtel, one of India's and possibly the world's largest service providers and they give me a dynamic IP address. It is totally unfair & illogical that WPD should block me because someone else shares this dynamic IP address.

I was also surprised to see that a community initiative like this doesn't use an authentication mechanism like OpenId as popular community websites do.

I'm also upset with some self-appointed guardians of web standards for talking low of W3schools & suggesting that WPD will supplant it. W3schools which started in 1998, beats any other web developer reference  in staying power.

W3Schools is huge considering it has been written over a long period of time. The site doesn't appear to have a large team but it is truly remarkable how they have churned out a large body of work. The number of site pages indexed by Google is a rough measure of the size of a website. The search query site:w3schools.com reveals that W3Schools has about 45,700 pages. I don't know of any similar website that offers unbiased technical guidance on the same scale and in plain English.

Critics complain the site's information is not up-to-date.  While the complaint is valid, it may be harsh to expect the site owners to make immediate modifications as things change. The inaccuracies stem out of the fact that W3Schools attempts to present information in a simplified manner. At times, it may be too simplified to upset some pedantic folks.

W3Schools has the courage to admit that the content may not be correct. This is a reasonable warning for two reasons. They don't charge users anything and due to the evolving nature of the Web, information can change fast. They have a link in the footer that asks readers to report errors.

I have come across many reputable sites that don't bother updating their sites with the latest information so why just blame W3Schools, it's run by humans after all. I wish not just W3Schools but all technical literature on the web had a last modified date on every web page of value.

I hope WPD can emulate W3Schools' simplicity.

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