Forget rounded corners, forget one-column layouts — web tutorials are definitely hot at the moment. Or, maybe as I gain knowledge myself I’m noticing other people’s poor attempts more? Either way, every day I find a new handful of websites and each one seems to have their own selection of tutorials. Of course, I say “their own”, but unfortunately this is rarely the case. One prat steals from another prat who steals from another prat.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for helping people help themselves, but at what point does passing on this “knowledge” become more damaging than constructive? How “helpful” is it to tell people that
I can’t say it often enough:
is a valid way to display HTML all the while demonstrating it inside a bloody textarea of all things?!
s are for forms; for accepting user input. They are not for you to display a snippet of shitty deprecated code under the heading of an “HTML Tutorial”.
Should we resign ourselves to the fact that there are always going to be useless tutorial sites out there, or should we actually try to combat the problem? How exactly do you combat the problem without coming across as some heartless bitch preaching to those who just don’t care? Or should the question be.. should we actually give a monkeys about appearing heartless or harsh if webmasters benefit in the end anyway? I think I’ll stick to being harsh, heartless and “
jelous” (apparently that’s why I criticise people) if it helps one person to achieve a better state of ‘coding being’.
Of course, there are some people out there who really take the biscuit when it comes to tutorials: they’re the worst of the worse. I’m not necessarily talking about pixelfx here (although I’m not going to deny that it’s pretty bad) but websites that continuously redistribute atrocious coding and
insecure scripts and snippets. Websites that facilitate the redistribution of this “code” too: should we hold those at fault? Take pixel2life.com for instance… the concept is great, and some of the tutorials I’ve found through it are amazing, but I clicked a handful in the PHP section yesterday and every single one had a major flaw that anyone with basic knowledge of PHP security would spot. Surely it is the responsibility of pixel2life as a popular directory to provide some sort of quality control to keep their loyal visitors ‘safe’?
We all know about those who are aware of script issues and use them anyway — so who is responsible then.. the person installing the script despite knowing the problems associated with it, or the person providing the script in the first place? Do these people deserve to be kept safe, advised about security issues/etc?
Over the coming months I’m going to be focusing on reviewing HTML, CSS and PHP tutorials on personal websites — correcting the code and explaining why my (or other alternate methods) are better. I’ll start with nominations I’ve already received but I’m sure they won’t last long, so if you know of any sites demonstrating really bad tutorials get in touch.