When I posted my somewhat whimsical entry “Not The X!” on Monday I was under the impression that teenybopper tutorial sites were becoming less common. I figured there was a new trend out, maybe these wannabe geeks had all gained new hobbies or something. Of course, this is the part where I admit grand naivety on my part: they are there, I’m just looking in the wrong places.
The problem is that long established sites are still giving these young impressionables the wrong ideas. I’m all for a bit of competition in the tutorial world (that sounds so lame) but some of these sites are doomed before they start because they’re drawing inspiration from the likes of Pixelfx. And we all know what I think of that site.
While it would be LOLicious fun on my part to point out to all of the newbie tutorial writers where they’re going wrong, it would make more sense to go to the root of the problem. Today I’m covering XOXMARIAH.COM. I think this is the site I said I’d never review because it seems at first glance fairly useful, but.. well, I lied.
Turns out, “xoxmariah” isn’t as good as its cracked up to be (mm, tasty lime green transparent iframe). It’s one of those sites that pretends to be font of all knowledge but doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface in terms of quality. I’m not talking about the layout (which seems to be randomly broken in Firefox), the three random
<body> tags in the HTML, the superfluous CSS properties, or even the boring updates blog that serves as nothing more than a narcissistic outlet for the site maintainers (oh wait, isn’t that the epitome of a blog?)… it’s those damned tutorials again.
Ignoring the Perl script/tutorials à la pixelfx (I hate that site more and more every day) and the crappy, insecure mail form (courtesy of Dodo) being distributed — no doubt without permission — we have unsanitised data being echoed in PHP Browser Info/PHP Show IP, and a dodgy snippet of code in PHP Random Images that assumes the extension of a file is legitimate. (Remember point 5 in my Become a PHP Security Master post? Files can be renamed as easy as 1 2 3.)
Greymatter is still being given away despite repeated mentions of how shit it is, but I guess that’s OK because the “tutorial” is unreadable thanks to whichever prat can’t close their link tags. I mean, come on, that’s one of the simplest things to do in HTML. You think it’s a typo? Check the site out, it’s all over the place.
I’m somewhat sceptical as to why a tutorial is needed to tell someone to copy
< ?php get_calendar(); ? > into their sidebar, and I don’t understand the fascination with breaking code snippets with spaces (simply to display them in
<textarea>s) when it’d be much simpler and more presentable to convert the code, but who am I to complain about standards and semantics?
I found myself groaning at the screen in despair when a tutorial labelled “new” recommended
<div align="right"><font face="tahoma" size="3">SIGNATURE HERE</font></div> as an accurate way to include a signature at the end of blog posts. I don’t see how a tag that has been deprecated for longer than I’ve been using the Internet can possibly be described as a new method? I must have missed something.
The Adding To Favourites tutorial doesn’t work in Firefox (and what kind of simpleton needs telling how to add a website to their favourites?), the Ad Killer code advocates breaking the Terms and Conditions/Usage Policy of 3 major free hosts (mm, illegal goodness) and the Airborne Text tutorial uses stolen code to produce a text effect that should have stayed back where it belongs: 1996. Likewise the blinking text.. can somebody lend me a bucket, I think I need to puke.
On the Drag N Drop page I viewed the source to see if, by miracle of miracles, someone had adopted
<code>. The answer’s no. I don’t know why I even considered it a viable option. That aside, it did give me the opportunity to witness this marvel:
<!— STOP STEALING MY MENU CODE, EVEN IF YOU COPY AND PASTE IT AND STILL PUT MY LINK IN YOUR CREDITS, ITS STILL CALLED STEALING, IF YOU DO THIS I WILL FIND OUT —>
Apart from the obvious — not wanting to steal code that isn’t working properly because of cascade issues; the code being based on one of my own tutorials anyway — I find it incredibly hypocritical that this person has the nerve to deliver such a strong warning on a website made up of other people’s code and content. Nonetheless, I will heed the warning. Here I am, not stealing her menu code.
I think the HTML Help (“some codes”) tutorial must have been prepared by my niece. There doesn’t seem to be any other logical explanation for the total mess of randomly closed tags and internal styles dressed up as HTML. For example, this is apparently how one creates a Text Html Area:
<div id="scroll3" style="width:269;height:120; background-color:color; border:1 solid color; overflow:auto">
This is where you can put codes, updates etc.
I guess I’d be able to correct the jumbled mess if I knew what a “Text Html Area” was supposed to be.
Of course, as much as it would please me to sit here criticising all 211 tutorials, I’ve got things to do… anything but subjecting myself to the “How To Write Tutorials” tutorial (because why improve your own when you could encourage other people to write shit). So consider this my plea: if you don’t know what you’re doing or if you have to steal to support your content, go find a new hobby. Write a personal blog, make some fanlistings, anything but adding yet more turd to the pile of turdiness that is turdy tutorial sites. Please.