Do not underestimate W3C specs

By Confusion on Saturday 20 September 2008 10:56 - Comments (4)
Categories: Software engineering, XML, Views: 3.314

At many forums, I see people posting questions that they could easily answer themselves, if they would only read the specification for the relevant technology. Now of course, specifications are generally known to be voluminous and dense and consequently hard to read and sparse on relevant information. You are better of finding a tutorial, reference guide or simply using Google.

However, not so with the w3c specs. If you have a problem in html, xml, xslt, xpath, etc., the relevant w3c spec is really the first place you should look. They are very readable, littered with examples and have two other major advantages above, for instance, w3schools.com:
  • They are always complete
  • They are always correct
Especially the last one is not to be underestimated, lest you spend a day on a problem that turns out to be an error in a w3schools tutorial.
* Confusion pleads guilty of the last

Volgende: Keeping a blog in a foreign language 09-'08 Keeping a blog in a foreign language
Volgende: The disadvantages of the Google Web Toolkit 09-'08 The disadvantages of the Google Web Toolkit

Comments


By Tweakers user Sebazzz, Saturday 20 September 2008 11:00

And it's always up to date. W3schools is a little bit outdated, but then, w3schools is easier to read and understand for the noobs.

By Tweakers user bulle bas, Saturday 20 September 2008 12:14

Bij een simpel probleem ben je bij w3schools.com eerder bij een antwoord.
Maar je hebt zeker gelijk, de spec is zeer leesbaar.

By Tweakers user Dima_2005, Saturday 20 September 2008 18:46

Waarom in het engels?
Dat snap ik toch maar even niet, of wil je zo'n groot mogelijk publiek?

By Tweakers user crisp, Sunday 21 September 2008 00:43

I disagree with both statements you make:
• They are always complete
• They are always correct
Specifications are always contemporary, not things set in stone for now and ever. They are often incomplete or at least non-exhaustive, do contain errors or don't match the current state of implementations and sometimes even conflict with each other.

Specifications are living and breathing things that always are in need of updating or overhaul.

Prime example is the HTML4.01 specification that is actually enormously outdated; it still mentions HTML as being an SGML implementation wereas there is no consumer-browser that has ever implemented it that way.

However I do agree that the W3 specifications for the technologies you mention are the best references available as other references often don't get it 100% right.

Comments are closed