The popular and widely used online resource for all things programming.
This site is pretty amazing in the depth of knowledge one can acquire here. They claim to be the largest web developer site on the ‘net and all of the tutorials and information are free, very nice.
The homepage does a nice job of structuring all of the content. As you can see there is a ton of information, from topics as basic as your first <p> tag in HTML to more complex server scripting tutorials and syntax. Each topic is broken down further into categories and continuing to more advanced subjects. All of these are laid out in succession from beginner to advanced, with each chapter building on the previous.
Great, so you’ve found a site that consolidates all of this information. Can’t you just google search your problem and find it almost as easily? Yes, you can but w3schools offers a great section within their site that allows you to tinker with the code and see what you’re doing to it, much like the way firebug works in our browsers. Example As you can see, putting something into action like this is a very powerful tool to assist in the learning process.
While the ability to manipulate the examples are helpful, I feel like the examples themselves leave a bit to be desired. They are pretty drab and not really inspiring the creative process. The simplicity can become a bit confusing as well. On the homepage they state the following:
“Because time is valuable, we deliver quick and easy learning.”
“Never increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of words required to explain anything”
William of Ockham (1285-1349)
This is all well and good but often you are not going to use the code in the fashion that they use it, it fails on a real world level. It is so boiled down that the structure of code is affected and you are often left wondering about how this is structured within the rest of my content. This is a tricky topic to touch on, understandably, because everyone’s outcomes and needs for the code differ.
Overall I think this site is a great resource. Much like the encyclopedia is, it should be used as a reference material or as a support to a greater understanding of the code. I cannot imagine teaching yourself any of the programming languages solely based on the knowledge of w3schools.
Hope this helps as another tool in the web building arsenal