"Behind the Scenes"
|March 2014||The monthly newsletter by Felgall Pty Ltd|
One of the subjects in a course that my son is taking teaches HTML. Now this subject is a part of a nationally recognised course being taught by one of the Government associated colleges so you'd expect that what they teach would comply closely with the requirements of the course. What I was surprised to find out was that he was taught to add a name attribute on an <a> tag when an anchor point was needed in the page to be able to create links within the page. I was surprised because that particular approach was made obsolete when HTML 4 was introduced in 1997 and was only ever required for the Netscape browsers (the use of which died out about ten years ago). As nationally recognised courses in Australia are regularly updated there have been at least four or five opportunities for that particular part of the course to have been updated to get rid of such nonsense. So either those responsible for the course curriculum have not kept up to date with HTML or the course curriculum doesn't go into enough detail and the those teaching the course are failing to keep up to date. They are teaching history with the mistaken idea that it is still relevant. Students in such classes will need to forget these parts of what they learnt in their course and learn the correct modern way (in this case adding an id to any tag in the body of the page) in order to properly create web pages if they use it in their work. When it was pointed out after the class that this code was obsolete the teacher then claimed to be letting the students know how it used to be done.
For those who go to work for any company where there are a significant number of other people who have that particular knowledge it will be a relatively quick process for the others to tell them what really antiquated code they are using and how to do it properly. Unfortunately in many cases there will only be one or two others (or even none) already working at the company who may themselves have been taught the historical approach rather than how it should be done now - leading to the company continuing to use really antiquated but freshly written code on their site.
A large number of amateurs also create web pages and many of these do not undertake courses but instead learn by copying what they see on other sites. The large number of web pages that were either created many years ago, created by those who were taught history and have never found out that it is history, or who have created pages by copying what has been used on other pages means that a high percentage of web pages are still written as if Netscape were the target browser.
Those developing HTML 5 have recognised that most web pages are still being developed using HTML 2 or HTML 3.2 and as well as the new tags and attributes it has introduced, it has also lowered the status of all the tags and attributes deprecated in HTML 4 back to calling them obsolete (rather than removing them completely as their being deprecated in HTML 4 implied would happen). HTML 5 has also adopted a doctype that is equally valid for HTML 2 to ensure that browsers will continue to support the tags and attributes that a properly written web page would never need.
Have you ever taken such a course that turned out to be a history class?
The following links will take you to all of the various pages that have been added to the site or undergone major changes in the last month.