Why Web Development Articles Should have a Date

There are two main problems with articles about web design and web development: they are too old or they don’t have a date.

Yes, this could have been another “considered harmful” article that was just created to get attention. But, for a good reason, because technology is evolving rapidly, and it is hard to keep track of all the advancements in the area of web design, programming, computer science, and databases in general. Most of the articles become relevant for a while and then we move on to other practices or tools in the field. Articles get popular during the time the new features are introduced and promoted. Those articles, tutorials, and recommendations get more links and rank higher in search engines as they get older. One of the problems is that people looking for those tutorials are going to find outdated information.

You blink and there is a new API added over night while another one is removed. I remember for example when Object.observe() would change the way to keep track of changes of an object. This suddenly became obsolete, even before it got out of the gate; its use is not recommended anymore.

I notice that the programming language that suffers the most is JavaScript, because it depends a lot on HTML5 APIs that change so quickly. We went from the app cache to service workers before most people started using the former. Nevertheless, there are still a lots of articles out there that have examples on the topic without telling the readers that they should not do this anymore.

Best practices changes too fast, and it is not the writer’s fault. This is a good thing for the reason that we are finding new and efficient ways to solve problems. Writers cannot keep up with everything that happens on these fields anymore. They will need to hire a staff just go through old articles frequently, test code and make the changes in the articles. The easiest solution is to keep the date in the article so people may understand that if the post is 5 years old, it may contain outdated information.

In reality, programmers and designers write articles in the web in order to contribute to the community when they have some free time. They have real jobs and they write only when it is allowed by their schedule. Thus, if an article is old, we should take its content with a grain of salt and keep researching for newer sources.

There are two main problems with articles about web design and web development: they are too old or they don’t have a date. Not having a date is worst, because the reader won’t know if the technique that they are learning is relevant or recommended nowadays. I would like to recommend bloggers and magazines to keep the dates of the posts available, so we at least can know by the date that we need to keep researching if the article is too old.

Have your say