Opera has revealed a big push to update its web standards curriculum (WSC). Along with updates that will bring fully integrated sections on CSS3, HTML5 and current best practice, it’s also changing location. The WSC will now be housed at W3C Wiki.
Open standards evangelist and dev.opera.com editor Chris Mills thinks the move to W3C Wiki will only benefit the WSC: “The original was published in 2008, so it needs a lot of updating, and we want to give it greater visibility. We decided to move it to the W3C Wiki because W3C is making a big push for education, which will increase the WSC’s audience. Also, having it in a Wiki format makes it easier to get contributors on board and make updates. The WSC is large and we have limited time to work on it. Getting the update done with the help of the wider community in this fashion will make it a lot more successful in the long run.”
Start of term
Bolstering the WSC’s support and audience is a smart move, but it’s not been without its successes as part of dev.opera.com. Mills thinks there’s a real skills shortage in the web industry and that companies are “crying out for properly trained newcomers”. However, he thinks many graduates lack real-world skills. “They often teach themselves, and many college and university courses are woefully out of date. There are too many bad resources out there, so I decided to create the Opera web standards curriculum to provide a decent, up to date, modern best-practices web design/development course for students and teachers to use to improve their learning and courses.”
Mills says a number of universities and colleges are now using the WSC to supplement or update their courses; additionally, many self-learners have used it “with great success” and existing web professionals have found value in the WSC, using it to keep their skill-sets current or, says Mills, to “point clients to when they ask too many questions”.
The W3C’s Doug Schepers says the organisation is “thrilled” about the move, adding that everyone’s “very grateful to Opera and the experts who wrote the original articles”. He's certain the move will benefit the wider web community.
“Having a persistent, vendor-neutral repository for information on best practices for web development and design - one which is maintained and peer-reviewed by web professionals - is crucial to a thriving, open community of content creators.” says Schepers. “It simply makes their jobs much easier, and provides a sound foundation and an easy way to learn new technologies.” He adds that W3C benefits when open web technologies are used, and used well, because this “improves the web for all users, and it creates a sophisticated community that can return to comment on the future directions of W3C itself”.
Mills and Schepers both want the WSC to continue evolving. “As part of our new open Community Group process, we are launching a Web Education Community Group, which will take the Opera Web Standards Curriculum as one of the core contributions,” says Schepers. “With this seed, we hope to encourage community participation in providing a living curriculum that meets the needs of average developers, employers, and web development and design educators.”