I was out today doing a little bit of Christmas shopping and decided to pickup the latest copy of the ‘net’ magazine. I like to see if they have anything good to say, usually I’ll find at least one pretty decent article which might offer up something innovative and interesting. This copy however was quite a disappointment… Have a look:

Net mag picture

You might be thinking, "Wow, I ought to pick up a copy too!" – Well, don’t; there’s nothing interesting in there at all! In fact, just by the cover, this magazine could quite easily have been a copy from 12 months ago (apart from the ‘2009’ bit) and nothing inside the magazine is particularly thought provoking or innovative either. Just for this post’s sake we’re doing to ignore the ‘iPhone’ nonsense on the front-cover because I don’t see platform specific development as of a prime importance.

I’m not normally one for making a big deal out of nothing (okay… that’s a lie) but this magazine and in fact, many recent publications (web and paper) scream 2007 at me.

I don’t know how popular these ‘web design’ magazines are but I’m guessing they’re quite successful considering that most WH smith stores seem to stock them. ‘Web Designer‘ is another top magazine in the industry, but I have to say it’s even more disappointing than ‘net’; not just this month but generally, the ‘Web Designer’ seems to be nothing more than a beginners resource, at best, it may offer the average amateur something inspiring to read but nothing past that!

You’ll have noticed the somewhat negative title of this post; pessimistic as it may seem, this is how I feel. I am proud to say that my skills have advanced leaps and bounds in the last year and I’m sure many people have had a similar experience but the collective web designer/developer consciousness seems to have stayed pretty still. Note that I’m not talking about the advance of any particular technology but rather the advance of our aggregate knowledge as web designers/developers.

In the most recent ‘net’ issue there was one article which caught my eye, for the wrong reasons though. The article was titled ‘Unobtrusive JavaScript’ – my heart sank as I read through the dreary common-sense drivel. I thought this was a magazine for web professionals, people who ventured at the very forefront of web technology. Why on earth should anyone who buys this magazine not already know the ins and outs of unobtrusive JavaScript? I certainly do and it is my opinion that anyone working in this industry should have a thorough knowledge of such a thing. This very same topic was being discussed a whole year ago; has nothing progressed? It seems like history repeating itself…

In many ways this industry is one of the most fast-moving of them all but in other ways watching this industry progress is like watching paint dry!

I’m not trying to damage the impeccable reputation of the ‘net’ magazine but I feel that this month’s issue serves as a clear and obvious reminder of the sometimes stagnant state of certain portions of the web design industry.

It’s not just that JavaScript article which got my heart sinking; the ‘Advanced SEO secrets revealed’ might’ve been a justifiable headline eight or nine months ago but not anymore, now it just seems tacky and childish to even utter such a phrase! There are NO secrets to SEO, it’s not that type of process, people have to stop treating it like some sort of mysterious art form!

Fortunately the one thing that made me buy this issue did make for quite an interesting read (the ‘2009 awards’). Although I don’t agree with their decision on a few of the nominees I still feel that they got it mostly right.

I am glad the BBC won the ‘Best redesign’ award – they definitely deserved it! One quirky award named the ‘Standards Champion’ went to the notorious Jeffrey Zeldman, who, to me, comes across as the beaten horse of web standards. All I ever see of him are those sinister-looking profile shots and the odd controversial blog post. A-List-Apart, one of his publications, does make for good reading sometimes but normally the articles seem a tad boring – probably because I’m only 18 and can’t be arsed! Not to mention the publication’s headlines seem totally incomprehensible when listed in my RSS reader!

So, obviously, I am a little bothered by what I see as a lack of progression. I think something needs to change, and soon, otherwise next December we won’t have progressed anymore!

One last thing, who the hell sends ‘reader questions’ into the mentioned magazines, don’t these idiots know how to use Google, IRC or an online forum!? One question was asking how to achieve transparency in IE; something which apparently is not well known to ‘web professionals’, seriously, what is happening!?

Thanks for reading! Please share your thoughts with me on Twitter. Have a great day!