Documentation Clutter

By Deane Barker on June 12, 2005

Why do so many sites insist on re-printing official documentation? In particular, why is the PHP and PEAR documentation available on hundreds of sites across the Net?

I was looking for some information on PEAR’s DB_DataObject abstraction layer. Searching Google for “DB_DataObject” gives you the PEAR documentation first, of course, and then lists reprints of that same documentation over and over again. I paged through dozens of Google results, and at least 50% of the hits were for that same documentation.

The same is true for about any PHP function. Eight of the first ten results for “parse_ini_file” are for the PHP documentation, duplicated in eight different places on the Web.

I don’t get this. If you’re reprinting the official documentation, all you’re ensuring is that you’re going to be out of date at some point. Are people doing this to take load off the official PHP site? Someone please enlighten me.