Use HTML in record contents
CIOC allows HTML to be used in the contents of various fields, most notably the description and comments fields. Although this feature can be very useful for adding special formatting to records, it must be used with caution and only when required. The HTML you use to format your records for normal record display will also be used when formatting the record contents in search results, print reports, and anywhere else the content is displayed throughout the software.
Data entered in a CIOC field that "allows" HTML is either fully auto-formatted or partially-auto-formatted or fully HTML-formatted.
A fully auto-formatted field means that the software will automatically preserve the line breaks that you put in when you did the data entry. Any HTML tags and entities that exist in the field will be escaped and will display as text when the content of the field is displayed. This is the default formatting.
An auto-formatted field becomes a partially-auto-formatted field when you use one of the following tags (exactly as shown):
A partially-auto-formatted field will not escape any HTML tags or entities that exist in the field, but will automatically preserve the line breaks that you put in when you did the data entry.
An auto-formatted field becomes a fully HTML-formatted field when you use the <p> or <br> tag to manage your own line breaks. The software will not escape or otherwise alter the content of your text, so please be careful to use valid and complete HTML.
Why should you avoid using HTML?
- HTML in records shows up in "Suggest an Update" forms, where users not familiar with HTML may be confused.
- Extra formatting makes the record harder to maintain
- 3rd parties who lease your data may not be able to work with HTML-formatted information
- Over-zealous use of HTML formatting can depart from recognized data standards and may look inconsistent or unprofessional
- There can be security and formatting/display problems associated with the use of HTML
- Future major developments in CIOC will no longer allow free use of HTML. The existing HTML system will be replaced with a friendly user interface for formatting record contents using a limited set of formatting elements (which may or may not be stored as HTML in the software) that minimize some of the negative aspects of HTML discussed above.
Most browsers have built-in features or add-ins that you can use to verify the validity of the HTML on the current page:
- Firefox: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/firefox/addon/html-validator/ or http://getfirebug.com/
- Internet Explorer: Developer Tools accessed via F12
- Chrome: Developer Tools accessed via CTRL-SHIFT-I
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