Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad HTML

At the CNA-Q Library we’re working very hard at creating a consistent theme for our new virtual library. One of the aspects of that theme is a header that will be consistent across all aspects of the library’s online presence. Last week, I wrote two headers for the library. One is good, it validates as XHTML 1.0 strict, it has nice div’s, uses CSS properly and is well-organized.

The second is terrible, horrible, no good, very bad html. This one has embedded styles.

I really hate embedded styles. It makes the html unreadable, it takes forever to update and it multiplies by 1000 the number of fiddly bits that can totally bork your html.

Why did I have to write two headers? And why did one have to be terrible, horrible, no good, very bad html?

Because library vendors, in their infinite wisdom, severely limit how much I can change in their services. Because I’m forced a heavily AJAXified back-end, our federated search and openURL resolver are a nightmare to update. The only way I can assure that the updates I am making will actually show up properly is to embed every style in every div, img, table, tr and td.

Library vendors!

Is it really that difficult to give an advanced option for those of us unafraid to use CSS and HTML?

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