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Many hands make... bad work?

Sometimes a quickie is just what's needed. No talk, just something quick-and-dirty. It was thus, like some street hooker getting into a kerb-crawler's car, that a job came in to do some amends to a very small property site, and I said "yes."

The working files were duly sent over, along with a short list of amends to do. "Easy enough," I thought. Nothing, however, prepared me for the horror of opening up the html files and finding what looked like the untidy mess of innumerable freelancers that had been there before me.

The site was misconceived from the start, encasing the whole site in flash, and using pop-up html windows to show the "zoomed" state of photos. Oh, and there were also a couple more pop-ups for good measure with actual content within, laid out using tables, of course. It was these pop-ups that I had to amend. They had used a mish-mash of inline attributes (bgcolor), a linked stylesheet that was not there any more, another linked stylesheet, and styles contained within <style> tags (two sets of.)

That wasn't even the worst of it. some table cells had background colours applied to them, which I had to change. Now, when I went to do that, i found the following unbelievable combination: each <td> tag had bgcolor. Then, when I'd deleted that, there was another colour coming from somehwere. It was bgcolor within the <tr> tag. Then, there was style coming from a styled <td> who's style was declared in one of the <style> sections in the head of the document. Lastly (are we there already?) there was style applied from a linked stylesheet to a td belonging to a table with a class of "indtable". Wow. Stunning job there, from all the freelancers that had been there before me. So, with all that junk cleared out, I applied the new colours through the linked stylesheet.

I don't really know what the moral of the story is. I suppose, the freelancers who had been there before me should have known better. The client actually has web developers in house, so they are not blameless here, either. I'm going to tell the client what I found, but I'm afraid it will fall on deaf ears: my contact is non-technical, and I'm sure that means the message won't be passed on effectively, if at all. The web development community as a whole must do more to educate our clients, or horrible stuff like this will just go on and on.


Jason posted this on Friday, June 22, 2007 at 4:25 pm. Leave comment.

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