Changing the Task description into an HTML field

I’m surprised ServiceNow still allows you to change the type for fields as the Task Description.

They have limited a lot of cool stuff over the years, but they still allow this.

Our users need to add some format and images to the description

The requirements are always the same: People want/need to add some formatted lists and post inline images in the incident description.

A reasonable requirement.

A simple and easy update.

Years of pain.

Been there. Done that.

This is the kind of customization whose ripple effects you don’t experience immediately.

It will look good in the form. You will add your changes to the next release, go home and enjoy a deep slumber.

A couple of days after the release is in production, you start getting some incidents.

It might not look good in some notifications or the Service portal… But you are a search guru, you know how to google it and find a fix for that!

A week later, someone needs the description field to be displayed somewhere else without those awful HTML tags popping up.

Nothing to worry about, you know the perfect regular expression to do that (ok, you don’t, but you know how to find it in Stack Overflow. You are a search ninja after all!).

A month later, somebody notices some weird characters in a Visual Task Board card (Does anybody use the VTB? Really? Are they crazy?). You can fix that too… searching… searching… Maybe with a mix of Business rules and global UI Scripts you can do something…

One year goes by and it’s time to roll out the Mobile app! Search tip: cabin in the woods without internet access

Is that all?

I’m sorry, that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

Upgrades will become a nightmare.

ServiceNow will release some nice new features that will not work and you won’t be allowed to fix them yourself (the new app is a black box and you don’t have access to the code).

Some other topics to consider:

I invite you to check the ServiceNow Community. You will find a near-infinite list of questions about this topic and some crazy workarounds.

You can also perform the following search on Google as well:

html description servicenow site:support.servicenow.com
Code language: plaintext (plaintext)

I want to go back to plain text!

Are you scared yet?

Are you convinced that it is a bad idea but the damage is already done?

Do you want to revert the Task description field to plain text?

Not so easy! Reverting to out of the box brings its own pain.

You won’t only need to revert all of your workarounds, now you have data to consider.

What’s the best alternative?

You don’t do it. You don’t look for a workaround.

Assume that ServiceNow has some limitations and enjoy a happy life.

Sometimes the best decision is not to make any decision and that is also a decision.

Mariano Rajoy. Prime Minister of Spain from 2011 to 2018

1 thought on “Changing the Task description into an HTML field”

  1. Pingback: Creating a custom HTML Task Description field » Ruben Ferrero

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