back to article Mozilla devs plotting to put a stake in <blink> tag – at last

Mozilla developers are considering dropping support for the <blink> tag from future versions of the Firefox browser, in a move that would see the web rid of the scourge of blinking text once and for all. Firefox's Gecko HTML rendering engine is currently the only one to support the blinking effect, which usability expert Jakob …

COMMENTS

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  1. Miguel Farah
    Trollface

    Goodbye, <blink>! Hello {blink: on;}!

    I'll bet money someone implements blinking in CSS3. And it will be back! Forever with us! I can already see the options the blink CSS will have:

    blink-type: normal - fast - faster - slow - slower - erratic

    blink-color: default - goodOldBlack - [color 1, color 2] - rainbow - neon - antiBackground

    blink-stoppable: yes - no

    1. beep54
      Devil

      Re: Goodbye, <blink>! Hello {blink: on;}!

      Dear God! That really IS fucking annoying. Stop it! <blink>Now!!</blink>

    2. VaalDonkie
      Trollface

      Re: Goodbye, <blink>! Hello {blink: on;}!

      JQuery and HTML5 will fill the void, don't you worry.

  2. Notas Badoff
    Joke

    Give it a beat!

    The mistake was having it merely monotonic... so boring. Change it to be specified like SVG's dasharray: on for 2, off for 3, on for 1, off for 1, on for 4, etc. Add in a time signature and "audible: yes", and we making music! Now that they support canvas and SVG, I can see MS doing a rotating mirror ball and inviting Chairman Bill to the party!

    BTW: Was it intentional not to scrub the <blink> tag </blink> from the repeated article text at top of comments area? No... Yes... No... Yes...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Trollface

      Re: Give it a beat!

      @Notas Badoff: You have a point, even if a small one.

      No, I'm not a fan of blink, but it has its purpose (just don't ask me to cite a valid one).

      Of course my pessimist side leads me to believe that now it is gone, it will just be replaced by a heavily bloated SVG/JS script, which will make the browser lock up or something to that effect. With its omission, it will prove to me at least one time that its omission will have gone from a blessing...to a curse.

      P.S. How come we can't use <blink> ;</blink>-) Booooooooooo!! :-),

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Give it a beat!

      <span style="text-decoration: blink">wank</span> ?

  3. GBL Initialiser

    The early browser war, marquee vs. blink (vs. good taste)

    1. VaalDonkie

      The <marquee> tag is actually quite useful. the most popular use for it would be a stock ticker element.

      1. GBL Initialiser

        It would have been if it worked in all browsers. Those needing multiple browser support usually went for JavaScript.

  4. Jamie Jones Silver badge
    FAIL

    Ooopsie! Someones site has forgotten special entities in the "abstract"

    From the source code;

    <p class=abstract>Mozilla developers are considering dropping support for the <blink> tag from future versions of the Firefox browser, in a move that would see the web rid of the scourge of blinking text once and for all.

    Firefox's Gecko HTML rendering engine is currently the only one to support the blinking effect, which usability expert Jakob …</p>

    *cough* htmlspecialchars *cough*

  5. John Tserkezis

    It doesn't go far enough.

    "Additionally, in these days, blink is not major feature due to its [accessibility] issue," he wrote, referring to the problems that blinking text can cause for people with epilepsy and certain cognitive disabilities. "Finally, our implementation is not beautiful."

    What about rotating gifs, still images rotated by java, or that #ucking scourge of the internet, flash?

    Thankfully, for the time being, all of those can be obliterated by a combination of configuration changes and addons. I wonder if I can disable HTML5 video when it gets more popular?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      Re: It doesn't go far enough.

      Probably by using #ifdev

      I'll get my coat.

  6. Simon Harris Silver badge

    Google's new Blink engine ... doesn't support <blink>

    Is that like Frank Beard being the only member of ZZ Top not to support a beard?

  7. Lyle Dietz
    Coat

    But I want it!

    Schrodinger's cat is <blink>not</blink> dead.

    Okay, okay, I'm going, I'm going.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Headmaster

      Re: But I want it!

      Errm, that's Schrödinger's cat to you. And besides, the "not" didn't disappear from the text because the word "dead" didn't move left to cover up the space -- it was merely blanked out, so technically still there. ;-)

  8. Fihart

    just as annoying.

    Don't suppose this is the end of those stupid ads with an image that shakes.

    Sure, you notice the ad -- despise whoever perpetrated it and instantly forget the message.

  9. stanimir

    Now if you take javascript along...

    b/c achieving *blink* w/ javascript (erm the assembly language of the web) and style change is just as trivial.

    If blink is bad for accessibility popping out ladies, walking half way and offering support in the middle of screen is a truly magnificent idea.

  10. Turtle

    Banality...

    "the <blink> tag was conceived as a gag, and its original implementation was whipped together by a Netscape engineer overnight after a night of drinking at a local Mountain View, California, watering hole."

    Well if that isn't an illustration of "the banality of evil" then I don't know what is.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Banality...

      Seem to remember that someone from netscape used to have a personal webpage which, among other things, said "I invented the <blink> tag ... sorry!"

  11. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    FAIL

    About blinking time.

    That's all.

  12. mIRCat
    Coat

    Don't blink.

    Don't even blink. Blink and you're dead. They are fast, faster than you could believe, don't turn your back, don't look away, and don't blink.

    Mine's the one that's hiding the forth coming <quantum> tag.

    1. John Angelico

      Re: Don't blink.

      Doctor.... RUN!

  13. Don Jefe

    Fade

    I believe they should replace the blink tag with a fade tag.

  14. Ralph B

    To be fair ...

    ... it never printed well.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge
      Coat

      Re: To be fair ...

      O ye t id !

  15. jjk
    Devil

    Haters gonna hate

    10 PRINT INK 2; PAPER 4; FLASH 1; "... FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS"

    1. b166er

      Re: Haters gonna hate

      20 POKE 23692,255

      30 GOTO 10

      1. tabman

        Re: Haters gonna hate

        POKE 23693 surely?

        1. David Harper 1
          Happy

          Re: Haters gonna hate

          Yes. And don't call me Shirley.

        2. b166er

          Re: Haters gonna hate

          That would do some flashing, brightening and colouring, yes, but I was going for no scroll prompt :)

    2. tabman
      Thumb Up

      Re: Haters gonna hate

      Makes me nostalgic for my Speccy.

  16. aidanstevens
    Meh

    Choice

    I would prefer to have the choice, like an option in about:config, rather than Mozilla devs deciding what I do and do not want to see.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Choice

      Then fork'an do it yourself.

      1. Michael Strorm

        Re: Choice

        "Then fork'an do it yourself."

        While the ability to fork *is* a major advantage, that doesn't automatically make "Don't like it, then fork it yourself" (or some variant) a reasonable response to any criticism of an open source project, and (IMHO) certainly to this one. Else you could use that as a comeback to *anything*(!)

        I mean, aside from the fact he might not have the skill to do this, are you seriously suggesting that he should fork it just to have his <blink>? Of course not! :-)

        Just because something's open and/or free-as-in-beer doesn't negate people's right to criticise minor aspects of it. Obviously, if they start getting overly entitled (particularly if the complaining "user" is a large company), then, yeah... you can tell them to go fork themselves.

        He made a reasonable point; one which (as a generally happy user actually typing this on Firefox) happen to agree with (though IMHO the default option for blink *should* be "disabled"!!)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Choice

          The current about:config has a browser.blink_allowed configuration option whose default value is set to true.

          They are getting rid of the blink attribute in its entirety because it isn't part of the standard and because getting rid of it means they do not need to support, maintain or test any of the associated code.

  17. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
    Happy

    It's a compatibility nightmare! How are we going to be able to view old Geocities pages properly now? We need to respect the careful and painstaking creativity that went into designing those pages, and so we need the blink tag in order to appreciate the artistic whole.

    Anyway, it was nice to see it again. Can't El Reg let us have it in the comments for the last few days before it's quietly taken out and shot?

  18. The Serpent

    I like blink

    It reminds me of teletext. Now press reveal.

  19. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

    Blinking still works in the current release of Opera

    Fuck.

  20. LinkOfHyrule
    Paris Hilton

    It reminds me of good old Teletext - that had a blink function too!

    Someone should invent some HTML or CSS to reveal hidden text in quiz games and to make the screen double in size. Sod it just give all pages on the internet page numbers and then invent a <HOLD> tag - I miss the days when looking up Easter holiday railway engineering works involved taking half an hour out of your day and anxiously waiting for the right moment to press the hold button and having failed to do so, meant another half an hour of waiting for the page to come back round again!

    1. tabman

      Teletext & Ceefax @LinkOfHyrule

      It worked so well at the time too. I remember my first teletext capable TV and being amazed by all the information available. The thing was that you didn't mind waiting for the pages to come round again.

      1. LinkOfHyrule
        Happy

        Re: Teletext & Ceefax @LinkOfHyrule

        hehe I was just thinking to myself, if I had the coding skill, I'd knock up an app or a website called "El Text" the teletext version of the Register. The average Andrew Orlowski article would probably run to 70 sub pages though and I'm not sure how flattering the forum icon for Paris would be having to be made from blocky magenta pixels either!

        Someone please make this, it would be cool!

  21. Michael Strorm

    Real reason for its removal was a security issue...

    Mozilla's support of <blink> made it vulnerable to attacks from Weeping Angels.

    1. Michael Strorm
      FAIL

      Re: Real reason for its removal was a security issue...

      *reads thread through properly*

      *realises his quick text search (to double-check that no-one had already made this reference) had missed mIRCat's comment *

      *shakes fist*

      "Damn you! Damn you to hell!"

  22. FrankAlphaXII
    WTF?

    Your article summary for this thread is blinking. On Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; rv:21.0) Gecko/20130401192816 Firefox/21.0 at least. But its my day off, I just got home from work, and I don't have the inclination to check the code, or fire up Aurora or a mainline release to check it with them, but I figured you may want to know. Its appropriate at least even if its a mistake.

    I dunno if this falls into the "corrections" camp or the "its not a bug, its a feature!" side of things but it seems sort of unintentional.

    1. Greg J Preece

      .........................................You're not serious, are you?

  23. Luke McCarthy
    Joke

    Should have been extended instead

    <blink delay="0.5s" period="0.1s" style="color: black" blinkstyle="color: red; font-weight: bold">Blink On!</blink>

  24. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Joke

    DARN!!

    And I had almost got my special toner to get laser printed web-pages to blink where required perfected!

  25. Paul 135

    I don't see the point in removing it

    Just leave it alone

    1. silent_count

      Re: I don't see the point in removing it

      I'm with Paul135. If we're going to vote HTML tags off the island, BLINK doesn't even make my top three. I'd like to nominate: SCRIPT (the source of most evil on the interwebs), IFRAME (same reason) and STRONG (just use B[old] because it's less typing).

  26. Greg J Preece

    which usability expert Jakob Nielsen once described as "simply evil."

    How odd! I think I've used that exact phrase to describe Jakob Nielsen before.

    Though I will admit, blinking text is pointless unless you're doing some kind of in-browser animation/game/something like that.

  27. Old Handle
    Stop

    Save Blink!

    Personally I think it should be preserved as a historical artifact. And perhaps a warning to future generations. Surely it doesn't require more than a few lines of code, and it's not like it hurts anything to have it in there since nobody ever uses it, except as a demonstration of how horrible it is.

  28. JB
    Unhappy

    <blink>CALL NOW!</blink> - what will ambulancechasersdirect do now?

  29. IGnatius T Foobar

    Workaround

    I would imagine that anyone who really wants blinking text isn't using the <blink> tag anyway, since it doesn't work across all browsers. It only takes a couple of lines of JavaScript to make text blink anyway.

    This isn't about eliminating annoying web pages from the Internet. At this point, that cannot be done. It's about removing a superfluous tag from the vernacular.

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