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Firefox 23 finally kills "blink" tag

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By Nicole Kobie

Posted on 7 Aug 2013 at 09:55

The "blink" tag in HTML has at last been laid to rest, with Mozilla removing support for the much-maligned text style in the latest version of the Firefox browser.

The blink tag was never officially supported in Internet Explorer or Chrome, but Firefox inherited it from Netscape Navigator.

Opera previously supported it as well, though that ended when the Norwegian browser firm flipped from its own Presto engine to, ironically, Chrome's Blink engine. Google has admitted that the Blink engine was named partially after the flashy element, but has promised that its own browser "will never support the blink tag".

While this may be the end of an era - a messy, irritating era - in web design, Mozilla developers aren't sad to see the back of blinking text. Mozilla CTO Brendan Eich told the New Yorker earlier this year: "It serves as a literal ‘attractive nuisance’ and a cautionary tale from an era when browser market share was unbalanced, and unwise innovations could become de-facto requirements without a standard process."

Other changes

Firefox 23 incorporates more changes than the death of the blink tag, of course. The updated browser introduces a new social sharing sidebar, allows users to switch to a new search provider across the entire browser, and bears a subtly refreshed logo.

Aside from a few security fixes - four of which were critical vulnerabilities - Mozilla's latest browser also features a system that prevents man-in-the-middle attacks and prevents eavesdropping on HTTPS pages.

A host of further additions will benefit developers, including a network monitor tool and accessibility support for touch interfaces.

The full list of changes in Firefox 23 is available here.

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User comments

Did you notice ...

... that they wrapped the blink tag removal entry on the "changes" list with the blink tag? If you visit it before updating the entry blinks annoyingly; update and visit again and the blinking blinking has gone .. nice!

By JohnAHind on 7 Aug 2013

Blinkin' Hell

Don't forget, that when the Internet came along, a lot of people were still using text only terminals or PCs without graphic cards.

That meant that the text styles available were very limited - you could have normal, condensed, underline (not universally supported), inverse or blink. That was it.

Blink and inverse were age old stop-gaps to gain the users attention on the screen, if there was a problem (often inverse + blink if it was critical!).

Different colours, different backgrounds, different font sizes etc. would all be ignored, because an 80x25 monochrome display can't display anything else.

As the world move away from monochrome text-only displays to graphical displays, the use of inverse video and blinking text became less and less relevant as better, less annoying ways of gaining the users attention were possible - although we seem to have gone the other way now.

The blink tag seems to have been replaced by Flash adverts that take over the complete page!

By big_D on 7 Aug 2013

Blink, gone in a Flash.

I'm with you big_D - I'll take blinking text over ads which hijack the entire screen (I'm looking at you, PCPro, with your subscription ad!)

By martindaler on 7 Aug 2013

@martindaler

PCPro has ads?

You may want to install a good adblocker!

Currently using Adblocker Plus 2.3.2.

By scooter91170 on 8 Aug 2013

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