Feeds

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

Firefox last browser to support offending text style

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

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 Nielsen once described as "simply evil."

Internet Explorer has never supported it, and while Opera once did, it lost support when it switched its rendering engine to WebKit in February. (Opera has since switched again to Google's new Blink engine – which, ironically perhaps, doesn't support <blink> either.)

The proposal to drop blink support from Gecko was first raised by Mozilla developer Masayuki Nakano in a post to the project's Bugzilla bug database last week. Since no other browsers support the dubious feature, Masayuki wrote, there is no reason to keep supporting it in Gecko.

"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."

The latter is not much surprise. According to early Netscape developer Lou Montulli, 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.

Despite its ethanol-fueled origins – and despite never having been part of the formal HTML spec – support for the tag somehow made it into Netscape 1.0 and has persisted in browsers of that lineage to this day, including the current version of Firefox.

Masayuki's proposal to give the tag the boot from future versions didn't meet with much resistance from the other developers on the Gecko bug base. About the only issue raised was whether to also drop support for text-decoration: blink,which is technically still part of the CSS 2.1 specification.

As Masayuki points out, however, the CSS 2.1 spec does allow browsers to simply ignore text-decoration: blink and not blink the text in order to comply with accessibility guidelines. This looks to be the direction the Gecko group is now leaning towards.

If the group can agree on a definite plan of action, support for blinking text will likely be removed starting with Firefox 23, which is due to ship in early August. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Uber, Lyft and cutting corners: The true face of the Sharing Economy
Casual labour and tired ideas = not really web-tastic
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.