Feeds

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

Firefox last browser to support offending text style

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Sway: Microsoft's new Office app doesn't have an Undo function
Content aggregation, meet the workplace ... oh
Sign off my IT project or I’ll PHONE your MUM
Honestly, it’s a piece of piss
Return of the Jedi – Apache reclaims web server crown
.london, .hamburg and .公司 - that's .com in Chinese - storm the web server charts
NetWare sales revive in China thanks to that man Snowden
If it ain't Microsoft, it's in fashion behind the Great Firewall
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.