08 August 2013

Firefox 23 finally kills the blink tag, removes ability to turn off JavaScript, introduces new logo

Some 20 years after it was first implemented in Netscape Navigator, one of the most reviled and widely abhorred pieces of web surfing history has finally been killed. With the release of Firefox 23, the <blink> HTML tag is no longer supported by any major browser. Firefox 23 also introduces a new, simplified logo, and the option to turn JavaScript off has been removed from the Options window.

Blink, of course, will be remembered as the tag that was once the brazen champion of everything that GeoCities stood for, much like the Statue of Liberty and the USA. As the web matured, though, and GeoCities went out of vogue, so did the blink tag (and its similarly distasteful cousin, <marquee>). Unless you intentionally go out and look for it, you probably haven’t seen blinking text in years — and if you have, it was probably provided by an animated GIF, CSS, or JavaScript, rather than the actual HTML tag. Blink has already been removed from WebKit (and thus Chrome and Safari), and it was never supported by Internet Explorer. Ironically enough, Google’s new Blink rendering engine doesn’t support blink, which means that the new version of Opera (which uses Blink instead of Presto) also lacks support. With Firefox 23 retiring support for blink, major browser support is finally at an end, and thus we enter a new epoch.

Rather famously, the blink tag was conceived by some Netscape developers in a bar. Lou Montulli, who is usually credited with the original idea, says “the blink tag [is] the worst thing I’ve ever done for the internet.” The developers were discussing the implementation of some new HTML tags, and how Lynx, by virtue of it being a console-based text-only web browser, wouldn’t be able to render many complex elements or text styles… except for blink. “We had a pretty good laugh at the thought of blinking text, and talked about blinking this and that and how absurd the whole thing would be,” Montulli said, recalling the origins of the blink tag on his blog. The next morning, Montulli came into work, and it turned out that one of the developers from the bar had stayed up all night to implement the blink tag in Netscape.

Much laughter ensued, and the developers decided to keep the tag in Netscape Navigator 1.0 as an Easter egg. The feature was undocumented, but at some point someone discovered the tag — and within a matter of months, most of the known web resembled Las Vegas. “I remember thinking that this would be a pretty harmless Easter egg, that no one would really use it,” Montulli said. Oh how wrong he was. 
In other news, Firefox 23 introduces a new logo — the third time it has changed in the last 10 years. The new logo is very similar to its predecessor, except it has been simplified to improve its rendering on smaller (read: mobile) displays. Basically, many of the highlights and fur details have been removed. You’ll also be glad to hear that the red panda’s arm has finally been fixed; no longer is the poor animal painfully contorting itself to embrace earth. There are also new logos for the Aurora and Nightly (beta and alpha) versions of Firefox.

Finally, Firefox 23 removes the option to disable JavaScript from the Options pane — and if you had JavaScript turned off, it has been turned back on. This contentious change derives from the fact that disabling JavaScript breaks many websites — and some people might turn off JavaScript without actually knowing  what it does, resulting in unpredictable and frustrating behavior that the user might blame on Firefox. JavaScript can still be disabled via about:config or with add-ons (such as NoScript).

Download Firefox 23 for Windows/Mac/Linux


Post a Comment

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.


Copyright © 2018 Tracktec. All rights reserved.

Back to Top