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HTML Shop of Horrors: Blink Tag

Today's bad tag is the blink tag. Designed to gain attention, it only gained the annoyance of visitors.

It's time to once again peers into the horrors of HTML past and see what we endured. Today's artefact is the blink tag. Designed to gain attention, it only gained the annoyance of visitors.

For those fortunate enough to be reading this article in Firefox, below is the full glory of the blink tag.

The code:

<blink>The Blink Tag</blink>

The example:
The Blink Tag

What else can we do with it?

Sadly making text blink is the limit of blink. If we try to make an image blink, it will fail.

<blink><img src="http://www.builderau.com.au/i/x/logo.gif"/></blink>

However, we can take advantage of quirks mode and use some intentionally bad HTML to easily make an entire page of text blink. If you are using the blink tag then you are clearly not concerned with HTML standards, so if we are going to make dirty code, let's get real dirty and not just dip our toe into the filth bucket.

Take the follow HTML code:

<h1>The heading</h1>

<p>First paragraph</p>

<p>Second paragraph</p>

If we wish to make it all blink, all we need to do is drop a stray blink tag into the top element and we will have achieved a very annoying result.

The code:

<h1><blink>The heading</h1>

<p>First paragraph</p>

<p>Second paragraph</p>

The example:

The heading

First paragraph

Second paragraph

I care about Web standards, not design guidelines

If you positively absolutely must have something blinking on your Web page there are a number of options available.

The first one is to do it with a two frame animated gif. This has the added benefit of working on images too!

In theory this means you could blink an entire page if it were an image -- thankfully this practice is long retired although it did happen.

If you would like to get into the Web 2.0 world and need to take your blinking text with you, then relief is at hand thanks to this site.

What makes this solution better than your standard "change of an element's visibility to achieve blinking" hack is that not only does it blink, but it also results in more HTTP requests than necessary. Thereby annoying the user's eyes and wasting their bandwidth.

I'm glad it's dead

If only the blink tag had been the last of Netscape's gifts to HTML -- unfortunately it was barely the start and the others shall be covered in later visits to the Shop of Horrors. It's a shame that the entire Web could not be infected with the blink tag simultaneously, the lack of blinking on Internet Explorer meant that Netscape people would be left in dismay for years while IE people wondered what all the fuss was about.

At least the marquee tag was there to cause its share of pain for everyone.

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Some would say that it is a long way from software engineering to journalism, others would correctly argue that it is a mere 10 metres according to the floor plan.During his first five years with CBS Interactive, Chris started his journalistic advent...

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