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Loose lips blink bits
April 20, 2012 12:42 PM   Subscribe

I am widely credited as the inventor of the <blink> tag. ... I won't deny the invention, but there is a bit more to the story than is widely known. Previously.
posted by shothotbot (51 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
In before everyone comments using the blink tag.
posted by charred husk at 12:45 PM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


and the blink tag will probably be remembered as the most hated of all HTML tags
Surely this honor is reserved for Marquee.
posted by muddgirl at 12:47 PM on April 20, 2012 [14 favorites]


I've said it before at my job as a project manager at a web services company: On the day I leave, every site gets a blink tag and an animated stick figure digging, with an "Under Construction" sign present.
posted by fijiwriter at 12:49 PM on April 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


What's that one that plays shitty midi files? I think that's the most hated one. Unless it's embed, and allows for youtube embedding then I'll let it pass...
posted by symbioid at 12:54 PM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm kind of surprised no-one's made a post saying "Well of course it's a bad idea. That kind of thing belongs in a style sheet.", and presenting a fully working CSS implementation. And now I'm curious to know if CSS supports blinking text.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:55 PM on April 20, 2012


Surely this honor is reserved for Marquee.

EW YOU                                                                                                             SCR
posted by griphus at 12:55 PM on April 20, 2012 [32 favorites]


GET HIM
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:56 PM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Let's reflect on how far we've come, given there's <blink> in the actual url.
posted by yerfatma at 12:56 PM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Don't forget blood-dripping page horizontal divider and starry background. And a counter. And all text everything must be center-aligned.
posted by kmz at 12:56 PM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anyone who still hates <marquee> never followed nobody.
posted by carsonb at 12:56 PM on April 20, 2012 [14 favorites]


Does marquee not work anymore or am I doing it wrong?

GET HIM

I once told a young engineer that I like comic sans (it makes me feel cheerful) and she gave me such an eyeroll. 28 years old and I'm already a dinosaur.
posted by muddgirl at 12:58 PM on April 20, 2012


I'll see your blink and raise you a Geocities-izer.
posted by Blue Meanie at 12:59 PM on April 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


According to nobody it's a live preview issue? I don't want to clutter this thread up with marquee tests but I must know!

know
posted by muddgirl at 1:01 PM on April 20, 2012


Nope.
posted by muddgirl at 1:01 PM on April 20, 2012


Hah. I was at Microsoft when they put the Marquee tag in, specifically as a response to the blink tag. Oh the browser wars of the 90s...
posted by curse at 1:02 PM on April 20, 2012


I'll see your blink and raise you a Geocities-izer.

Ouch. That is more painful that I ever remember Geocities being. White text on Yellow??
posted by mysterpigg at 1:12 PM on April 20, 2012


Ha! Flash.
posted by jsavimbi at 1:13 PM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Back around the time that AJAX and Web 2.0 were the hot new buzzwords in web development, some twisted person put up a page demonstrating a server-side blink tag using (if I remember correctly) XMLHttpRequest and CSS. It was beautiful.

Sadly, the domain has lapsed and the wayback machine is of no avail.
posted by usonian at 1:15 PM on April 20, 2012


Does PDF count? I know it's not a tag, but how many other links routinely come with warnings?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:16 PM on April 20, 2012


I'm kind of surprised no-one's made a post saying "Well of course it's a bad idea. That kind of thing belongs in a style sheet.", and presenting a fully working CSS implementation. And now I'm curious to know if CSS supports blinking text.
.blink {
    text-decoration: blink;
}
Pretty sure one of the design goals of CSS was to replicate all the existing ways of formatting text in HTML.
posted by skymt at 1:20 PM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nope, I was fine with blink. Combining with marquee was a bit annoying. But the hardest professionally was Kadov tags.

Dudes, the whole two space thing going on in that entry? I have to say I heart how the code here makes the number of spaces irrelvament. :)
posted by tilde at 1:20 PM on April 20, 2012


Someone should make a webpage with a single line of text that both blinks and scrolls in Comic Sans while bad music plays and animated gifs are in a repeated pattern in the background.

Also, something needs to sparkle.
posted by Malice at 1:25 PM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


The fact that a tool gets used badly or inappropriately doesn't mean that the tool itself is a bad one to have. The ability to make blinking text seems like a pretty obvious addition to the web-design arsenal. We use blinking text in all kinds of IRL situations as a way of attracting attention to a word (e.g. neon signs).

The blink sign's misfortune was that in the early days of the web there was a relative paucity of ways that a self-taught web designer could animate or otherwise draw attention to a word, so the blink tag got horribly overused--which meant that it ended up becoming a kind of shorthand for "incompetent amateurish web design." But there's no inherent reason it should be deprecated. It doesn't actually pose any serious problems of usability or accessibility or what have you, abd it's metacommunicative function is perfectly clear ("Hey! This word or phrase is really important! Even more important that italicized or bolded words!").
posted by yoink at 1:33 PM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


sparkle-blink will be the greatest tag ever.
posted by roboton666 at 1:37 PM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


<font face="Comic Sans">Worse.</font>
posted by Sys Rq at 1:49 PM on April 20, 2012


I used the blink tag this week, I've been waiting forever for the client's logo, so I put 'logo goes here' inside a blink tag. I'm kind of happy it didn't work right.
posted by rakish_yet_centered at 1:52 PM on April 20, 2012


Is it too late to submit text-decoration: lens-flare; to the W3C for inclusion in the CSS3 standard?
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 1:55 PM on April 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


Someone should make a webpage with a single line of text that both blinks and scrolls in Comic Sans while bad music plays and animated gifs are in a repeated pattern in the background.

I am afraid I can only meet you halfway.
posted by cortex at 1:57 PM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


sparkle-blink will be the greatest tag ever

Wouldn't that indicate the presence of vampiryes?
posted by tilde at 2:13 PM on April 20, 2012


That was one productive night out at the bar—Lou Montulli not only invented the blink tag that evening, but also met his future wife.
posted by limeonaire at 2:23 PM on April 20, 2012


It is sad that Lynx never got blinking text.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:26 PM on April 20, 2012


But, the really important thing he did (though not that night) was write the lynx browser.
posted by Obscure Reference at 2:28 PM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oooh, I didn't preview.
posted by Obscure Reference at 2:29 PM on April 20, 2012


>>sparkle-blink will be the greatest tag ever

>Wouldn't that indicate the presence of vampiryes?


No. Ponies.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 2:35 PM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Could we get HTML moving at the pace it did then again, please? A few blink mishaps are bearable if we get the spec moving at the speed of pints once again
posted by fightorflight at 2:50 PM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I didn't know this Mr. Blink Tag was also on People's cover 1999 as the Sexiest Internet Mogul. Now I do.
posted by Frankie Villon at 3:09 PM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I didn't know this Mr. Blink Tag was also on People's cover 1999 as the Sexiest Internet Mogul. Now I do.

Huh. So as of 1999, he was divorced—possibly from the woman he met at the bar the night of the blink tag's creation? Maybe that wasn't such a great night after all.
posted by limeonaire at 4:05 PM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


When we finishing Mac IE 5.0 in early 2000, the lead engine guy, Tantek, was very proud that his engine was the first to pass all the standards tests current at the time, with one exception. It deliberately failed the blink tag test.
posted by w0mbat at 4:05 PM on April 20, 2012


The <blink> tag is innocent. It was the <img> tag that ruined the web.
posted by squalor at 5:02 PM on April 20, 2012


It's disappointing that he doesn't see fit to credit the guy who actually built the damn thing. "One of the engineers."
posted by ook at 6:05 PM on April 20, 2012


The Previously link in the post makes me miss the days of tag on Metafilter. That tag was responsible for so much more mischief on MeFi than the blink tag ever did.
posted by photoslob at 6:45 PM on April 20, 2012


What the blink tag needs to perfect it is attributes:

<blink on-opacity=100 off-opacity=0 on-duration=0.5 off-duration=0.5 limit=0>BUY NOW</blink>

on-opacity, off-opacity: percentage 0-100
on-duration, off-duration: seconds, floating point
limit: number of times to blink; 0 == unlimited.

Defaults as in example.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:02 PM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


"It's disappointing that he doesn't see fit to credit the guy who actually built the damn thing. 'One of the engineers.'"

What? He quite explicitly wrote that he didn't feel it was his place to provide that person's name. It's not the he didn't "credit" the engineer because he was being rude, it's the he didn't mention the name because he was being polite. Part of the whole point of the article is that this guy is known as the inventor of the tag even though he didn't really invent it...and that's because, obviously, the person who did hasn't ever been motivated to speak up and say so.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:39 PM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hi! I wrote the Lynx browser. Shut up about already.
posted by Bonzai at 8:50 PM on April 20, 2012


Someone should make a webpage with a single line of text that both blinks and scrolls in Comic Sans while bad music plays and animated gifs are in a repeated pattern in the background.

Also, something needs to sparkle.


Wasn't this called Myspace?
posted by ActingTheGoat at 9:04 PM on April 20, 2012


According to nobody it's a live preview issue? I don't want to clutter this thread up with marquee tests but I must know!

Depending on what browser you're using it may be disabled by default. WebKit based browsers do it with CSS these days.

Could we get HTML moving at the pace it did then again, please? A few blink mishaps are bearable if we get the spec moving at the speed of pints once again

There have been about 100 changes to the spec since the start of February, how fast do you want it to go?
posted by robertc at 3:22 AM on April 21, 2012


Ivan, you are right; I kneejerked before getting to that "here's why I'm not naming names" bit at the end.
posted by ook at 4:30 AM on April 21, 2012


i'm such a dummy. that's supposed to be an img tag. i didn't think mefi hated them so much that it wouldn't even show up in a post.
posted by photoslob at 10:14 AM on April 21, 2012


That was one productive night out at the bar—Lou Montulli not only invented the blink tag that evening, but also met his future wife.
posted by limeonaire at 2:23 PM on 4/20


Future first wife. Then she found out about the full truth of night they met.
posted by wcfields at 2:29 PM on April 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Huh. So as of 1999, he was divorced—possibly from the woman he met at the bar the night of the blink tag's creation? Maybe that wasn't such a great night after all.

Perhaps it was an on-again off-again relationship.
posted by cairnish at 12:42 PM on April 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


There have been about 100 changes to the spec since the start of February, how fast do you want it to go?

Fast enough that "-webkit-transform" becomes "-transform" rather than sitting out there so long that it becomes so much a defacto standard that Opera has to start supporting it.

This Opera change is bad news, but pragmatic and inevitable.
posted by fightorflight at 9:10 AM on April 28, 2012


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