Thursday, February 14, 2008

OT: On the subject of nothing, why did someone create the blink tag?

While perusing a site on CSS I noticed it contained a CSS version of the old <blink> tag. Let me just say that in the few moments it took to me read the pertinent section I remembered exactly what is so annoying about <blink>. Every second or so my eyes would jump, almost involuntarily, to the irritating movement in the corner of my eye. Maybe it was an instinctive fear response: the blink tag is coming to get me! ;) Whatever the reason, it was very distracting.

For a moment there I started to daydream. Imagining the creator of the blink tag locked in a large room, filled with hundreds and hundreds of neon signs. Each sign a different size and color. All of the signs blinking at alternate rates, twenty-four hours a day. All spelling out:

    B -- L -- I -- N -- K

It really makes you wonder what would possess someone to create a blinking tag. Let alone include it in the CSS specifications! Now there may actually be a good use for blink out there. But while I was trying to read the CSS article, for the second time, I sure as heck could not think of it.


barry.b February 14, 2008 at 8:20 PM  

I've got a gut feeling that there may be a real purpose in life for it...

I mean, look at the modern equivalent of the same annoying effect: little flash banner ads or sidebars with "hit George Bush" or whatever.

but if the effect is still with us after all these years - admittedly in a different way - then there must be a real social need for this sort of annoying distraction to exits.

but, like you, I'll be buggered if I can think of it, though...

cfSearching February 14, 2008 at 9:34 PM  

Sad to say that makes a twisted kind of sense.

Try as I might, there are certain aspects of societal behavior I can comprehend, but simply cannot understand. At times like this I am glad ;)

Anonymous,  February 15, 2008 at 4:33 AM  

< blink > Alert! Critical condition! Core system meltdown!</blink>

cfSearching February 15, 2008 at 11:59 AM  

If some type of meltdown is occurring, the blink tag probably is not the best method of notification ;-)

Anonymous,  February 15, 2008 at 3:04 PM  

The point remains however that the blink tag is useful for exception conditions in applications. For things whose status have moved to critical.

My point is simply that many people say that there is no human reason for a blink tag, but I have designed applications in which I needed to be able to draw the uses attention to a status of critical.

Blink has unfortunately been removed from modern browsers I believe.

barry.b February 15, 2008 at 4:43 PM  

a blink tag didn't stop our servers from melting when the air conditioning failed... there are "horses for courses" and sometimes a modal window alerts the user to a warning condition, sometimes it's a sound...

but "blink"? doesn't do much good for the vision impaired...

[sigh ... no one considers screen readers like JAWS anymore...]

Here's a post that (I reckon) all programmers should read:

arguing over "blink" is just like the religious evangelists that "dropped in" for an argument a few minutes ago ... it's pointless so agree to disagree...

eh my 2c

cfSearching February 15, 2008 at 4:57 PM  

I am not saying there is never a use for it. Simulating vehicles in motion on a radar screen might be an interesting possibility. There may also be other legitimate uses. Though I personally have never seen one.

The sad fact is that it is misused and abused more often than not. When that happens people start viewing it as an annoyance and stop paying attention. Think about car alarms. They go off so frequently that most people hear one and think "Great. Another person that cannot even figure out how to use their car alarm. They should give IQ tests before selling those things." They ignore the alarm and move on. Which ultimately defeats the original purpose, rendering it ineffective.

Again, I am not saying there is never use for it. But I think the legitimate uses are small. Besides if something is that critical you probably would not be relying on the blink tag ;-)

cfSearching February 15, 2008 at 7:10 PM  

arguing over "blink" is just like the religious evangelists that "dropped in" for an argument a few minutes ago

Occasionally, in small doses, it can be entertaining ;)

it's pointless so agree to disagree...

Yep.. and on that note, I agree that I dislike it, while others disagree with me.

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