www: the origin of the BLINK tag

Posted on July 07, 2010 in Interesting

A very interesting story of the origins of the BLINK tag.

The Origins of the <Blink> Tag

I am widely credited as the inventor of the tag.   For those of you who are relatively new to the Web, the tag is an HTML command that causes text to blink, and many, many people find its behavior to be extremely annoying.    I won't deny the invention, but there is a bit more to the story than is widely known.

Back in 1994 I was a founding engineer at Netscape, prior to that I had written the Lynx browser, which predated all of the other popular browsers at that time.    Lynx had been and still is a text only browser and is commonly used in a console window on UNIX machines.   At Netscape we were building software that used a graphical user interface and could express vastly more text styles and layouts as well as images and other media.   We spent a lot of time thinking about the future of the web and new technologies that would enable new classes of documents, applications and uses.    A few examples of those thoughts were, HTML Tables, SSL for secure communications, Plugins for extensions, and JavaScript to enable dynamic HTML.

Sometime in late summer I took a break with some of the other engineers and went to a local bar on Castro street in Mountain View.   The bar was the St. James Infirmary and it had a 30 foot wonder woman statue inside among other interesting things.    At some point in the evening I mentioned that it was sad that Lynx was not going to be able to display many of the HTML extensions  that we were proposing,  I also pointed out that the only text style that Lynx could exploit given its environment was blinking text.    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.     The evening progressed pretty normally from there, with a fair amount more drinking and me meeting the girl who would later become my first wife.


via www: theoriginofthetag.