Firefox 23 is here, kills off <blink> tag at last

Mozilla has officially released the latest iteration of its browser, Firefox 23, which has fixed 13 security bugs as well as increased social integration.

The new features were widely expected, having been known since the release of the beta in June.

Among the elements introduced back then were mixed content blocking – aimed to stop ‘man in the middle’ security attacks where malicious JavaScript was swapped in during a request for HTTP active content – and a new social share button, currently compliant with Facebook, Cliqz, Mixi and msnNOW.

A Mozilla blog post published yesterday notes the “endless potential for integrating social networks, e-mail, finance, music, to-do lists, sports, news and other applications into your Firefox experience.”

This certainly sounds good, but what will most probably be music to all developers’ ears is the news that Mozilla has finally ditched the <blink> HTML element with Firefox 23 – the last major browser to do so. Here’s the confirmation, from Mozilla’s 23.0 boot notes:

This therefore puts a further nail in the coffin of one of the most frustrating elements in the HTML notebook – along with <marquee>, but that’s for another day. Perennially loved by Geocities site builders in the 90s – and scourged by all web users in the 90s – the man credited with Blink’s invention is Lou Montulli, whilst he was at Netscape.

Yet the story is an interesting one. Even though Montulli concedes that “many, many people find its behaviour to be extremely annoying”, he insists he only came up with the idea, and not the actual code, which a fellow Netscape dev formulated on an all-nighter following a bar crawl.

The result? “Within a matter of months, most of the known web resembled Las Vegas,” as Extreme Tech beautifully put it.

Elsewhere, there’s a full 10 new elements to Mozilla’s browser on Android, including an increased URL auto-complete, as well as a dynamic toolbar, which automatically hides the URL bar as a user scrolls down.

Mozilla has also updated its Firefox logo, although it’s certainly more of a freshening up and a simplification rather than a total change, as you’d expect.

Take a look at the full list of notes for desktop and mobile. What do you make of this news? Are you glad the <blink> tag is finally dead?

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