Coming soon to a browser near you…

Mozilla may soon have support for the Microsoft-inspired MARQUEE tag. Bug 156979, which is working on this support, is a microcosm of the problems with Mozilla development. We have claims that this will never be enabled by default, comments that we should have Standards über Alles, worry that Mozilla will be perceived as irrelevant, insightful UI comments, a fascinating (but incomplete) discussion about what criteria Mozilla should use for implementing and adding non-standard extensions, and recommendations to check it in now and broadly enable it despite several saying we shouldn’t. I am surprised that it has remained generally civil and relevant.

In comment 58, Brendan Eich fails to see how implementing this impacts usability. For those unfamiliar with the tag, marquee converts a text message into a scrolling string of letters that dance across the screen like the blinking lights in a theater marquee. If implemented as in IE, there’s likely to be no way to make it stop. Brendan’s argument seems to be that any tag or behavior added to the browser that occurs only in the web page content area does not affect usability or UI. Support for marquee seems to me to be a choice between usability and flashiness. I honestly question the assumptions of the bug: 1) that sites are currently broken without support for marquee and 2) that they should be evangelized to use standards-based means to achieve this scrolling behavior.

I’m curious what Matthew Thomas will have to say about this.