Make browser window blink in task Bar

Make browser window blink in task Bar

How do I make a user’s browser blink/flash/highlight in the task bar using JavaScript? For example, if I make an AJAX request every 10 seconds to see if the user has any new messages on the server, I want the user to know it right away, even if he is using another application at the time.
Edit: These users do want to be distracted when a new message arrives.


Solution 1:

this won’t make the taskbar button flash in changing colours, but the title will blink on and off until they move the mouse. This should work cross platform, and even if they just have it in a different tab.

newExcitingAlerts = (function () {
    var oldTitle = document.title;
    var msg = "New!";
    var timeoutId;
    var blink = function() { document.title = document.title == msg ? ' ' : msg; };
    var clear = function() {
        document.title = oldTitle;
        window.onmousemove = null;
        timeoutId = null;
    return function () {
        if (!timeoutId) {
            timeoutId = setInterval(blink, 1000);
            window.onmousemove = clear;

Update: You may want to look at using HTML5 notifications.

Solution 2:

I’ve made a jQuery plugin for the purpose of blinking notification messages in the browser title bar. You can specify different options like blinking interval, duration, if the blinking should stop when the window/tab gets focused, etc. The plugin works in Firefox, Chrome, Safari, IE6, IE7 and IE8.

Here is an example on how to use it:

$.titleAlert("New mail!", {

If you’re not using jQuery, you might still want to look at the source code (there are a few quirky bugs and edge cases that you need to work around when doing title blinking if you want to fully support all major browsers).

Solution 3:

Supposedly you can do this on windows with the growl for windows javascript API:

Your users will have to install growl though.

Eventually this is going to be part of google gears, in the form of the NotificationAPI:

So I would recommend using the growl approach for now, falling back to window title updates if possible, and already engineering in attempts to use the Gears Notification API, for when it eventually becomes available.

Solution 4:

My “user interface” response is: Are you sure your users want their browsers flashing, or do you think that’s what they want? If I were the one using your software, I know I’d be annoyed if these alerts happened very often and got in my way.

If you’re sure you want to do it this way, use a javascript alert box. That’s what Google Calendar does for event reminders, and they probably put some thought into it.

A web page really isn’t the best medium for need-to-know alerts. If you’re designing something along the lines of “ZOMG, the servers are down!” alerts, automated e-mails or SMS messages to the right people might do the trick.

Solution 5:

                var oldTitle = document.title;
                var msg = "New Popup!";
                var timeoutId = false;

                var blink = function() {
                    document.title = document.title == msg ? oldTitle : msg;//Modify Title in case a popup

                    if(document.hasFocus())//Stop blinking and restore the Application Title
                        document.title = oldTitle;

                if (!timeoutId) {
                    timeoutId = setInterval(blink, 500);//Initiate the Blink Call
                };//Blink logic 

Solution 6:

The only way I can think of doing this is by doing something like alert(‘you have a new message’) when the message is received. This will flash the taskbar if the window is minimized, but it will also open a dialog box, which you may not want.