Hey now (hey now) .ico .ico an nay

by , February 19, 2009
If you are anything like me, you are very particular about details. When it came time to redesign FileCatalyst.com about a year ago, we did what many companies do, and hired design professionals. This party was responsible for taking our overall requirements, developing a design we could sign off on, and delivering basic HTML templates meeting our requirements. They did an excellent job. But at the end of the day, nobody ever does things exactly the same way you would yourself. Take our site's "favicon". Perishable Press shares my opinion on the importance of a good icon, though I'm sure some people don't 'get it'. Our site has always at least HAD a favicon, but until today it was an ever-so-slightly deformed version of our corporate logo, on a white background. It had to go. Although an .ico file is still the most ubiquitous format, I decided that full transparency available in PNG would render the rounded shape of our icon better. I created the transparent icon, tested it locally, and it was set to go. Here's where the tweakiness started to kick in. The original template designers did not include the actual link to the icon, instead relying on web browsers to locate the file "favico.ico" in the web root (which most will). Fair enough, and easy to fix; I'll just update the SSI for the head. But wait, there doesn't seem to be one. The meta-data is in an include (I could "hack" it into here if I weren't so picky) but each individual web page still has a separate pair of <head> tags. So now I'm thinking, easy enough. No time like the present to develop a proper include for the head (remember at this point; all I really need to do is include a link to the favicon PNG), and make it modular enough that it can be safely inherited throughout the site. But now I have to track down any pages that use the same formatting and head information and convert them to use the include.... I actually got started before taking a step back and thinking, "hold up". And with the most sanity I could muster, quickly prepared a non-deformed, basic 16X16 favicon.ico file with simple transparency, and sent it up to the server. It was 5 minutes of work instead of several hours, and the results are perfectly acceptable. IE6 doesn't like looking for the icon, but we're no further back than we were. Bottom line: there's obviously a time and a place to enforce your own particular design approach, and unless my schedule clears up (hint: it never will!) or unless management mandates it (may they have mercy on my tweaky soul!), this particular personal niggle is better left alone. Jock-a-mo fe nai ne. .ICO! (Greg feels clever with the above joke, but if you don't get it, look up the lyrics to Iko Iko by The Dixie Cups... here's the well-known version by Belle Star.)
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