W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-tag@w3.org > December 2011

Re: Desktop use of favicons for URI holders

From: Dean Jackson <dino@apple.com>
Date: Fri, 02 Dec 2011 11:16:15 +1100
Cc: TAG List <www-tag@w3.org>
Message-id: <8CAA06A3-1445-496B-BF32-18A70B28DC6E@apple.com>
To: Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>

On 02/12/2011, at 3:26 AM, Tim Berners-Lee wrote:

> So why, when I drag a URI from the browser bar onto the 'Desktop', doesn't the
> desktop as icon use the favicon, or the favicon in a frame of some sort to warn that 
> it is a URI not a file for security?)   Maybe it does with some desktop software.
> 
> Should we have a way of making a favicon for an individual web page with a typed link?
> 
> Same of course for phones.

For some background, on iOS the content developer can provide icons for when the bookmark/URL is saved to the Desktop (which isn't strictly a desktop - it's just the home screen grid of icons).

People find this very useful, and typically don't want to use their favicon because:

- favicons are usually low resolution
- scaled icons can look crappy, so you want to provide something that
  is 1:1 with the displayed size

Unfortunately this gets nasty quickly, because of the variation in display resolution and icon sizes between device idioms. And that's only for iOS devices!

Here's the (*cough* proprietary *cough*) markup we look for:

<link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="/custom_icon.png"/>

That's for the case where you're happy to have a single icon for all devices. But if you want custom icons for iPhone, iPhone "Retina" and iPad:

<link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="touch-icon-iphone.png" />
<link rel="apple-touch-icon" sizes="72x72" href="touch-icon-ipad.png" />
<link rel="apple-touch-icon" sizes="114x114" href="touch-icon-iphone4.png" />

It would be really nice if there was a standard for this. There isn't any need for the "apple" and "touch" in the above rel attribute, especially if we supported it on desktop systems.

While we're on the topic, something similar is the naming of the icon that you make on the Desktop. Developers probably don't want the page title, because an icon called "The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia" would probably be truncated to something like "The New Yor…", even on 'Desktop' systems (I haven't used Windows or Linux for a while, but I assume they do this).

Obviously the user should be able to change the name, but I expect the developer would appreciate being able to do something like:

<meta name="bookmark-name" value="NYTimes">   <!-- this is a horrible meta name, but you get the idea -->

There are probably a lot more things that developers would like to specify for sites that are typically bookmarked to a Desktop.

Dean

[1] http://developer.apple.com/library/IOs/documentation/AppleApplications/Reference/SafariWebContent/ConfiguringWebApplications/ConfiguringWebApplications.html
Received on Friday, 2 December 2011 00:17:43 GMT

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