Favicons in NetNewsWire

12:09 AM 30 September 2003
8:51 PM 29 May 2011

I’m way too slow to claim that using favicons in NetNewsWire is my idea, but I think it is a good one.

So Brent here is an interface mockup to encourage you:

NetNewsWire with favicons

This discussion arose from the concept of providing a ‘face’ for RSS feeds; Allowing feed authors to specify a stylesheet to control the presentation of their feed in NetNewsWire. Effectively turning the RSS feed into a trimmed down version of their website.

This is an interesting question as it requires us to define the role of the RSS feed in contrast to the corresponding website in order to make a judgement.

Website developers are under pressure, in some areas at least, to provide visitors to their site control over it’s appearance. Perhaps font size is a suitable example of this. A number of browsers allow even more control (particularly if the site has used CSS to separate presentation from content) by providing the option of a user stylesheet. This option is seldom used, not just because most people aren’t CSS geeks, but because most sites differ so radically that the user stylesheet has horribly unpredicatable results.

This is not the case with RSS feeds. The predictable structure of the content presented in a RSS feed compared to most web pages lends itself to the use of a user stylesheet or at least some presentation preferences. I believe this is a case for the RSS reader to provide the user with maximum control over the presentation of the content - because we can!

In contrast, giving the author this control can only take it away from the user. If the RSS reader is going to be just another browser why do we need it at all? Browser developers will just tack another feature and the need disappears. Unless of course you wan’t something lean and snappy to sift through the information quickly! And here we are :)

If I was going to suggest any changes to improve the future here: Further consistency in the use of RSS feed structure to enhance the control users have over their presentation (Easier said than done!). Secondly provide a means for the non CSS geeks to improve this presentation. For example a preference in NetNewsWire to control text leading.

Further thoughts


  1. Ortwin Zillgen
    12:09 AM 1 October 2003

    Isn’t the graphics in the subscriptionslist a placeholder for that? What else is that good for? I like favicons, because it means faster recognizing. Same reason I prefer graphical traffic-signs over reading names of dangers, like jumping deer vs. “deers Xing”. Suppose that’s an european sort of preference :-) But then neither “www.ollicle.com” nor “inessential.com” nor “www.ranchero.com” do have a favicons today as lot’s of other sites do. So, the subscriptionslist would still show lots of copies of the american half of the globe.

  2. Dan
    12:09 AM 1 October 2003

    I like! Coulda just looked at Shrook for this, instead of making a mock-up, but all is good. Seems like an obvious feature to add, like Ortwin said.

  3. Commented
    12:09 AM 1 October 2003

    I love it.

    I’d also love address book integration somehow. Maybe match the author/editor email with an AB entry? Then you could pull the pic from AB and use it somewhere.

  4. Commented
    12:09 AM 1 October 2003

    I like it!

  5. Commented
    12:09 AM 1 October 2003

    ‘Bout it ‘bout it.

  6. yaj
    12:09 AM 1 October 2003

    i dig it…

  7. Commented
    12:09 AM 1 October 2003

    There should be a favicon for ollicle.com. Does anyone else see the icon? Or not?

  8. Commented
    12:09 AM 1 October 2003
  9. Commented
    12:09 AM 2 October 2003
  10. Wacowski Kat Gloor
    12:09 AM 10 December 2003

    Unusual ideas can make enemies.

Oliver Boermans is a design geek in Adelaide, South Australia: ollicle.com is a place for Ollie to rant, reflect and share. Feed

Previous entry
14 September 2003
404 with more
Next entry
1 October 2003
NetNewsWire load feedback