Web aggregators and favicons

16 June, 2005

One of the nicest things about Bloglines is that it uses site favicons to display the list of feeds in the left-hand frame. Very nice it looks too.

There are three free self-hostable web aggregators that I know of: FeedOnFeeds, Lilina and Gregarious. All of them try and retrieve a site’s favicon by finding the URL of the website the feed describes and pegging /favicon.ico onto the end of it.

Whilst this is a reasonable attempt, it’s not great, and will only give about two-thirds of the favicons you need.

If you don’t find a favicon at FeedUrlReference/favicon.ico you should also:

  1. check to see if a favicon exists in the base directory of the site you’re looking at (e.g. if FeedUrlReference points at and there isn’t a then you should also check
  2. run a couple of regexes on the FeedUrlReference to see if it uses the <link rel="shortcut icon" href="UrlToFavicon"> syntax (or the less popular <link rel="icon" href="UrlToFavicon"> which also gets used)

Is this too much work just to get a nice image in your aggregator? I don’t think so, which is why my hacked copy of FeedOnFeeds now does it (with proper caching, too, as opposed to at the weekend, when it ran wild – sorry about that)

See other posts tagged with general and all posts made in June 2005.